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The Last Assassin (John Rain Thrillers) Hardcover – June 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Japanese-American assassin John Rain would like to get out of the killing business in his fifth action-filled outing (after 2005's Killing Rain), see the son he's only just learned of and perhaps try to reconnect with Midori, the child's mother. But first there's the little matter of the Japanese gangster Yamaoto and Yamaoto's Chinese triad allies, who are watching over Rain's son in New York City, not to mention Delilah, the beautiful Mossad agent who shares Rain's occupation and his bed. Seizing the initiative, Rain enlists the aid of his super-sniper friend, Dox, in a campaign to remove Yamaoto. Rain and allies clash with their many powerful foes in combat scenes full of lovingly detailed descriptions of knives, guns and other martial paraphernalia. Amid the threats to life, limb and loved ones, Rain finds time to enjoy good food, better whiskey and even better sex. While most of the action takes place in Japan, Eisler handles all the story's locales, including Manhattan and Barcelona, with considerable aplomb.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The fifth John Rain novel is the first not to feature the Japanese American contract killer's name in the title. Is this a sign that Eisler is taking the series in a new direction, or perhaps, given the seeming finality of the title, ending it altogether? The book begins with momentous news: Rain is a father, his brief liaison with Midori, the daughter of a man Rain killed, having produced a son. Now Rain sees his best chance of getting out of the killing game. But can he protect mother and child from his enemies, who are trying to use them as leverage to get Rain? And can he extricate himself safely from his relationship with Delilah, the beautiful Israeli assassin? This has been a consistently fine series, and its latest installment is no exception. Rain, the killer who wishes he could stop killing, is an engaging protagonist, and the author's depiction of the world of the assassin is vivid and well imagined. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: John Rain Thrillers
  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399153594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399153594
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

A Note On The New Titles

Why have I changed the titles of the Rain books? Simply because I've never thought the titles were right for the stories. The right title matters--if only because the wrong one has the same effect as an inappropriate frame around an otherwise beautiful painting. Not only does the painting not look good in the wrong frame; it will sell for less, as well. And if you're the artist behind the painting, having to see it in the wrong frame, and having to live with the suboptimal commercial results, is aggravating.

The sad story of the original Rain titles began with the moniker Rain Fall for the first in the series. It was a silly play on the protagonist's name, and led to an unfortunate and unimaginative sequence of similar such meaningless, interchangeable titles: Hard Rain, Rain Storm, Killing Rain (the British titles were better, but still not right: Blood from Blood for #2; Choke Point for #3; One Last Kill for #4). By the fifth book, I was desperate for something different, and persuaded my publisher to go with The Last Assassin, instead. In general, I think The Last Assassin is a good title, but in fairness it really has nothing to do with the story in the fifth book beyond the fact that there's an assassin in it. But it was better than more of Rain This and Rain That. The good news is, the fifth book did very well indeed; the bad news is, the book's success persuaded my publisher that assassin was a magic word and that what we needed now was to use the word assassin in every title. And so my publisher told me that although they didn't care for my proposed title for the sixth book--The Killer Ascendant--they were pleased to have come up with something far better. The sixth book, they told me proudly, would be known as The Quiet Assassin.

I tried to explain that while not quite as redundant as, say, The Deadly Assassin or The Lethal Assassin, a title suggesting an assassin might be notable for his quietness was at best uninteresting (as opposed to, say, Margret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, which immediately engages the mind because of the connection of two seemingly contradictory qualities). The publisher was adamant. I told them that if they really were hell-bent on using assassin in a title that otherwise had nothing to do with the book, couldn't we at least call the book The Da Vinci Assassin, or The Sudoku Assassin? In the end, we compromised on Requiem for an Assassin, a title I think would be good for some other book but is unrelated to the one I wrote--beyond, again, the bare fact of the presence of an assassin in the story.

Now that I have my rights back and no longer have to make ridiculous compromises about these matters, I've given the books the titles I always wanted them to have--titles that actually have something to do with the stories, that capture some essential aspect of the stories, and that act as both vessel and amplifier for what's most meaningful in the stories. For me, it's like seeing these books for the first time in the frames they always deserved. It's exciting, satisfying, and even liberating. Have a look yourself and I hope you'll enjoy them.


Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. To learn more, please visit www.barryeisler.com. Or Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Colin P. Lindsey VINE VOICE on June 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent action-adventure novel that rips you from Barcelona to New York to Japan and back again, while the protagonist must contend with the Japaneze Yakuza, Chinese triads, the anger and bitterness of an ex-love, the jealousy of his current flame, and most difficult of all, the unaswerable questions in his own heart caused by the revelation that he has an infant son in New York. This is the fifth in Eisler's wonderful series featuring John Rain, the half-American half-Japanese professional assassin. This novel ties up some of the loose ends created in the first four outings and once again delivers a dose of the most convincing and lethal action scenes to be found between book covers.

If you are an action fan, but also like clear, entertaining, and super-intelligent prose, then this series is about as good it gets. The author obviously does his homework and studies close quarters combat (CQC) in detail in order to write believable, harrowing, and shocking combat scenes that are absolutely thrilling and riveting. Guns, knives, explosives, fists, feet and the everyday objects of life are used to write incredibly detailed and smart fight scenes. John Rain is perhaps as lethal a man as there is in literature, but he is also an intensely believable character because he is rational, intelligent, and above all else cautious and paranoid in amounts I have never seen before. Rain would spend hours doubling back on his trail and using tradecraft to insure there is no one on his tail simply to get out and get a whiskey. A man truly fond of single malt scotch and good jazz music, but who also flies to Barcelona five days ahead of his scheduled rendevous with his amour in order to scope out all the alleys and exits and ensure there are no enemies there first.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on August 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Barry Eisler's John Rain series used to be on a par with Lee Child's Jack Reacher series - both featured hard-boiled anti-heroes, shocking plots, exotic locales, fearsome villains, and some of the best action scenes out there. And Rain had the advantage over Reacher in that he got to travel the globe and use the CIA as a supplier of lethal weaponry. Perhaps that, along with Rain's appreciation for good whisky, gave Rain the edge.

But then, "The Last Assassin" came along, and suddenly Eisler's run of well-written, well-plotted thrillers came to a screeching halt. Where Child is comfortable with keeping Reacher more or less self-contained emotionally (and therefore occasionally unlikable), Eisler couldn't resist the temptation to make John Rain come to terms with his emotional side. True, he does so in a natural way - Rain has to comes to terms with fatherhood - but the emotional quagmire that results is a jarring flat note in this otherwise brilliant series.

When Barry Eisler writes about ops, he's as good as it gets. Rain is a master strategist and tactician, and Eisler's words flow smoothly when reconning an op site or describing gruesome hand-to-hand combat. He's also pretty good at writing a sex-ridden romp, particularly when the Israeli agent Delilah is involved. But when Eisler's writing about love, well, let's just say the cliches start flying and Rain is less an assassin than a frustrated teenager. And that's disappointing.

Rain actually says at one point, "I can change!" Yup - Oscar Wilde would be so proud . . .

The focus on love also renders Eisler's other characters more or less stereotypical supporting characters. Midori is the unattainable object of Rain's affection.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Claire on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have simply devoured all the John Rain books. THE LAST ASSASSIN arrived in the mail yesterday; as always, I couldn't put it down and finished it tonight, disappointed I'd reached the end.

John Rain is an assassin you get attached to, and even begin to understand. Another reviewer is apparently disappointed in the way Rain has evolved over the course of five books. However, the changes are simply evidence of Rain's maturing process. A couple of books ago, Rain met a woman, unwillingly fell in love, and now finds out he has a son. The emotional impact of these developments have forced him to start wondering if it's even possible to live a different kind of life, out of the "business" he's worked at for so many years. But in order to leave that life and ensure his son's safety, many obstacles must be removed in the only way Rain knows.

Barry Eisler is a gifted writer who has created wonderfully believable characters and scrupulously researched stories. The locales he describes are so easy to visualize, I almost feel like I'm there while I'm reading. And his knowledge of spycraft is fascinating. He's made a cruelly efficient, paid assassin actually likable, a man the reader can relate to, despite the viciousness of his world.

Although each John Rain novel can be read as a stand-alone story, I do recommend starting with the first, RAIN FALL, and following with HARD RAIN, RAIN STORM, and KILLING RAIN. Each story is edge-of-the-seat reading, and seeing the evolution of John Rain from the beginning is very satisfying. I'm just hoping that the title, THE LAST ASSASSIN, isn't Barry Eisler's way of telling us he's taken John Rain as far as he can.
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