Apr 07

Five Stars for Barry Eisler

In Brief—A recommendation that you read Barry Eisler’s blog, “the heart of the matter.” If you’re into thrillers, you might also want to read his novels.

 “The heart of the matter”—

According to information provided to me by the blog manager, few readers bother to read “Worth Checking Out.” It can easily be accessed by clicking on “Worth Checking Out” at the top of the blog just underneath the banner. Among the sources I recommend to readers can be found the Barry Eisler’s Blog. The blog is titled “the heart of the matter” and is well worth taking the time to read, so much so that I signed up to receive a notification every time he publishes a new piece. If you are into Googling, type in barryeisler.blogspot.com. Surprise yourself, click on any of the words in the highlighted areas in any blog and you will magically be transported to that site. You can always return to where you started.

Though I rarely make a recommendation to my readers and I never intended to write a review, it’s time for an exception. Eisler’s blog is absolutely worth reading regularly, and for a person whose reading is overwhelmingly non-fiction, I must add that his John Rain novels are hard to put down.

So how did I happen on Barry Eisler, a fascinating man who also happens to be a good writer with his head screwed on straight? My daughter, Kathy, writes fantasy novels and regularly reads The Passive Voice, a blog for writers. Eisler regularly writes for TPV about his voluntary transition from best-selling author in traditional publishing to self-publishing. I first began reading “the heart of the matter” and was so impressed by Eisler’s thinking process that I determined to see if his novels were as well written. They are.

However, my purpose in writing this is to focus on his blog in the hope that my readers will discover for themselves what clear, informed thinking is about.

About Barry Eisler—

Eisler is a lawyer who graduated from Cornell Law School in 1989 and joined the CIA to become a covert agent. After three years with the agency, he worked as a lawyer in Silicon Valley and Japan where he earned a black belt in judo. It’s obvious that he paid attention to his environment because—heeding the admonition to write what you know—he started writing. His first novel, Rain Fall (now A Clean Kill in Tokyo), about an Asian-American assassin-for-hire named John Rain, led to a subsequent six novels featuring the exploits of the character whose skills are sought by several nations. Spin-offs of some characters have added scope to Eisler’s writing.

Eisler’s blog, “the heart of the matter,” is largely focused on politics, the language and the marketing of politics. Occasionally, he discusses other subjects, particularly writing. It’s in the realm of politics that Eisler’s skills as a lawyer and writer show most clearly. The writing is straightforward and most importantly, his decency, honesty and integrity color everything he writes. It goes without saying, that his politics and mine are similar, but I am most impressed by his bone-deep decency. In case you haven’t noticed, I heartily recommend that you start reading Barry Eisler’s blog regularly.

Here’s a small sample of his posting (March 11, 2014) about the political confrontation between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the C.I.A. The rest of the piece details why the confrontation is staged and what Sen. Feinstein could easily do if she wants to. She’s “shocked, shocked, I say,” by the C.I.A.’s stance.

”…In fact, the word “torture” appears not once in Feinstein’s remarks.  Think of the linguistic dexterity required to deliver a 12-page-speech about a CIA torture program and a Senate investigation into that program without even once mentioning the word torture!  It would be like me writing this blog post without once mentioning the name “Feinstein.”  I wouldn’t know how to do it, and I’m almost in awe of the propagandists who do…”

I recommend your taking the time to read Eisler’s postings on the Feinstein-C.I.A. confrontations dated March 11 (”Why Won’t Senator Feinstein Call Torture Torture?”), March 19 (”Edward Snowden is No Emmanuel Goldstein”)  and March 20 (”Why the Brennan/Feinstein/Reid Cage Match Isn’t No-Holds-Barred”). Reading these three postings illustrates not only Eisler’s grasp of American law but his clarity of thought. He clearly shows why congressional posturing allows America to remain mired in the same do-nothing mock activity that seems to be leading it down the road to second-world status.

Do yourself a big favor and subscribe to Barry Eisler’s blog. You’ll get a real dose of straight thinking.