David M. Brown's Blog

September 26, 2011

Eisler’s The Detachment is detached from plausibility

Filed under: Literature,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 9:20 pm

Although there are already 50+ reader reviews of Eisler’s new novel, the button that allows readers to post a review is for some reason currently missing from the Amazon page for the book.

What I wanted to say is that it’s another tale of terrorism-as-inside-job-having-nothing-to-do-with-fanatical-Muslims, which has become a cliche of lefty thriller writers. The special pleading of Eisler’s new novel is underscored by political quotes fronting each section. Why not just revisit 9/11 itself and show the government insiders setting it up, hiring bin Laden and company, etc?

Eisler’s plot is implausible on other counts as well. Why does Rain, who is not sure why he is doing what he is doing or whether he is being told the truth, allow himself to be set up so easily? Rain asks such questions of himself, but the writer’s trick of trying to defuse objections to his plot holes by calling attention to them doesn’t work here.

The notion that Rain is at heart a goody-good on the right side of politics, at least, despite being an amoral (but ambivalent) hitman wears especially thin in this outing.

Eisler’s narrative skill and ability to sketch interesting background details about the dojo or spycraft means that the book is readable despite its weaknesses. I like the series and am interested in Rain. I wonder if Eisler still is.

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