FAULT LINE by Barry Eisler


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Vanilla thriller about a race to nab software capable of shutting down cyberspace.

On the heels of six John Rain thrillers, Eisler (Requiem for an Assassin, 2007, etc.) turns to a stand alone with a fadeout that suggests it won’t be standing alone for long. The author brings on a familiar cast, with each character raising a question that nudges along the plot. There’s Richard Hilzoy, about to patent Oracle, “to security software what Dolby was to sound.” But Hilzoy withholds from his buyers something vital about the software. Perhaps that’s the reason someone rubs him out. Then there’s Alex Treven, the bland, blonde, blue-eyed lawyer who hopes landing Oracle will make him a partner at his firm. More flamboyant is Alex’s brother, Ben, at the start a hired assassin about to kill two Iranians in Turkey. In awkward flashbacks, Eisler details the family trauma behind Alex and Ben’s estrangement. Asked to drive his sister Katie, a high-school senior, home from a party, Ben, besotted with a woman at the fete, asks someone else to do the honors. The substitute driver crashes, killing Katie. Ben shirks responsibility, turning, somewhat implausibly, into a cold, ruthless killer. Will he melt and reconcile with his brother? The chance to do that comes when Alex seeks his help after it appears someone is ready to kill anyone with anything to do with Oracle. Ben grudgingly agrees to help, though he distrusts Alex’s assistant, Sarah Hosseini, largely because she’s Iranian. For her part, Sarah has never experienced an orgasm. Will she and Ben combust? Eisler ticks off answers to his questions. He reveals the tricky and surprising story behind Oracle. He turns Ben and Alex’s rehash of the past into several second-drawer Arthur Miller confrontations. And he signs off as Ben and Sarah heat up. As for color in the telling, clichés abound: “destiny was like a freight train”; “He was a needle in a haystack, a drop in the ocean.”

Sure to set the pulse steadying.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-345-50508-8
Page count: 328pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2009

Kirkus Interview
Barry Eisler
January 26, 2016

In Barry Eisler’s new thriller The God’s Eye View, NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. He knows unlimited surveillance is the only way to keep America safe. Evelyn Gallagher doesn’t care much about any of that. She just wants to keep her head down and manage the NSA’s camera network and facial recognition program so she can afford private school for her deaf son, Dash. But when Evelyn discovers the existence of a program code-named God’s Eye and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistle-blowers, her doubts put her and Dash in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins. “While the God's Eye is a work of fiction, it's an entirely plausible one,” our reviewer writes. “An engaging tale about a serious issue. Read it and squirm.” View video >


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