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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.Read more ›
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!!!
Most recent customer reviews
Another of Barry's well written Assassin series based in Japan. This is the second of John Rain's series. Really enjoyed the pase of this novel and detail to planning.Published 19 months ago by Robert J. Thompson
I am reviewing all the John Rain novels with the same commentary. Absolutely loved the series, the character John Rain, lots of action and it's a real, sorry for the cliche, page... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Blues4Fun
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 morePublished on Feb. 25 2012 by THOMAS B. MCCABE
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 morePublished on Sept. 6 2007 by NeuroSplicer
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 morePublished on July 15 2004 by Robert Wellen
This is much to recommend this book, and the true fans will
But, that said, the book is disturbing for a couple reasons. Read more
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 morePublished on April 26 2004 by Justin A. Nobody
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