Book Review: Fault Line by Barry Eisler


Yesterday  I wrote about a category of author who is popular and has published a number of books and with whom I am familiar with from working with those books as a library drone and a bookseller but have never read.    That category is truly vast.    But today’s category  “authors who are popular and have published a number of books that I’ve never even heard of despite working all my life in the book business”  is even more vast.

I have to admit that I was a little reluctant when the publicist sent me an e-mail offering Barry Eisler’s  Fault Line. This particular publicist is fairly unique in my experience in that she only sends out review copies to web sites that agree in advance to a specific review date.     I don’t actually have any problem with a deadline.   I do, however, feel that both the publicist and the author would be better served by sending me the book first,  then waiting for a preliminary evaluation as to if I can and will be able to give the book the attention it deserves .     One of the most negative reviews I’ve ever published was for a title this particular publicist had sent me  and truthfully,  I wouldn’t have reviewed the book at all if I had not promised her,  without ever having even Seen the book,  that I would do so and on a specific date.     (Which seems to me would have better served her purpose and mine.   Visit the About The Blog page for details on my policies for review and advanced reading copies.)

Happily,  Eisler’s Fault Line is a whole different kettle of fish.   Eisler is a wonderful writer whose prose is both readable and engaging.     He does an excellent job into hooking the reader into the story of a pair of brothers.     Alex Trevan is a Silicon Valley lawyer who dreams of being involved in the perfect IPO,   one which will make him permanently rich.   His brother Ben has an advanced and somewhat shadowy position in the US Army that involves him clandestinely killing people the government has decided are terrorists or otherwise serious threats to our national security.    He does this quite literally all over the world and rarely is in the US at all.

What impressed me the most, is Eislers’s abilities to portray the vastly differing worlds of the hot shot California lawyer  and that of his ’soldier of fortune’  loner brother so accurately and believably.     The plot twist that draws the two brothers together after a lifetime of largely ignoring and avoiding each other is completely believable, and the interactions of the two characters demonstrates a deep and thoughtful understanding by Eisler of the opposing minds and psychologies of the two characters he created.      If you enjoy thrillers about the advanced and specialized world of ‘black-ops’  military,   OR   if you have interest in the California high tech industry,   Fault Line is Highly Recommended.