5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy successor to John Rain.
Grips from the first page and never lets up. Filled with Eisler's trademark authentic feel and totally believable characters. I look forward to meeting up with them again.
Published 2 months ago by A. Woolstencroft
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars AT FAULT FOR NOT KEEPING HIS COLORING WITHIN THE LINES
I have to start up by saying that I am a huge fun of Barry Eisler. I have greatly enjoyed all six of his Jack Rain novels (highly recommended to anyone!) so my expectations were high even though I knew this was to be a break from that story arc. Having said that, I have to confess that I found FAULT LINE to be a disappointment.
Alex is in trouble. He is a...
Published on 25 Aug 2010 by NeuroSplicer
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars AT FAULT FOR NOT KEEPING HIS COLORING WITHIN THE LINES,
This review is from: Fault Line (Mass Market Paperback)I have to start up by saying that I am a huge fun of Barry Eisler. I have greatly enjoyed all six of his Jack Rain novels (highly recommended to anyone!) so my expectations were high even though I knew this was to be a break from that story arc. Having said that, I have to confess that I found FAULT LINE to be a disappointment.
Alex is in trouble. He is a lawyer and his client's software under patent seems to have triggered a murderous spree and the list includes his name. Conveniently, his older brother, Ben, is a CIA wet-works operator that has just completed a semi-successful op in Istanbul. Although estranged and barely on speaking terms (not to mention unaware of his brother's true occupation!), Ben is the one Alex calls when it hits the fan. And even if suspension-of-disbelief requirements were not high enough, here come yet another couple of things that gum up this novel from working.
First off, the brothers' back story: it seems to drag on and on forever. We are well past the middle of the book when the narration of events from that fateful night is finally completed. And the switching of perspectives from one brother to the other, not something I would try again. It only manages to add excessive emotional details to an action novel, and without really strengthening anyone's motivation. I suspect that, this being the first book of the new Ben Traven series, it had to suffer a little in the heavy background department; nevertheless, it could had been done more subtly and concisely.
Secondly, there is no such thing as an action novel/political treatise hybrid - and when attempted it simply does not work. Barry's political observations (although accurate and valid) cannot be supported in an action novel.
I doubt that any young Iranian lawyer under mortal threat would vent her liberalism on the only man standing between her and her killers because ...she found his employment actions unsanctioned and unconstitutional (even if they clearly are). And any such intelligence professional would had walked away from such a thankless task long before he had to reload his Glock 27.
Whenever there is a tactical situation or an action sequence, that is where Barry Eisler's strengths shine. He is one of the few contemporary writers that can choreograph a close combat scene so beautifully and then describe it in a way that puts you in the thick of it, leaving you looking for bruises on your body and blood spays on your clothes when it is over. Unfortunately, this is not a book that brings out his talents enough.
As someone disillusioned from both the trapping of modern "democracy" and the pseudo-fight between the left and the right, Barry seems to be blossoming into an excellent anarchist. Unfortunately, such insights belong more to a political Blog than an action novel.
I love Barry Eisler's works. I just did not love this one.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick to action, Barry...,
Unfortunately whilst Barry Eisler can do action and thrills, as proven by his series of novels featuring John Rain, who gets namechecked in Fault Line but doesn't appear, when it comes to portraying realistic human relationships he has a tin-ear. None of the interpersonal relationships on display, be it that of the two brothers Alex and Ben Treven or the love triangle involving the two of them and the predictably beautiful Sarah Hosseini, feel remotely real or believable either in their conception or how they play out over the course of the book. Issues between individuals that are apparently deep seated, intractable and have developed over years are resolved in the course of one quick conversation (begging the question as to why they didn't have it when their lives weren't in immediate danger) and other conflicts feel forced and there only to provide added 'drama' to an already over melodramatic set-up.
When all this unrealistic and overheated human drama is combined with clunky dialogue and some cliched plotting, including the obligatory love-hate relationship that leads to lustful sex in almost indecently quick time, then what you end up with is a book that is more soap-opera than thriller. In fact the thriller elements not only have to play second fiddle to the tiresome melodrama on display, they're also pretty weak themselves, utlising that tired and hackneyed plot device of a computer encryption programme that unknown bad guys want to get their hands on so they can possibly do bad things. Its a plot that has been around for years and Eisler doesn't manage to do anything fresh or original with it here. Even the resolution has been used by numerous other books and movies.
Add in the fact that the three principle characters constant bickering and fighting irritates and infuriates to the point where you actually start wishing the bad guys would succeed in killing them and you have novel that fails on almost every level. Its only redeeming feature to be honest, is some punchy action sequences that are come along far too infrequently and are often interspersed with some horribly clunky, self-indulgent internal-monologues from one character or another.
The weakest elements of Eisler's Rain novels were the emotional development, relationships and motivations of the characters, but they got away with this by having great plots, lightning pace and superb action. Fault Line has none of the latter and so the weaknesses are thrust front and centre. All I can hope is that now the author has gotten his desire to stretch himself out of his system he get's back to doing what he does best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Faulty,
This review is from: Fault Line (Random House Large Print) (Paperback)Having read Eisler's John Rain tales, a new set of characters was always going to be a hard sell. Even allowing for that, the story lacks cohesion and the fluid prose of his earlier works.
This stand alone story follows the tale of two brothers, one the stay at home, admin type with the expected baggage, the other a flawed intelligence agent and their involvement with the same woman as they attempt to unravel a conspiracy.
Avoid. Stick with his assassin stories. They are superior in every way.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Brotherly Love Where a Lawyer and His Associate Become the Prey,
That said, Fault Line has some of the most awkward brother-brother psychology and misunderstandings that you could possibly read. Oops! So much for having a good premise.
Alex Treven was the quiet, well-behaved son who stayed home and dealt with the aftermath of a disintegrating family. His brother, Ben, was the wild one who escaped the in-person second guessing . . . but hangs onto the guilt. As a lawyer, Alex lives in a neat world where making partner and developing a reputation as a mover and shaker are what matters to him. Ben lives in a shadowy world where taking down enemies can be a matter of saving many lives, including his own. The two don't have much adult connection until Alex decides that he needs Ben's help, as he often did while they grew up. These aren't schoolyard bullies. These are serious enemies who don't plan to take any prisoners.
Ben comes to help, and Alex doesn't take his advice very seriously . . . at first. Gradually, it becomes clear that this is a game from which none of them may escape, including the beautiful, brainy Sarah Hosseini who also knows too much.
Because of the lethal threat, the story has credible thriller credentials. If it just weren't for the pain of reading about what the characters are thinking about and saying to one another, it would be a pretty good book. These characters, these thoughts, and these dialogues just don't fly. They didn't come alive for me except when Ben was doing his professional best . . . away from his brother.
I also think Mr. Eisler tried too hard to bring in a back story. This plot could have worked very well with just a front story . . . and been a lot easier to write.
I hope Mr. Eisler will stick closer to his action thriller roots in future books. Let it Rain!
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy successor to John Rain.,
This review is from: Fault Line (Kindle Edition)Grips from the first page and never lets up. Filled with Eisler's trademark authentic feel and totally believable characters. I look forward to meeting up with them again.
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly not Eisler's best work.,
This review is from: Fault Line (Mass Market Paperback)I'm a big fan of Barry Eisler's John Rain books, and was an avid reader of his blog back in its Myspace days. This, however, just didn't enthral me at all. Our supposed leading man came off as a someone way too eager to kill several people a day, managing to appear a racist, self-centred narcissist on top of being an amoral mass-murderer. Naturally he managed to steal the girl from his brother, a completely unbelievable scenario that seemed added solely to have a sex scene included.
The political side of the books certainly rings true, but unfortunately that may be very difficult to translate into an action-thriller.
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying,
This review is from: Fault Line (Mass Market Paperback)I have not got alot to say about this book, the action and story were ok at best. But the brotherly infighting was so ridiculous, constant and over done it became annoying to read.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars awful,
This review is from: Fault Line (Mass Market Paperback)while the john rain series is well written and good books, the only possible review of this is awful, the relation between the brothers in teh history is a joke
the dialogue is worse etc etc.....
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fault Line failure by Barry Eisler,
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS HOW GREAT A THRILLER CAN BE !,
That's the starting whistle for a thrill ride story that boils with action as it simmers with national subterfuge, personal hubris, family loyalties , and sexual attraction. For the millions who believe there could never be another hero to equal John Rain, meet Ben Treven. He is one of three siblings in a family that moved often due to his father's work. This was no problem for Ben as he excelled at sports and was immediately accepted. Sister Katie was a sweet, beautiful girl who liked everyone and was liked in return. Alex, the youngest, was different - shy, smart and showed off his intelligence - not an attractive quality.
Ben fought bullies to defend Alex time and again but that mattered naught the night Katie died. Ben was supposed to have driven her home from a party but asked another boy to do so. A small decision then a fatal car accident.. Alex blames Ben for their sister's death; Ben blames himself and believes his parents also hold him responsible. Family wounds are so deep that they might never heal. "He (Ben) hadn't known it at the time, but family was a fragile thing. Like a house of cards." So easily collapsed.
Now, the elder Trevens are gone, Katie is gone. Ben and Alex remain - two brothers who despise each other and hope to never see one another again.
But then there is Hilzoy who was supposed to keep an appointment with Alex regarding a patent application for Obsidian, "the world's most advanced encryption algorithm, destined to render all other network security software obsolete". ....Hilzoy is a once-in-a-lifetime ticket" for Alex. Then suddenly he is dead, supposed ly due to a drug deal. Alex believes none of that. Next, Hank, a very healthy Hank who was advising Alex on a cryptography application had a fatal heart attack, and Alex is attacked in his own home. He has become a target and has no idea why. Alex is terrified and knows there is only one person in the world who can help him and that is Ben - where is he, how can Alex find him, and would he come to his aid?
Ben is in anywhere in the world, working with our military's Joint Special Operations Command. He's been through the CIA's Military Operations Training Course, and he's very, very good. He accepts the most dangerous assignments knowing that if he messes up he'll be left hanging out to dry. Sometimes he just waits for orders.
"He didn't go out much. There were periods in his life where he would go days without even speaking, where his whole world would shrink to no more than the dimensions of the walls around him. " When he thinks of Alex at all it is only to remind himself that he doesn't have to deal with Alex ever again. But, what if his younger brother sends a desperate plea for help?
For this reader Eisler has written his best work to date, and that's saying quite a bit after the Rain series. It is everything a thriller should be and more - rife with amazing plot twists, rich with familial bonds, and remarkable for its authenticity.
- Gail Cooke
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Fault Line by Barry Eisler (Mass Market Paperback - 14 May 2010)
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