After enjoying "The Mission Song" and "The Constant Gardener," two very fine novels that have helped make John Le Carre even more relevant as a writer of espionage and institutional morality in the post-Cold War world, I found it hard not to be a bit disappointed in "A Most Wanted Man." All the elements of success are here: Le Carre's pitch-perfect dialogue, his sharply rendered characters, and his remarkable ability to make the headiest of topics digestible to a popular audience. "A Most Wanted Man" even finds some success in introducing a sort of love triangle to make sympathetic characters more so. But in comparison to those two earlier novels, "A Most Wanted Man" seems a little too convoluted, a little harder to penetrate, and, perhaps because we're dealing with the financial side of terrorism and espionage here, just slightly less interesting of an approach to the topic.This sounds critical, but any Le Carre fan will tell you that a fair effort by him is better than most efforts by anyone else, and the novel is as readable, and as familiar, as any of his others. It's just not as immediately gripping -- which isn't to say I wouldn't recommend it, but I wouldn't suggest it as a starting point to introduce new readers to Le Carre's modern phase. Come to it after "Constant Gardener," or the brilliant "The Mission Song" and I think readers will be hooked.