Book Review: "Inside Out" by Barry Eisler

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 4 WaterTowers (power and politics from the inside…out)

This is an ARC sent to me, and signed, by Barry Eisler.  It is due in stores June 29, 2010.

“Inside Out” is an absolutely terrific read, and an absolute nightmare (equally as hard as  Gayle Lynd’s “The Last Spymaster”) to review.

What you get below is the barest (and poor attempt at delivering a) synopsis of a book that, if you enjoy the nuances of power, politics, and manipulation as well as full-bore action (and one love scene that would make a romance novelist blush), you should pick up “Inside Out” the instant it appears in your local bookstore.  (Was that a sentence?..arrrghh)

You will enjoy “Inside Out”…you will be scared…you will be left wondering how our government really works.  Eisler is the next generation Martini….masters of the thriller.

See this link for pictures of the real places where the action takes place.

Background (Fact)

In December 2006, the NY Times reported that 2 video tapes showing the torture of suspected terrorists were destroyed by the CIA.

Then, almost two years later, in March 2009, the NY Times updated that story.  Now they report that instead of 2 tapes there were actually 92 videotapes that had been destroyed!!!

“Inside Out” (Fiction?)

Were the tapes destroyed, misplaced, or worse….stolen?

The CIA thinks they were misplaced and Ulrich, then with the Office of the Vice President, and one of the most powerful men in the U.S.,  led the cover up.

It was Ulrich’s idea to leak the destruction of the 2 tapes to the NY Times.  By leaking this information when they did, it was hoped that the CIA would have more time to find the tapes.  They never did…

Years later, there is a new administration and Ulrich is now a lobbyist.  One day he gets a call from Stephen Clements, the second in command at the CIA, who informs Ulrich that a blackmailer has put the missing tapes on an encrypted web site.

If the caller’s demands are not met ($100 million in diamonds), the tapes will go public.  Furthermore, an electronic dead-man switch is in place, so if anything happens to the blackmailer…the tapes will be made public automatically.

The Government is in a tight situation.  The tapes not only show water-boarding and other torture methods actually being implemented, they show something much more sinister:  The Caspers.

Very few people have the skill and knowledge to blackmail the U.S. Government. Unfortunately, the most likely suspect is dead.  Or is he?

Daniel Larison was the best operative in the black ops (top secret) organization, the Intelligence Support Activity.  He had access to the tapes, and he had (has?) the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully blackmail the country.

Colonel Scott Horton (aka Hort), the head of the Intelligence Support Activity, believes Larison is alive and taps ex-special forces and current ISA operative Ben Treven (our hero in Eisler’s last book “Fault Line”) to track him down.

Is Larison the blackmailer?  If not, who is?  Does Ben get the tapes?  Who /what are the Caspers?   I would tell you but Ben would probably off me….you will have to read “Inside Out”.


The last few chapters of  “Inside Out” are a history lesson in current affairs that weaves fact with fiction.  Oh yeah…if you like John Rain as much as I do…..


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