In a thrilling e-exclusive short story, New York Times bestselling espionage master Olen Steinhauer introduces the enigmatic John Calhoun, an international security contractor who plays a prominent role in Steinhauer's latest novel, The Cairo Affair.
Before his assignment to the CIA's Cairo office, John worked in Lisbon, Portugal, where he took part in an extraordinary rendition - the apprehension of a wanted individual for interrogation. But from the beginning of the operation nothing goes as planned, and for John, it soon becomes much more than a career-defining moment; how he handles this crisis will define who he is as a person.
A 60-odd page long e-book (probably 20 of these are the first two chapters in The Cairo Affair) and an introduction to one of the minor, but important characters in Steinhauer’s Cairo Affair – John Calhoun. We pick up where Calhoun is the “outsider” involved with a tight CIA team about to conduct a rendition operation on the brother of a suspected terrorist. All goes to plan until it doesn’t and a fatal car crash derails the operation. Calhoun shows his capabilities by fleeing the site with the target before the police arrive on the scene.
Spending time with his man, gives us the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into Calhoun’s psyche as he engages with Mohammed el-Malik. Calhoun has his doubts about Mohammed’s involvement in his brother’s affairs, believing him an innocent in Lisbon for academic reasons. Kind of irrelevant in the end as the CIA send in a clean-up crew to cover everyone’s tracks.
Calhoun - having shown us his conscience and moral compass; in a landscape where distrust and suspicions are the natural currency and the decisions are always made by those higher up the food chain – finds himself re-assigned to Cairo.
Really good; interesting and Steinhauer gets you thinking, as always. I would probably have enjoyed this a wee bit more if I had read it prior to The Cairo Affair, but it worked well enough for me. I’d probably be entertained if I read Olen’s shopping list. Worth an hour of anyone's time.
The Cairo Affair was read and enjoyed back in April - my review is here.
4 from 5
Bought sometime earlier this year on Amazon.