Laurence O’Bryan

The Istanbul Puzzle

"...a strong debt which entertains throughout."


Sean Ryan's friend and colleague Alek Zegliwski is murdered in Istanbul so Sean flies out to identify the body and make preparations for bringing Alek back. Alek was beheaded and his body found at a sacred archaeological site.

Enlisting the help of British diplomat Isabel Sharp, Sean digs into the events surrounding and leading to his friend's death. As he nears his friends assassin he turns from hunter to hunted and time is fast running out for him as the assassin is mixed up in a plot to spread a deadly virus.

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O'Bryan is the latest novelist to venture into the historical artefact find sub-genre of crime and he gives a good account of himself. The pace of the novel escalates steadily with peaks and troughs throughout for adventure and exposition before the final set piece. The plot is complex enough to grip yet not so intertwined upon itself as to dull the reader's appetite. The lead characters of Sean and Isabel interact well and both have a history which is gently unfurled as the novel progresses. Sean's history goes a long way to explaining his drive and is a wonderful piece of characterisation for a debut novel. The evil Malach provides a strong counterpoint in what is overall a strong debt which entertains throughout.

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