REVIEWS: 'All Fishermen are Liars,' by John Gierach, and 'The Cairo Affair,' by Olen Steinhauer

  • Updated: May 18, 2014 - 8:58 PM

Brief reviews of recent releases: "All Fishermen are Liars," by John Gierach, and "The Cairo Affair," by Olen Steinhauer.

"All Fishermen are Liars," by John Gierach

All Fishermen are Liars

By John Gierach. (Simon & Schuster, 211 pages, $24.)

John Gierach is one of the most successful fishing writers of all time, and with good reason. In his 17th book, Gierach reminds us in a delightful way that fishing never has been just about catching, though he can teach us a lot about that, too. Gierach, who lives in Colorado, takes readers to waters at home and afar, usually in search of trout, and always with a fly rod.

Lots of fishing writers publish books, usually collections of their previously published columns. Two or three such books from any one writer usually is enough to satisfy the angling reading public. Gierach deservedly has gone way beyond the norm since his 1986 “Trout Bum” became a runaway success. Over the years, despite taking trips as a famous angler to exotic fishing locales, Gierach has retained his down-to-earth fishing honesty and has never forgotten that some of the best stories are about wading a trout stream just down the road.

David Shaffer, reporter

 

THE CAIRO AFFAIR

By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, 408 pages, $26.99.)

Bestselling espionage writer Olen Steinhauer is not afraid to challenge readers. His chaotic plots dart back and forth in time and place. He regularly introduces sympathetic, intriguing characters — only to kill them off in short order. Steinhauer broke on to the fiction scene with his Milo Weaver trilogy (also strongly recommended), and “The Cairo Affair” covers similar territory: Americans living abroad who end up entangled in dark plots they don’t fully understand.

“The Cairo Affair” is a story of political intrigue, but also one of broken trust and a marriage coming apart. The opening pages are vintage Steinhauer: a flashback, set in Vienna and Prague; then a dinner in a restaurant, now in Hungary. You meet Sophie Kohl as she confesses a horrible secret to her husband, Emmett. Just as that revelation is settling in, a man with “muddy blue prison tattoos” storms in and shoots Emmett, a career diplomat. The rest of the book is spent trying to unravel a complicated tale of deception that touches on the CIA, a double agent, a long-forgotten killing, the Arab Spring and an affair — set in Cairo, of course.

In a genre that can feel dated and old-school, “The Cairo Affair” is set squarely in today, weaving in mentions of high-tech smartphones, Wikileaks transcripts and the Egyptian revolution. Much like John le Carré, Steinhauer doesn’t offer simple answers. In his books, the good guys are elusive, and the shadowy world his characters inhabit is blanketed in shades of gray. If you’ve never read one of his stories, dive in. But don’t get comfortable. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Colleen Kelly, Mobile and Social Media Editor

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