Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

“The Lost Coast” a short story by Barry Eisler

Barry Eisler has stirred up a tremendous amount of press lately with all his publishing ventures. He’s left his New York publisher to go the ebook route, then has recently signed to Amazon’s new Thomas and Mercer print line. This has all been intriguing stuff and will be a major indicator in how things will ultimately go regarding ebooks versus print.

“The Lost Coast” – notice the quotation marks? That means this is a short story, not a novel – was Eisler’s first foray into epublishing. And it proved to be a successful one. The story is currently $1.99 on Amazon. Sadly, I was one of those that paid $2.99 for it when it first came out. His second short story, “Paris Is A Bitch,” is currently $2.99. I don’t know what to think about the pricing other than it’s flexible.

Larison is a protagonist Eisler created for his novel, Inside Out, and one that has evidently won a considerable fan base. That’s interesting because Larison is one of the most ruthless men I’ve read about in a long time, and his sexual orientation isn’t the stuff most male heroes or anti-heroes is made of. Larison, as this story proves, can be quite sadistic.

I haven’t yet read Inside Out, but I will because I’m intrigued, but I was expecting something different than what I got. The short story, though gripping and violent, is something that would usually take place off stage in a novel. But it highly delineates the character and shows him in a light that the reader wouldn’t often otherwise see.

I think I was anticipating a showdown of sorts, a story where the hero came to the rescue of someone else, or even himself, but that isn’t quite what we get here. It’s twisted and lethal, and keeps the reader glued to the pages.

The story clocks in at 6600+ words and has some additional material tucked into it. The first three chapters of Eisler’s next John Rain book is in it (but now we don’t know for sure when that book will be arriving), and there’s an interview with J. A. Konrath, who’s fast becoming the guru of all things Kindle.

I was interested in seeing what Eisler was going to do, but the $2.99 price tag for so few words was steep. I’d have been a lot happier at the new, improved price. Still, he’s managed to sell quite a few of these things and has proven that the American public is willing to read longer short stories these days.


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