The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O'Bryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For ages I've been searching for an Indiana Jones style book, with plenty of puzzles, action, likeable characters and a quick pace. Unfortunately this is not the book.
The Istanbul Puzzle may be called so, but there is no puzzle involved. The characters spend a great deal of time looking for a mosaic, but it's not dwelt on much.
Action there is plenty of! Bullets flying, people dying left, right and centre, explosions! My particular favourite bit is when Sean and Isabel get stuck in a drain below the city. The tension is excellent, I was literally on the edge of my bed. O'Bryan does a great job of setting the scene and creating great atmosphere.
Generally, the characters are on the likeable, realistic side, but they are quite clichéd. The main character is called Sean Ryan (because all action heroes have to have a short first and last name!) and he works for a company in London. His wife has died fairly recently, which takes up half of his thoughts in the book. He's generally a nice guy, but can be quite predictable and as always it's just a coincidence that our heroes have all the skills required to get themselves out of dangerous situations. His counterpart, Isabel, is quite similar, her partner let her down etc. etc.
The pace is quick, I raced through this book as the characters raced around Istanbul, and I got a short history, geography and religious studies lesson at the same time. It's clear that the author adores Istanbul and he makes the city sound gorgeous. I would love to go there.
Overall, it's a solid book, that could be improved on. I wouldn't say no to another book by O'Bryan, but I'm still going to keep on hunting for that perfect Indiana Jones mystery!
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