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Hard Rain [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Barry Eisler , Dick Hill
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 10 2004 John Rain Series (Book 2)
John Rain - half-Japanese, half-American, raised in both countries but at home in neither - is trying to leave his life as a freelance assassin. After killing a CIA officer who hunted him halfway around the globe, Rain goes underground, hoping to find the peace that has eluded him. But then Tatsu, his old nemesis from the Japanese FBI, comes to him with one last job: to find and eliminate a killer at large, a creature with neither compassion nor compunction, whose activities could tip the balance of power in Japan's corrupt politics and who seems to have designs on Rain's few friends. To protect them, Rain will have to pursue his most dangerous quarry yet through the crosshairs of the CIA and the Japanese mafia, where the differences between friend and foe and truth and deceit are as murky as the rain-slicked streets of Tokyo.

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From Amazon

Barry Eisler's half-breed freelance assassin John Rain returns to Tokyo for a second outing in Hard Rain, the sequel to Eisler's stunning 2002 debut, Rain Fall. Once again Rain is working with, or at least parallel to, Tatsu, a wily veteran of Japan's FBI equivalent, who aims to cleanse the Japanese government of its systemic corruption. To further this goal, he's persuaded the ever-cautious Rain to take out Murakami, a brutal gangster and hitman who specializes in making his killings look like suicide, a specialty Rain thought was his alone. Liquidating the dangerous and elusive Murakami proves to be a difficult task, however, one that leads to personal loss for Rain, and sets the plot on course for a climax that hits with the power of a well-delivered roundhouse kick.

Eisler builds on Rain's self-enforced isolation and loneliness as he expertly shows the reader Tokyo as channeled by Chandler, transforming the burgeoning metropolis into a noir catacomb of dimly lit hostess bars, scheming bureaucrats, shadowy intelligence agents, and outlaw martial arts dojos where thugged-up yakuza train for illicit death matches.

