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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barry Eisler Spotlight, Part III: Review of Inside Out.

Conspiracy-theory buffs are in for a treat. Inside Out features the return of Ben Treven—an American Black-Ops soldier. In this sequel to Fault Line, Treven isn’t on the run, but doing the hunting instead. A rogue Black-Ops soldier, Daniel Larison, has stolen ninety-two CIA interrogation tapes and has blackmailed the US Government . Treven—who was imprisoned after a bar fight he was in resulted in the death of one of his attackers—is released from jail with the aid of his former commander, Colonel Scott Horton. Treven’s release comes at a price: He must track down and eliminate Larison. Along the way, he is joined by Paula Lanier—a sexy FBI agent with an attitude—who is not only an annoyance to Treven, but later becomes an ally. What complicates matters further for Treven is that other hit squads have been dispatched to hunt for Larison, leaving Treven to suspect that he may be a pawn in a bigger picture.

Inside Out contains some well-paced action, martial arts, and a believable conspiracy that will leave the reader wondering if all of it is really fiction. FBI agent Lanier brings about an excellent balance to complement Treven’s character. This is illustrated by her naivety in handling certain situations that risk exposing them. At times, I had a chuckle picturing how pissed off Treven must have been every time she made a gaff. What I also enjoyed was that Eisler allowed readers to enter into the minds of both Treven and his target, Larison, illustrating his first-hand knowledge of surveillance and reconnaissance techniques. The fight scenes were very believable, and the hand-on-hand combat scenes were meticulously well done.

In addition, readers will learn why it’s not a good idea to read important documents—electronic or hard copy—or have a private conversation while you’re traveling in first class. Conspiracy fiction fans will love the subject matter of the CIA’s interrogation tapes that was top news several months ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if discussions about this have been given a boost, due to Eisler’s interpretation of what could’ve really happened to the CIA interrogation tapes.
Oh yeah, if you’ve ever wondered whatever became of Japanese-American assassin, John Rain, from Eisler’s previous novels, you’re in for a treat.

3 1/2 Stars.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Available Now.

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