Review of “The Chaos Kind” by Barry Eisler

Another random read, this time a preposterous fictional story based (very loosely) on conspiracy theories surrounding Jeffrey Epstein’s death in jail. At least that’s my take. The grammar and punctuation are okay, but the writing style becomes very ponderous after the halfway point, a phenomenon I’ve mentioned before. I think the author was being sucked into a black hole (aka publisher’s deadline) and didn’t have time to clean it up. Not that it would have mattered.

There is no actual story. What tattered plot can be found is nothing more than transitions between a never-ending series of gun fights. If you like guns, you’ll like this book; just don’t get any ideas about reenacting the scenes. There aren’t even any chase scenes or detective work — we don’t need no stinking effort, just put that in background. There are a lot of characters but no real protagonists, just a bunch of government (sometimes ex-government) contractors (read mercenaries) who know each other and have some kind of Three-Musketeer camaraderie. The number of bad decisions by people with reputations to lose (not to mention their crime-fighting careers) cascades into the same black hole as the author’s attention.

Despite my negative opinion, I found many of the scenes exciting and turned the page as fast as anyone; however, I also found myself reading the action scenes quickly in anticipation of hopefully finding a plot after they were finished. Never found it. The author is good at short scenes that get the pulse going but they aren’t integrated into an interesting story. The characters may be based on real people but they are not much more than permutations on a single personality, probably not a surprise since they are all (or become in the story) murderers, also known as assassins and simple killers. Having a personal interest in killing doesn’t change it.

I just wish that Eisler hadn’t tried to make them all “good” guys and gals. Because they are not.

I can’t recommend this, unless you like reading about gun fights and what are the best weapons to use in a particular situation…

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