Barry Eisler is my favorite espionage/thriller writer and has been since I picked up my first book in the John Rain Series (which I think was Choke Point). But on with the review:
Inside Out is a continuation of the story begun in Fault Line. While it's not necessary to have read the first book, (Inside Out is self contained) reading Fault Line and indeed the John Rain Series only adds depth and enjoyment.
The action kicks off with Ben Treven (a support character in Fault Line) being 'rescued' from a Manila prison by his old handler. His skills are needed to track down a former member of his unit, believed dead, who has in his possession video evidence of torture carried out in ghost prisons. These videos threaten to inconvenience a number of players and understandably a straight forward manhunt becomes a thrilling game of cloak and dagger where Ben can never be quite sure of whose on what side.
The ending sets up a nice tie in for previous characters in the John Rain novels, if fans thought we'd seen the last of John Rain we are not going to be disappointed.
What I liked
This is pretty much classic Eisler, doing what he does best. We share a similar view in terms of liberal politics and his views on American(and Australian for that matter) behavior in the "War on Terror' are similar to mine. His depiction of combat and violence are realistic, especially from a psychological standpoint. Match this with a talent for writing well paced action and good dialogue and it's a non stop read for me.
What I didn't like
A glaring stuff up in the first chapter (one that Barry has admitted to on his website). He refers to Australian naval personnel as marines and Royal Marines at that. Barry's writing is good enough that it was shortly forgiven though. Other than this I felt that the tale was bit short and hadn't quite resolved itself by the end of the book. It's an open ending that leads obviously into a third book but I think I would have liked a more solid resolution.
Eisler at his best. Action, thrills and politics. If you like Lee Childs try Barry Eisler, I think he's better.