Thomas and Mercer, $9.99 E-Book, ISBN 1612181554
My morning alarm is a radio, set to the local National Public Radio, or NPR station. I mention this because one morning a few days ago the discussion was an interview with a thriller writer named Barry Eisler, about his new book, which will be the subject of this week’s MBR NO. 27. Eisler is an author I’m familiar with, having read several of his books about a government operative named John Rain, “the most charismatic assassin since James Bond.” What made me wake right up and pay attention however, was that Eisler had turned down an offer of a half-million dollar cash advance from his legacy, or traditional publisher, in favor of self publishing: The Detachment, by Barry Eisler is a significant development in what can be loosely-termed “the publishing conflict” now going on around us. It’s a complex issue that can’t be adequately explained within the spatial confines of this column, but basically, it’s about who’s going to control book publishing in the future: authors, or the large old publishing houses and their agents who’ve dominated the industry almost since Mister Guttenberg invented moveable type.
With E-Book publishing, authors have suddenly been given an uber-weapon to use against their adversaries. (Note: if you’d like to know more, let me know. I’ll do a report on the topic on my website if there’s enough interest.) Okay . . . back to The Detachment, by Barry Eisler. After I woke up and had some breakfast, I grabbed my Kindle and in less than a minute, still in my PJ’s and drinking my morning tea, I was reading a new, just-published book for which I paid a little less than half the retail price . . . and it wasn’t available in paper yet! Don’t worry, it will be by the time you read this. Truly, a revolution is underway. Here’s the review.
Sort of retired and living in anonymity in Tokyo, the always-cautious assassin John Rain is somehow tracked down and extorted by threat to join one last assassination team to prevent a coup in America. His recruiter is a legendary black-ops operative, Colonel Scott “Hort” Horton. The targets are three high-profile government officials. The payday is multiple millions. The enemy is the Oligarchy, a combination of military, political, media and corporate factions determined to overthrow the legitimate, elected government of the United States. The job requires a team of four who must survive each other, as well as the weight and might of the government, and the combined resources of the Oligarchy. If your taste is for complex thrillers where you can almost hear the gunshots and smell the cordite, be sure to read this one; a highly enjoyable action-thriller.