RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Fault Line: A Novel, by Barry Eisler (Read by Rob Shapiro)

Alex can almost see the dollars flooding his bank account, not to mention the professional acclaim he'll receive when his client finalizes his patent application for Obsidian, sure to be the biggest "dotcom" of the decade. When the inventor fails to show up for a meeting with venture capitalists, patent attorney Alex Treven's world suddenly collapses. The murders of both the inventor and the only other person familiar with Obsidian send Alex into hiding and force him to contact his estranged big brother Ben, a "black ops" assassin who is about to find that doing good might be more dangerous than doing bad.

Barry Eisler's story is more than a fast-paced mystery thriller with spine-tingling situations and a myriad of surprises. It is a study of family dynamics and the all-too-common, long term resentments that siblings often harbor as a result of youthful misunderstandings. In this day of identity theft and terrorist threats, Fault Line reads like a survival manual for domestic safety. Eisler discloses detailed information about surveillance and anti-personnel techniques used and circumvented by shadowy governmental and industrial operatives.

Rob Shapiro's narration is perfectly pitched and paced for this audio book. He is able to portray a variety of characters, ranging from a provocative Iranian woman to a gravely-voiced African American military man.

I enjoyed this book the first time I heard it for its exciting plot, but I listened to it again and loved it for far more. By knowing a little about the invention, Obsidian, and its importance for the security of network infrastructures, the main players' motivations become much clearer. Plot twists become even more intriguing, because they emerge as the direct result of characters' successes or failures. Eisler's prose is spare but powerful. His description of the pain inflicted on various unfortunate victims is so vivid that it elicits a deliciously visceral shuddering and inner cringing. Although probably not the ideal book for a family road trip, Fault Line is an exceptionally satisfying adventure for an adult commute.

Ruth Mormon

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