While the plot becomes complicated toward the novel's conclusion, Rain is a refreshing and complex character whom readers will want to see return for another installment. If you've a yen for a thriller that mixes suspense, intrigue, and action with a Japanese flavor and a hardboiled American attitude, Eisler's Hard Rain is an excellent choice. --Benjamin Reese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Rain Fall (2002), Eisler's first book about Japanese-American Vietnam vet John Rain, a hired assassin for government agencies in Tokyo and Washington, worked so well that the author wisely decided to keep all the elements intact in this captivating follow-up. Once again, the nightscape of Tokyo is painted in beautifully dark tones, scored to the live jazz of the clubs where Rain drinks from a menu of expensive single malt whiskeys. Once again, Rain knows everything about the arts of killing and avoiding surveillance-from the sound a man's ribs make when he's crushed to death trying to lift too much weight to how to use a container of very hot tea to ruin a would-be pursuer's day. Once again Rain has to decide whether any of the people he's working for-the shrewd Tatsu, a veteran agent of Japan's FBI who seems to be dedicated to battling high-level corruption; various shady American CIA agents-are to be trusted. And once again, Rain realizes how alone he really is, despite the promise of love and companionship from a couple of very interesting women. "I had understood even as a child that to be half Japanese is to be half something else, and to be half something else is to be... chigatte. Chigatte, meaning `different,' but equally meaning `wrong.' The language, like the culture, makes no distinction." The plot itself is a complicated one about a CIA scheme called Crepuscular, designed to clean up-or possibly further corrupt-Japan's tangled mess of business and politics. Eisler acknowledges the help of experts in many areas, but it's his own impressive literary skills that make his John Rain such a fascinating, touching and wholly believable character.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The character stays with you... Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer
Like a good glass of wine, the character John Rain stayed with me after I finished the audiobook. Rain is an assassin with ethics and a highly developed sense of paranoia who specializes in natural-seeming kills and hand-to-hand engagements, and who seems to live only in hotels. The fight/kill scenes are exciting and intensely cinematic, and also seem very authentic. The Tokyo portrait is graphically, contextually beautiful. But what really intrigues me is the conflict between Rain's need for isolation that keeps him safe in a highly dangerous environment and the way he is drawn into emotionally connecting relationships that could kill him or his friends/lovers. I will definitely read Rain Fall (I wish it were out in audio) and look forward to the next sequel. I want to see how Eisler treats Rain's aging (Vietnam era) and future relationships. And hopefully there will be an equally strong female character who challenges him out of the safety zone of isolation for more than the length of a (well-written) sexual encounter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper and More complex than the original... Sept. 24 2003
Rain Fall ended with several loose ends around, "But if X and Y happened, wouldn't Z happen too?" There were several character holes, and a few logical consequences that needed to be followed.
Would the bad guys really believe John Rain's fake death? What would happen to Midori? Wasn't Harry traceable?
The book opens up more of John Rain's character, showing both his strenghts and some more obvious weaknesses. (Why can't spies like him not shag every girl they meet?) It also closes several loose ends hanging over from previous books. We learn more about John Rain's ruthlessness, as well as which rules he's willing to bend, and which not.
The plot gets complex near the end. You're left with enough "But what about this?" items to guarantee another episode. (At least I hope so!) If there's one downside of the book, perhaps a few of the supporting charachters (particularly in the CIA) were not as believable as I'd expect.
The equisite writing of Tokyo life continues to capture the reader. It'll introduce you in a very realistic way to one of the world's great cities. If you've been there, this should bring back some great memories.
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"Unpredictability is the key to being a hard target, but the concept applies to both time and place... Seriously protecting yourself calls for the annihilation of ties with society, ties that most people need the way they need oxygen. You give up friends, family, romance. You walk through the world like a ghost, detached from the living around you."
"I made a point of visiting some of the places near Osaka that I knew I would never see again... I supposed it was strange to feel the urge to say goodbye to any of this. After all, none of it had ever been mine. I had understood even as a child that to be half Japanese is to be half something else, and to be half something else is to be ... chigatte meaning "different," but equally meaning "wrong." The language, like the culture, makes no distinction."
Some authors create a fictional world, and then milk it for everything it is worth - but not Barry Eisler. In only his second novel, HARD RAIN, Eisler's interest lies in telling a tale of a character, not plot. Interestingly, plot is almost non-existent in HARD RAIN - which makes this novel that much better. HARD RAIN is more an examination of character, of society, of relationships, of the connections between people than the usual plot-driven thriller in which the characters move about duex ex machina.
Make no mistake, John Rain is a fully formed character: plagued by doubts, uncertainty, melancholy, even age in a world where he is an assassin with little forgiveness for others no matter how important each might be in his own life. (The novel's title assumes multiple meanings, shadings, intent.) There are many scenes (not enough, in my opinion) wherein John Rain thinks, recalls, reflects, becomes wistful, even regretful; all very Zen, existential... for a killer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rain's Return Delivers a Knockout! July 23 2003
By A Customer
Hard Rain is one of the best sequels I've read. In this gripping installment, author Barry Eisler has stepped into a league with the great action-story authors of our time. Assassin-protagonist John Rain is a character study in multiculturalism, psychology, and ideology who provides a rich structure from which to tell this story of corruption and redemption.
But Hard Rain is much more than an action-suspense story. Through John Rain's eyes, Eisler gives us a look at modern Japanese society, with a harsh commentary on the systemic maladies that have crippled the country for over a decade. Eisler's literary prowess weaves an obvious love for Japan's culture, society, and history, with a bitter rebuke of a bureaucracy more interested in self-aggrandizement than in serving the people who support it.
Hard Rain has something for just about everyone to love. Action, intrigue, mystery, passion, introspection, and political commentary are woven masterfully into a story that just keeps getting better. I highly recommend Hard Rain, and anxiously await Rain's next move! Read it and I know you'll agree!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting hero
hard rain is my first introduction to john rain and it isn,t bad. he is a killer who makes people,s deaths look natural. he has a code about his choices. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2012 by THOMAS B. MCCABE
5.0 out of 5 stars Eisler Rocks!
Boy,can this guy create a cool character! I liked his first book better,this one is a bit darker and slower, yet can't wait for more! Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2007 by NeuroSplicer
4.0 out of 5 stars Eisler is a fantastic writer...
This novel is not quite as strong as Rain Fall was, but the story is a good one. The stakes are high, but the payoff is a bit smaller. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Robert Wellen
3.0 out of 5 stars Part of series
This is much to recommend this book, and the true fans will
love it.
But, that said, the book is disturbing for a couple reasons. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by bill runyon
5.0 out of 5 stars Give me more RAIN books ASAP!
This one is impossible to put down! You will read it until the end and then wish there were more works by this author to put your hands on. Read more
Published on April 26 2004 by Justin A. Nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Rain by Barry Eisler
Hard Rain was an exciting and thrilling book which bested his debut book Rain Fall.
I was captivated by the storyline and was taken through a wild and adventureous journey as... Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by "rchcbnn"
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Rain - Outstanding followup in the ongoing Rain Saga
In most series, the first book in the series is the best. Not so here. Eisler delivers in Hard Rain a fantastic followup to his first book, Rain Fall! Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Masterpiece Thriller From Eisler
For everyone who read and loved Eisler's first novel, Rain Fall, this sequel surpasses all expectations. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Men
I've read both of Eisler's books, and the most enjoyable aspect for me has been his female characters. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2003 by Janelle McCuen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Ride
I loved Hard Rain! I'm neither a professional nor an amateur book reviewer, and I do not pretend to be. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003
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