Fault Line, by Barry Eisler – Book Review

fault-lineFault Line, by Barry Eisler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Rating: Good

Ben and Alex Treven have been estranged essentially since they were teenagers, since the death of their universally loved sister Katie. It was then that their family started to unravel and they were never able to get it back together.  Now, the two brothers are all that is left of the Treven family, yet they don’t have a relationship at all.  Ben has joined the Army and is a part of an elite, covert and deadly Special Ops Team and Alex has gone on to climb the corporate ladder at Sullivan, Greenwald- on the verge of being in a position to make partner as he works on an exciting new technology called Obsidian.

When the inventor, and the contact in the patent officer working on Obsidian die under mysterious circumstances and within 48 hours of each other, Alex figures out that he and the 1st year associate Sarah Hossein, whom he has worked with on the project, might be in big trouble and he grudgingly calls out for help from the only person he thinks can keep them alive, Ben.  Ben and Sarah dislike each other instantly and the brothers relationship is hostile and strained, so they have their work cut out for the as they try to get to the bottom of things and stay alive.

I like to read a good thriller now and again, and Barry Eisler came highly recommended from other thriller lovers, so I figured his first stand-alone novel would be a good start.  This was a fast-paced and suspenseful  book that had not only had action but themes of corruption, trust, guilt, betrayal and family.

I liked the way the family drama played out underneath the action and suspense.  As the brothers are working together to find out what’s going on, their past slowly unfolds and we find out what happened that caused the wedge between the two brothers and the aftermath of their sister’s death on the family.  Sometimes I felt that the reasons given for the anger and hatred that they felt for each other were a little slim- bordering on irrational, but their thinking was well-fleshed out and you could see how each brother arrived at their position whether or not it made a lot of sense.  I think that sometimes emotions don’t make a lot of sense. I wanted each of the brothers to get over themselves and to stop being so stubborn.  Ben especially could be a little stereotypically military and Neanderthal, but I enjoyed both characters and seeing them interact.

Overall this was a solid and enjoyable read.  The writing was crisp, flowed smoothly and was engaging and accessible even as it explored darker family themes, war  and violence. The pacing was on point; the story moved a great clip and I never got bogged down in either the past or the present so long that I was disconnected from what was going on.  I wasn’t especially surprised by anything, but I liked the way that it unfolded.  This is a good light “heavy” read, if that makes any sense.  I was definitely interested until the very end.  Perfect if you like suspense/thriller/action novels and will be spending some hours sitting on the beach, or on a train or plane.
About the Author: After graduating from Cornell Law School, Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center. Eisler’s thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. The first book in Eisler’s assassin John Rain series, Rain Fall, has been made into a movie starring Gary Oldman that was released by Sony Pictures in April 2009.

Author Website: www.barryeisler.com

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