The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler (Thomas and Mercer, February 2016) is a mile-a-minute thriller, a paranoid’s nightmare, the kind of novel I love to read and write. And Marvin Manus is my kind of contract killer. He’s cold, detached, and efficient. What makes him unique is his deafness. Physically abused as a child by his drunken father, Manus lost his hearing. Manus kills his father after the father kills Marvin’s mother, and the boy is institutionalized where he’s sexually abused by other inmates. Marvin learns to survive by being smarter and quicker and more ruthless than everyone else. Plus, Marvin always gets his revenge.
NSA director General Ted Anders rescues Manus from life behind bars by recruiting Manus for clandestine wet work. Manus trains with the Marines at Quantico and with the CIA at the Farm. When Director Anders needs someone to plug a leak, he assigns the work either to Manus or to Delgado, a sadistic assassin.
Evie Gallagher, an NSA programmer-analyst with a deaf son named Dash and an aging father hospitalized with Alzheimer’s, suspects Director Anders is murdering whistleblowers—–NSA employees who, like Edward Snowden, divulge Anders’ illegal activities to the press. Unfortunately, Anders suspects Evie suspects, and he assigns Manus to shadow Evie and report suspicious activity. Because Evie uses American Sign Language to communicate with her deaf son, Manus feels a kinship with the woman and boy. He allows himself to fall in love with Evie.
When the Director sends Manus and Delgado to kidnap Evie and acquire an encrypted thumb drive in Evie’s possession, Manus won’t allow Delgado to hurt Evie. Despite what Delgado says, Manus refuses to believe the Director can be so cruel and uncaring. Manus hopes, all the way to the end, that if he talks Evie into turning the thumb drive over to the Director, all will be forgiven.
Filled with facts from today’s headlines, The God’s Eye View is a taut tale so well told that it made me buy all of Eisler’s previous books. My cudos to the author and five stars for a wonderful read.