Eisler's talents continue to shine in this newest novel about John Rain: He writes what he knows about, and he does it well.
In this latest novel, John Rain runs around Hong Kong, Manila, and Thailand searching for his latest victim - an Israeli explosives expert under the protection of the CIA. Who better to create an "accidental" death than John Rain. It's a busy ride, where the hunter and hunted are ambiguous, elusive loyalties are tested and you never know what turn is coming next. The climax is strong, but leaves you breathlessly waiting for the next one. (More Caffiene for Mr. Eisler - one a year is a fast pace, but we'd like them even quicker!)
Similar to previous books in the series, you'll finish this one within a day or two of buying it. (I picked it up at a signing on Friday and finished it by the following Monday) It's just too hard to put down.
One suggestion for the reader is to start with book one (Rain Fall) if you're really interested in the series. You can read this one standalone, but the history of Rain as well as the context of his personal changes play out over multiple novels. This is not as purely episodic as the James Bond series.
I really hope someone acts on the option to put this series on the big screen. Beat Takeshi - are you listening???
Barry Eisler in creating John Rain has invented an assasin, a hit-man for hire, who thinks, who broods. Rain, the offspring of a Japanese father and American mother is a contemporary samurai who continually muses over his chosen career as a very high-priced, meticulous assassin. Rain has what many might consider "problems," such as lack of a permanent love interest and so on. In "Killing Rain," the fourth in the John Rain series, aging becomes another of his concerns.
Through a intermediary, a gorgeous Israeli intelligence agent who specializes in seduction to serve her country, Rain is hired to kill an Israeli who sells knowledge of explosives to terrorists. Rain has acquired a sort-of partner, known as Dox (as in "unorthodox"), a large, verbose American. Dox's specialty is as a sniper.
The two track down the target, Manny, to Manilla and in Rain's typically painstaking (and thrilling way) set the scene for his demise. The ambush goes wrong and among the dead are two men who might be CIA agents. Rain's concern for Manny's young son is what makes the assination go wrong. Rain has scruples: he isn't just anyone's murderer.
The beauty of reading Eisler is that he takes you into the very complex mind of John Rain and some of the people he interacts with. Their is Deliah, the beautiful Israel agent. Dox who appears to be superficial, but is not. Even with minor characters, Eisler manages to evoke depth in them.
The action moves from the Phillipines to China and is unrelenting. Now Rain and Dox are being hunted by the Israelis and a mysterious organization that may or may not be connected to the CIA.
It never stops. Eisler keeps pouring it on and Rain keeps thinking and thinking. And the reader keeps reading and reading until long into the night, unless they have a self-discipline I lack.
Eisler has created a grand character in John Rain, the assassin who thinks . . . and kills with mind-gripping perfection.
For those searching for a little more action in their reading diet, you could do no better than Barry Eisler's Killing Rain (Putnam, $24.95), the fourth in a series featuring Japanese-American assassin John Rain, a contract killer who specializes in the "natural causes" hit.
Rain is hired by the Mossad to eliminate an Israeli arms dealer operating in Manila. At the crucial moment, though, the target's young son appears on the scene, causing Rain to freeze. The arms merchant escapes and Rain's hesitation haunts him, his conscience plaguing him for the first time with self-doubt.
After three action-packed adventures, culminating in last year's stand-out Rain Storm, Eisler has taken his latest book in a slightly different direction, focusing less on the adrenaline, and more on the psyche of John Rain. The result is a more introspective and deeply nuanced story, and a richer look into the heart and mind of this compelling killer.
Even given that change of focus, Killing Rain still features plenty of thrills and tense moments, as well as the beautifully rendered exotic settings that have become the series' trademark. All in all, Killing Rain is a satisfying step forward for one of the genre's most gifted writers.
on August 19, 2014
"Redemption Games" (formerly "Killing Rain" and "One Last Kill") is the fourth novel in Eisler's eight-novel strong John Rain series. Rain is a Japanese-American professional assassin, who has lived in both countries and feels at home in both. Formerly of the Japanese Secret Service, he is now operating as a private contractor, often with a partner Dox. Sometimes he works with the CIA or Mossad. Sometimes he is at cross-purposes with these agencies. Although there have been many secret agent and assassin type novels over the years, the Rain series is among the best well-written and the first few novels were filled with an insider's view of Tokyo and the environs that really took the reader inside Japanese culture. These novels also contain numerous passages giving the readers informative tips about how to assess a dangerous situation, what to look for when you walk into a hotel, an airport lounge, a restaurant, how best to quickly dispose of enemy combatants.
This novel takes Rain to Manila, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. He is working with a partner, Dox, an ex-US Army sniper with a good-old boy manner, loud and abrasive, living large every minute, but who somehow, when he goes into sniper mode, disappears into the woodwork. Rain got a referral for this job through his Mossad contact and sometime-lover, the blonde bombshell Delilah and part of the story, particularly after the job goes sour, is whether he can trust her and whether he can ever let down his guard around her. Often, their goals are similar, but she has allegiances that he ultimately does not have.
Rain is not your typical assassin (as if you know what a typical assassin is like). He has morals and ethics and qualms about killing in front of children, but he is deadly as they come, preferring to work close up and there are few professionals in an agency that are of his caliber. "Killing isn't the hard part," he explains. "Getting close to the target, though, that takes some talent." As does making it look natural, his speciality. The hardest part, however, is living with it after.
