Istanbul Passage

Joseph Kanon creates heart-stopping suspense in Istanbul Passage, his sixth international thriller. After the end of World War II, American businessman Leon Bauer takes on a deadly assignment when he agrees to help smuggle a Romanian with information on the Soviets through the Turkish city--a setting ripe for espionage.

Hauntingly atmospheric, rich with historic detail and tantalizingly emotional, Istanbul Passage snags readers from the first page when, with Leon, we shiver on the cold, dark shore of the Bosphorus. When the pick-up goes awry, we're immersed with Leon in danger and political intrigue, as vulnerable as he is to the agents, double-agents, local politicos, loyalties to friends--and unexpected love.

Kanon skillfully blends fact with fiction in his descriptions of Istanbul during a period when hopeful Jews came to the city on their way to refuge in Palestine. Leon's wife, a German Jew who organized these escapes, is in a catatonic state following a sinking of one of the ships in the Bosphorus Strait. He stays in Istanbul for her--and for memories of their happier days in the charming city.

His circle is eclectic: tobacco company colleagues, fellow humanitarians aiding Jews, the former member of a harem who oversees Istanbul society from her lavish historic mansion. But who are friends, and who are foes? Soviet agents, the Turkish intelligence organization, the Romanian, the beautiful American widow--all are players as Leon's position becomes more precarious, and  the suspense runs until the last page. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller

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