Book Review

Book Review: Inside Out by Barry Eisler

Author: Barry Eisler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345505101
Genre: Thriller


Ghost detainees.
And a massive cover-up that continues even today.

Marooned in a Manila jail after a bar fight fatality, black ops soldier Ben Treven gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Scott Horton, who explains the price of Ben’s release: Find and eliminate Daniel Larison, a rogue operator from Ben’s unit who has stolen ninety-two torture tapes from the CIA and is using them to blackmail the U.S. Government.

But other players are after the tapes, too, and to find Larison, Ben will have to survive CIA hit teams, Blackwater mercenaries, and the long reach of the White House. He’ll also need to find a way to handle Paula Lanier, a smart, sexy FBI agent who has her own reasons for wanting the tapes and is determined to get them before Ben does. With the stakes this high, everyone has an angle—everyone but Ben, who will have to find the right alliance if he wants to stay alive.


Barry Eisler just keeps getting better and better with each book he writes. 

Inside Out is the second Ben Treven story, sadly I haven’t read the previous outing but that didn’t spoil this one in anyway. Thankfully, Eisler doesn’t waste time playing catch up in his opening chapters but writes thought-provoking, stand-alone thrillers that deliver on every level, whether or not they feature characters who’ll become part of a series. 

It’s how Eisler takes you straight into the heart of the story and characters that makes him a captivating writer. He sets the scene, he builds the characters with just the right amount of background detail and shading (no one is paper thin, black and white, or without a hidden agenda or motives) his characters come with their own share of baggage so you know exactly where each one is coming from, from the get-go.

Eisler also delivers the punches, and by god he’ll make you squirm, and smile, and wince, and nod your head knowingly as you read this one. At times wonderfully nuanced, it’s also in your face and brutal, revealing, and all at once, thought provoking. 

Inside Out is a deceptive look into the black abyss of what goes on behind closed doors in the corridors of power and politics that is so close to reality, you wonder if, in fact, he’s writing fiction at all. 

If you love well-researched, well-written and well-plotted thrillers, this one is a must read! 

Thank you Barry, I can’t wait for the next one.

Rating : 8 / 10

2 comments on “Book Review: Inside Out by Barry Eisler

  1. Avatar

    Well Alexandra I think I should again recommend your post to my writing friend. The way you say he is setting the scene and giving enough bones to his characters is something I tried to explain to her too…

    • Alex

      Then you should tell her to read his books, Sophie. I love his style, and also Steve Berry does the same. They give you just enough detail to let you enjoy the action and adventure, and go for the ride along!

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