Book Review - Inside Out: A Novel by Barry Eisler
Some of the best novels I read are ones that seem as if they could be ripped out of the daily headlines of your favorite newspaper or news magazine. Add in behavior and characters that ring true due to past uncovered abuses by the government, and you have the ingredients for a story that makes you wonder if the plot hasn't already been played out in real life. Barry Eisler does that with torture and detainees in his latest book Inside Out: A Novel. I had a really hard time putting the book down, as I wanted to get to the end of the story before some news broadcast ruined the ending for me. And if you honestly look at how power corrupts people, it's nearly impossible not to wonder how many times this same scenario happens on a regular basis. It's a scary read...
Eisler brings back Ben Treven, one of the best black ops soldiers the US has, along with his commander Colonel Scott Horton. The tension starts early as Horton tried to kill off Treven in the last novel in order to close a few "loose ends." While all has been forgiven, Treven is wise to doubt Horton's motives and what he wants of Treven on this next mission. A number of videotapes that recorded detainee torture sessions have gone missing, and more than a few government agencies are "highly motivated" to track them down and destroy them before the contents end up on the Internet. Horton has a bit more of an inside line as to who might be in possession of the tapes, and he convinces Treven to track down and flush out the quarry. But that presents a few problems. For one, the target is even more deadly than Treven, and Treven isn't sure who he can trust, as in who might be on "the home team", as each agency has a different goal for recovering the tapes, and collateral damage (as in Ben Treven) isn't a major issue for any of them. Men who are desperately trying to hold on to their power and prestige will do anything to make that happen...
While Inside Out is a great novel in itself, where it shines is in how it disturbingly (and accurately, in my opinion) portrays the inner workings of our government. Pure torture inflicted on terrorism detainees is called "enhanced interrogation techniques." People are held with no charges, hidden away in unknown locations, and likely disposed of with no accountability by the agencies who held them. And of course, we the people have no way of knowing whether these "techniques" are truly giving us information to avoid terror attacks, or whether it's become a sadistic form of retribution on suspected terrorists by people who have become drunk on their own power. And if the scenes of Treven discussing the tapes with Larison (the person who has them) or Treven discussing with Horton how the government runs doesn't stop you dead in your tracks and scare you to death, then you're not paying attention.
I felt like I waited forever for this next novel from Eisler, but it was well worth it. Even better, the ending hints at bringing both Ben Treven and John Rain together in the next novel. If *that* happens, then I really *will* have a hard time waiting for the next installment. I hope Eisler is already writing. :)
Obtained From: Author