Monday, November 17, 2008

Read an ARC: "Fault Line" by Barry Eisler

Read an ARC: Fault Line by Barry Eisler, 2008 (for ARC), no ISBN.

I lucked into this advanced readers copy (ARC) when at Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. They were running a raffle and winners could pick from several baskets full of books. I saw Eisler's book sitting there and snagged the basket it was in. I know I liked this because I read it real fast.

I was apprehensive to read a new standalone after the Rain series. But, this was good. I'd say this was more of a mainstream book after the personal, hands on violence and passionless assassinations by Rain. There are a lot of similarities in character and action and I laughed out loud when there was a reference to a previous murder by Rain in Silicon Valley.

Alex Treven is a associate attorney with a high falutin' Silicon Valley law firm. Alex's specialty is patents and his latest client's cryptology program promises to be a huge success and will promote Alex into the rarified air of partner - or even higher. When the inventor client is murdered Alex is sort of screwed. When his friend in the patent office, who knew of the program, is murdered Alex is worried. When someone sneaks into his house and bedroom at 3 AM Alex is terrified.

Ben Treven left Stanford after a year and enlisted in the Army. The family had been in turmoil for almost two years before after the middle child and family peacemaker, Katie, was killed in a car wreck. After the dad committed suicide and Ben couldn't take anymore he skipped town. Ben blamed himself for Katie's death and Alex saw him at fault as well. After Alex and Ben's mother died of cancer the two never spoke until eight years later when Alex emails Ben for help.

Older brother Ben had always been steady and strong and Alex calls him out of desperation. Turns out Ben has been working for a very small and very secret Army unit that does assassination work. So, Ben is uniquely qualified to assist Alex.

Eisler does real well with the characters. Ben, Alex, and love triangle gal [what's her name] are real well done and their actions understandable. Ben and Alex at are great odds over the family's tragedies but unable to discuss it and understand one another. Ben has a big chip on his shoulder for anyone who does not understand his work and the deadly threats he stops; he thinks Alex only called him in to clean-up his mess for him. Alex thinks Ben has never been remorseful over Katie, their father, or their mother and hates him for it.

Similarities: Rain and Ben are very similar with the big exception that Ben is a patriot and Rain was a business man. Self defense and tactical awareness play a big part in the characters' actions and decisions. Not as much gun and knife-geek stuff in this (not one mention of Benchmade products).
The tempestuous romance between [what's her name] and Ben is similar to Rain and Delilah.
Eisler likes setting. He uses physical details to really explain and illustrate the San Francisco, Bay Area,and Turkish settings he uses.

Things I did not like: The bad guys needed more time. That's somewhat okay because government policies and actions seem more at fault than the shooters themselves.
The fact that no one really knows who was pulling the strings and issuing orders is fitting. But, not until the end of the book was there a person you could focus on as the true antagonist.

1 comment:

Hut Landon said...

Barry also deserves credit for making independent bookstores his first choice for buying his books on his website. He lists dozens of indies, mostly mystery stores, that sell his books -- a cool list!