Book Review: Casus, by Osman Aysu

Retired intelligence agent Samim Vardar has long since left his former profession far behind him. Although the scars he bares have never fully healed. Particularly from the gruesome wounds he sustained while being tortured by a sadistic Russian agent named Igor Kariagin. Yet Samim’s experiences may yet prove useful to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization as they try to identify a suspicious Russian doctor now living in İstanbul. One look into the Russian’s eyes is enough to convince Samim of the sadist’s return. The problem lies in convincing the younger intelligence agents of this when, as far as they know, Kariagin died some years ago in Russia.

There is certainly a pleasure in reading how a supposedly over-the-hill “agent” (“casus” in Turkish) is not quite as useless as some of the younger generation might suspect. You have to admire his determination and his keen eye for the art of shadowing a suspect. What comes off a bit too repetitive, however, is how others, even the younger agent who deeply admires him, dismiss his suspicions and suggestions as bordering on senility, find out Samim was right, praise him to high heaven, and then discount his next suspicions. I could also do without Samim’s smug grins every time he seems to know something the younger agents couldn’t seem to figure out on their own. Then again, I guess he earned his conceit.

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