Barry Eisler

  • November 10, 2011
    BookTalk
    The Detachment
    By: 
    Barry Eisler

    By Barry Eisler, an award-winning author of bestselling thrillers. Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations and has worked as a technology lawyer. Eisler also blogs on torture, civil liberties and the rule of law.


    Writing The Detachment was a joy. How could it not be? I got to parachute my half-Japanese, half-American assassin John Rain into the corrupt universe I established in Fault Line and continued in Inside Out; partner him with characters from all my books; and pit him against a formidable and unfamiliar enemy plotting a coup in the United States. The result is some of the most intricate plotting, complex character behavior, and hard-core action I’ve ever done, all set against the biggest canvas I’ve ever painted: rolling terror attacks across America; presidential speeches and Oval Office brinksmanship; a game whose stakes will be measured not just in tens of thousands of lives at risk, but in the consequences to my characters’ psyches and souls.

    As much as the story depends for its thrills on character, action, and plot, though, it depends also on realism. Realism of setting (as always, I traveled to every location that appears in the book, including Tokyo, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Vienna, and Washington, D.C.); realism of operator tools and tactics (everything I depict is in accordance with my CIA training and experience); and realism of action (I have a black belt in judo and consult with experts to make sure I’m nailing the nuances of the combat sequences). But the realism that interests me most in any thriller, especially my own, is that of the story’s circumstances.

  • July 29, 2010
    BookTalk
    Inside Out
    By: 
    Barry Eisler

    By Barry Eisler, an award-winning author of bestselling thrillers. Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations and has worked as a technology lawyer. Eisler also blogs on torture, civil liberties and the rule of law.
    As a thriller writer, blogger, and former CIA officer who continues to adhere to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I've never been so satisfied with one of my novels as I am with Inside Out.

    I'm a big believer in the power of fiction to promote ideology, and in fact addressed this subject recently in an essay for NPR on George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four. I'm appalled at how effectively the right has been using fiction to promote torture, and conceived of Inside Out in part as a way to fire back: a means of depicting not a cartoon fantasy, but rather the true causes and consequences of torture, consequences that include worsening erosion of our values, increased damage to national security, and the continued degradation of the Constitution itself.

    Of course, Inside Out is filled with great characters, edge-of-your-seat action, and steamy sex - it's a thriller, after all. But what sets it apart from most works of the genre is the timeliness and relevance of the story. The ninety-two interrogation videos the CIA confessed last year to destroying, and which form the foundation for the book's plot, are back in the news now, as independent prosecutor John Durham concludes his two-year obstruction of justice investigation. And the other subjects at the heart of Inside Out - torture, ghost detainees, renditions, the real nature of America's Establishment - continue to be the most profound and controversial political issues of the day.