“The Detachment” by Barry Eisler brings back assassin John Rain and the former Marine sniper, Dox, from Eisler’s first six popular novels and pairs them with the covert operator and hero of Eisler’s last two books, Ben Treven, and the deadly Larison from Eisler’s most recent “Inside Out.” These four, all expert and experienced operators and killers, are thrust together to form a detachment to stop a coup that’s being launched on American soil. Black Ops veteran Colonel Scott “Hort” Horton from previous novels brings the four together for the mission, but it’s up to the four to figure out just what the mission is, if they can, before being killed, or killing each other. The premise makes for an exciting fast paced yarn that is fun to read and keeps you wondering what is what and who is who throughout.
I’m a friend of Eisler’s, and was looking forward to him writing about Rain and Dox again. As a former Army sniper, I have a kindred spirit for the former Marine. I really liked his part in this story, and it was great to see him back in action, as well as providing some of the comical relief when things get tough. Who says a tough guy can’t have a sense of humor? The way the four men interacted with each other moved the talk along well, and the trust, or lack of it, element of the story kept it interesting. Sometimes these interactions were as full of “action” as the actual action scenes, just a different type. The way the characters have developed over the series, and the camaraderie between them, and a look into their psyche, enables the reader to better understand these men, their lives, their pains, their insecurities, as well as their strengths.
As a writer, Eisler did another thing I found interesting. When focused on Rain, the narration is in first person, but when writing about Dox, Treven, and Larison, it is in third person. I found this interesting, and it really makes the story a John Rain thriller as the title suggests, rather than a Ben Treven book. And Rain is the primary character, even though the others all play important roles. Eisler, as always, is in top form when writing about covert ops and keeps his locations accurate and realistic. His experience and research pays off.
“The Detachment” is a terrific thriller with John Rain and Dox back in action. The addition of Treven and Larison added to the excitement and I’m looking forward to seeing where this detachment of special op professionals goes next.