Tuesday 1 July 2014

The Cairo Affair

Finished June 30
The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer, read by Edoardo Ballerini

This fast-moving thriller jumps around to different narrators in the course of the story, often going over the same ground from a different point of view. At the centre of the story is Sophie Kohl, the wife of an American diplomat currently stationed in Budapest. The couple hasn't been in Hungary long, with Emmett's previous posting being Cairo. As the story begins in 2011, Emmett and Sophie are out for dinner, with Emmett accusing Sophie of infidelity during their time in Cairo just before a gunman enters the restaurant and shoots Emmett in the head, killing him.
Sophie is searching for answers and wondering whether his murder has anything to do with her affair in Cairo. With this thought in her head, the first person she reaches out to for help is her former lover Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent. Stan has genuine feelings for her and eagerly jumps in to help, but his impulse to protect her causes her trust to waver, and she reaches out to others.
Omar Halawi is an Egyptian intelligence officer and tied to a man Emmett met with shortly before his death, a man who since then came to Cairo. Is this man part of the story as well.
A contractor for the American government, John does whatever he is asked, whether it is driving someone into Libya or scouting out a meeting location. John has many skills and plays a key role in the story here.
A woman that Sophie and Emmett met decades ago in 1991 on their honeymoon in Yugoslavia, reappeared during their stay in Cairo and reminded them of a time and action they thought was long buried. It is the echoes of this that led to where Sophie is now, looking for the story behind Emmett's death and the actions in Cairo that relate. With intrigue and the passing of information, this story has many twists and turns, with each character adding to the understanding of the situation.

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