The first time I heard of Barry Eisler’s book Fault Line was when Skippy emailed me to tell me he was reading this New York Times bestselling thriller, and I was in it as a bit character. As were Josh Marshall, Hilzoy, Atrios and a few other bloggers. . . and Glenn Greenwald had a law firm with Andrew Sullivan, which no doubt made for an interesting work environment.
Eisler is a former CIA agent who mines the same material bloggers write about every day — Blackwater mercenaries, CIA hit teams, ghost detainees, enhanced interrogation techniques, missing video tapes and random spook mishigas — from a fictional perspective. He evidently has quite a sense of humor, too, because the idea that any of us would get up from behind our computers to go shoot at people would make anyone laugh.
Now, this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo. I’d had a similar small part in James Ellroy’s LA Confidential as a dead hooker (p. 275, don’t ask, and my middle name’s not Mildred). But I thought this was pretty cool, so I sent a note to the FDL folks letting them know about my brief appearance on p. 63 in Fault Line.
Marcy quickly shot back an email letting me know that I wasn’t all that:
Yes, and Marcy Wheeler is actually the antagonist’s sort of ex-wife whom the protagonist imagines he might sleep with, to no avail. Two whole extended speaking scenes and even a key role in the plot, both featuring an 8-year old child that McCaffrey the MilleniaLab likes to pretend grants him a promotion by the very existence.
Dan Froomkin, btw, is the pseudonym the protagonist is using while trying to schmooze Marcy Wheeler into bed.
Okay, fine, Marcy wants to make fun of me and give me shit, that’s what friends and adolescent children are for: keeping you humble. Who knew she had such an active imagination though. Or the hots for Dan Froomkin.
Anyway, cut to later that month, when as luck would have it I was in New York with my best friend from high school, Mary Jane Mucklestone, for her birthday. We went to hear Glenn Greenwald, David Barstow and Dan Ellsberg speak at the New School. There was a question and answer session afterwards, in which Barry identified himself. So I figured I’d go make his acquaintance.
I don’t quite remember the series of events that led to me, Dan, Barry, Glenn and bunch of NYU law professors celebrating Mary Jane’s birthday in some dark little Italian restaurant in the middle of a snow storm. I just remember the slightly drunk law professors bitching about how law school was for rich kids who only wanted to learn how to steal and get away with it, a bunch of crazy spy vs. spy stories that in any other group would certainly be the whiskey talking, and Dan Ellsberg doing magic tricks with my pink scarf.
At one point, I started to tell Mary Jane about Barry’s book, and figured he could do a better job. So he begins, saying “Well, Marcy Wheeler plays the ex-wife of one of the characters…”
And I’m like, “You mean she didn’t just make that up?”
“No,” he said, “she’s one of the principle characters.”
“You don’t say. I thought she was just giving me shit.”
Which is the long-ish version of how I came to meet Barry Eisler, who I’m delighted to say will be here with Jeff Kaye on the FDL Book Salon at 5pm ET this Saturday. But I’ll personally have the pleasure of introducing Barry when he appears tomorrow night in Bethesda at Barnes & Noble at 7pm where he will read from his new book, Inside Out, and have a Q& A session afterwards. Barry will generously donate $5 to FDL for each copy of the book sold at the event as part of our current fundraiser.
So please join us tomorrow evening. It’s a great book, Barry is extraordinarily entertaining, and as a special bonus due to circumstances beyond my control, my dogs Katie and Lucy will be there too (don’t ask).
Barry Eisler will read from his new novel Inside Out at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda, MD, at 7pm, Friday July 2. $5 from each book sold will go to support investigative journalism on firedoglake.com.