There are few secret agent type novels (and, although, Rain isn't a secret agent, the stories are part of that genre) that are this well-written and this accessible. Rain isn't casual about what he does as Bond might be. Rather, everything he does has consequences, largely because he is operating on his own and anything he does might offend an agency, seal his death warrant, or screw up a personal relationship for him. The meat of this book is not just bang-bang, shoot-em-up, but Rain's paradoxical difficulties with dealing with what he does and who he can trust. And, it is a book (or series of books) that really stands out in this genre.
on August 30, 2005
Shadow assassin-for-hire John Rain is again doing what he does best. This time, at the behest of the Mossad, he is off through Southeast Asia stalking black market arms dealer Manheim Levi. By now longtime Rain devotees are as familiar with his modus operandi and his obsession for detail as they are with author Barry Eisler's taut, crisp and compelling penmanship. None of this subtracts one iota from this being another terrific John Rain novel. Sensual femme fatale Delilah returns as does Rain's alter-ego associate Dox. The trio makes for an unorthodox but effective (and entertaining) team as they pursue the completion of their assignment. A slightly different slant in this fourth novel.
I will echo previous reviewers' lament that, after reading "Killing Rain" so quickly, it seems a long wait until Eisler writes the fifth Rain novel next year. But enjoy this one for now, it's another great read.
This is the fourth novel in the (Killing Rain by Barry Eisler) John Rain freelance assassin for hire series. I have been reading this fascinating series by Barry Eisler in the order that they were published. When I read the first book in this series (Rain Fall) I immediately liked the John Rain character but felt it was possible he was also a psychopath; however, after reading four books in this series I think John Rain is just a very careful and professional assassin and he does seem to have somewhat of a conscious.
This does not mean he has no psychopathic qualities; indeed, anyone who is into his kind of business has to have some control over his emotions in order to survive. This novel begins with John Rain and his new partner, sniper trained by the U.S. Marines, Dox who we met in the third novel.
John was hired by the Israeli intelligence to take care of an Israeli national named Manheim Lavi (nick name Manny) who may have also worked for the CIA giving information. The “target” was being carefully watched by John and Dox to determine how many body guards Manny has and when would be the best time to complete the job, of course trying to make it look like a natural death.
I never like to give away too much information when reviewing a novel because it spoils it for those who may want to read the book. I will say that there are plenty of action scenes, twists and turns along with some bad luck and good luck which keeps you turning the pages.
If you are a John Rain fan you should check out this book. I really liked this forth book in the series and I will begin reading the fifth book very soon.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Tactical Principles of the most effective combative systems).
on November 30, 2005
I have to admit that I bought this book because I had the pleasure of working with Barry many years ago just after he left government service and I was curious to see what he had come up with in John Rain. I'm a huge fan of Trevanian (old ones, like Shibumi, not the recent ones that are written by someone else) and I must say that I was really impressed. Killing Rain is a great read and a must-have for followers of the genre! I opened the book and didn't stop until the adventure came to an end. Barry's description of the locales, characters and techniques are colorful, entertaining and spot on. I look forward to the next in the series.
on October 13, 2014
Another exciting John Rain thriller. I plan to read all of them. Two complaints: Why is it so hard to figure out the order of the John Rain books??? I am OK with his explanation of changing the titles, but neither the new titles nor the old titles give you any clue as to the order. And when you shop on Kindle, it doesn't say anything like "John Rain series number 3". I have to literally go on a separate device an google it to figure it out.
Complaint #2: Now that John Rain is clearly at least in his 50's (he is a Vietnam vet for heaven's sake) would you please have him date women of a more reasonable age? It is great how all these 29-30 year olds think he is so hot, but really, would it kill the author to make John Rain fall for a woman within 10 years of his own age?
on March 8, 2015
Barry Eisler has outdone himself again. John Rain accepts a contract to assassinate a bad guy by the name of Manny Levi who helped terrorists be more effective. The problem is that there are some who do not want him to succeed, including potentially the CIA. The action takes place in Manila, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. Dox comes back into the story, as does Delilah of Mossad, Tatsu of the Japanese Keisatsucho, and Kanematau of the CIA. The research was impeccable, including knives and guns, hotels, wines, and restaurants. More than the previous books, Eisler talks about the need for agents who are willing to do the unthinkable to get close to terrorists, "make their bones" by killing their own or standing aside while terrorists killed. In the shadowy covert world of terrorists and anti-terrorists, there is no room for hesitation. It is kill or suffer the consequences. The Mossad laughs at the strait jacket that Americans put themselves into. Throughout, John Rain's love for and understanding of Japan shines through, not only in his descriptions of Tokyo but his relationship with Tatsu. In Japan, bonds of giri or obligation run deep. John Rain is driven by his giri, not to those who save his life but to those he killed.
on June 19, 2016
I must confess it takes some effort to keep track of the titles. Not only are there many books by Eisler but several of them have multiple names. Maybe I should make a numbered chronology list, as with Donna Léon or Cornwell?
Anyway, after getting the request to rate this book, I had to look it up to check which it was: "Ah yes the one starting in Hong Kong with Dox in the picture".
Well not the very best but eminently readable. I lose track of the killings, but that's part of it. The sex scenes seem pasted on but maybe they help selling the book. As always, the locations are very well described, also true to the period.