Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fault Line - Barry Eisler

I am a huge fan of Eisler's John Rain series. When I heard he had a stand-alone book out, I was excited, but also worried that it just wouldn't be as good and I'd wish for the return of John Rain. Fault Line takes place in the Silicon Valley, and features estranged brothers - Alex, a hard-working associate as a cut-throat law firm, and Ben - a military assassin. When one of Alex's potential cash-cow clients is murdered and he suspects that his own life is in danger, he calls upon his brother to come save the day. Eisler delves into the family drama surrounding the brothers - at times a bit more tragic than believable, but a nice attempt by Eisler to develop his characters - something he didn't start to do until the tail-end of the Rain series. Alex comes across as a spoiled whiny brat, with absolutely no perspective and no forgiveness. Ben, on the other hand, is the misunderstood tough guy who has turned to killing foreigners in an obvious attempt to mask his real pain. In some ways it's all just a bit too cliched. But, I have to admit, this story grabbed me. Maybe I was just in the right mood - but I couldn't put this one down and stayed up past midnight alone in my hotel room to finish it. Part of the appeal is that the story took place in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and I think it's fun to read about places you know (though I don't consider the Four Seasons, which is located ON Market Street in SF to be "South of Market")...I mostly appreciated the nod to Vesuvio in North Beach. At the risk of becoming disloyal to Rain, I did fall in love with Ben's character. At times the dialogue and constant bickering between the two brothers got old, but the story tracked well, and while there are a couple assassination/murder scenes, they weren't as drawn out as they sometimes are in the Rain series, and there's less of the surveillance/counter-surveillance showing off that Eisler often gets carried away with. I very much appreciated the indirect reference in the book to John Rain, and look forward to more of Ben, or even a couple more stand-alone books by Eisler - before he eventually writes another John Rain book, of course.

No comments: