Just when attorney Alex Treven is about to close a big patent deal for an encryption program, the software designer is murdered and the individual in the patent office reviewing the patent dies mysteriously. Alex begins to think he may be the next target. Is he just being paranoid or is there a conspiracy? To be on the safe side, he contacts his estranged brother Ben, who unbeknownst to Alex is a trained assassin for the U.S. government. When Ben reluctantly comes to Alex's aid, old family wounds are re-opened and new ones emerge.
Fault Line is my first novel by Barry Eisler; I am not familiar with his John Rain series. Fault Line is an entertaining novel with a dark setting and themes, but there was nothing about it that "wow'ed" me. The plot was focused and tight, so the action moved fairly quickly but was predictable.
The characters struck me as being flat and stereotypical. There was no point that I felt any real connections with the characters. And at several points in the novel, I was waiting for Ben to beat on his chest and yell, "me Tarzan; you Jane." Both brothers also struck me as extremely egocentric.
The blurb on the back cover from the Chicago Sun-Times says that "Eisler is one of the most talented and literary writers in the thriller genre." So, I was waiting for the "literary" element to come into play, but I didn't ever experience anything in this novel that would make me classify it as a literary thriller.
I felt the strongest element of the novel was a look at the ethics of the government assassin, but in the whole scheme of the novel, that theme didn't seem to play as big of a role as maybe it could have.
I would probably place this book in the category of a good beach read.
Fault Line will be released by Ballantine Books in March of 2009.