A taut thriller set in Istanbul just after WWII, Istanbul Passage features a compelling compact narrative, an intriguing multinational and fully drawn cast of characters, and moody musings on morality and patriotism. The clipped dialogue, à la Robert MItchum, may be a deal breaker for some, but it’s worth sticking with as the action becomes ever more tightly wound over just a few winter days. American tobacco salesman Leon Bauer (whose Jewish wife is in a catatonic state after a horrific accident involving refugees) moves almost inadvertently from pre-war low-level courier to post-war spymaster. The beauties and pleasures, the harshness and brutality of physical Istanbul provide a backdrop for the human residents who must all choose sides in the looming Cold War. A unique page turner that captures time, place and atmosphere.