What makes a legendary assassin? For John Rain, it was the lessons of love, war, and betrayal he learned in Tokyo in 1972.
Fresh from the killing fields of Southeast Asia, Rain works as a bagman under the watchful eye of his CIA handler, delivering cash to corrupt elements of the Japanese government. But when a delivery goes violently wrong, Rain finds himself in the crosshairs of Japan’s most powerful yakuza clan. To survive, Rain strikes a desperate deal with his handler: take out a high-profile target in the Japanese government in exchange for the intel he needs to eliminate his would-be executioners.
As Rain plays cat and mouse with the yakuza and struggles to learn his new role as contract killer, he also becomes entangled with Sayaka, a tough, beautiful ethnic Korean woman confined to a wheelchair. But the demands of his dark work are at odds with the longings of his heart - and with Sayaka’s life in the balance, Rain will have to make a terrible choice.
©2014 Barry Eisler (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Use books for escape- typically avoid nonfiction. Enjoy action-romance, espionage/military, sci-fi. Skilled writing is most important.
Eisler writes “Memories” from John Rain’s view point, explaining his fall into assassination as a profession. After the Vietnam war, Rain stays in Asia, living in Tokyo without belonging or meaning; but, for a 20 year-old lacking education, he lives comfortably. Not having yet developed his calculated constraint seen in previous books, Rain reacts rashly to three punks and accidentally kills a relative of a powerful clan. Rain’s lack of experience and relative naiveté are challenges he needs to overcome to stay alive and turn the tables on a growing list of enemies, including the Japanese government and his own employer. While in hiding, Rain becomes romantically involved with a Korean woman, whom he unwittingly places in danger. As the publisher’s summary says, Rain learns, “lessons of love, war, and betrayal.”
As always, Eisler’s descriptions of Tokyo are vivid without unnecessary details or wordy descriptions. It brings together so many elements of good storytelling and good writing that I am grateful to another listener for highly recommending Barry Eisler’s books.
This series reminds me of Child’s Jack Reacher series. I like Child’s writing, but I do not understand the reason for the Reacher series’ success over that of the Rain series. Perhaps the Rain series’ isn’t appreciated as much because its premise is assassination; or, perhaps its fuzzy distinction between good and evil is unappealing; or, perhaps unlike Reacher, Rain’s remoteness is not a choice, rather a result of childhood experiences as a Japanese-American. All of which are pluses for me. Also, Eisler’s character development is deeper; the scenery is much richer and more exotic; its research is extensive; and, the plots are drawn from espionage and current events.
Eisler narrates this himself – and does so excellently.
Overall, I highly recommend this series.
This is the prequel to the other seven John Rain tales. This novel is similar in pace and tone to the earlier Rain novels, seems that Eisler reveals much of his own personal experience in this novel which made the story very realistic and intimate, and we thank the author for sharing of himself and for his hard work in both writing and narration and look forward to his future novels.
Say something about yourself!
I bought John Rain Book 5 it was great. Return to buy more and this is one of the books in my personal marathon. I have thoroughly enjoyed these stories. Wonderfully suspenseful, surprising. Interesting and captivating. Thank you.....You are a wonderful narrator.
Ears picking up the slack so my eyes can work.
Obviously if you are just coming to Eisler and John Rain books, DO NOT START HERE. Technically there might be some attraction to advising somebody to start here since it is a flashback book for Rain. But DO NOT.
Graveyard turned out to be a really fun listen, don’t misunderstand. In fact, I loved a lot about it. Being disabled, I particularly appreciated the very unusual choice of love interest for Rain and the natural way he portrayed her without also making her a saint or going the other way and making her bitter. From experience, I can tell you movies and books almost never get it right and it makes life harder because a guy like me I’m constantly having to deal with misconceptions, many of which aren’t easy to bring up. So usually things aren’t mentioned and it goes nowhere because in movies wheelchairs guys are always eunuchs (more or less) whose wives have to take care of them like a man-baby. Most people think that stuff is always true and that I break easily and that I should hope to meet a girl who is also in a wheelchair to, I guess, indulge and “complete” the other’s misery, haha. I wish I could say I never understood what people are thinking (because they sometimes cluelessly tell me this stuff as if they’re being supportive) but I understand it all too well. It’s like Donald Duck has Daisy Duck and Mickey has Minnie. Something like that. It takes rare courage for a normal person to be with a disabled person, if not just for whatever stigma there is and whatever disapproval friends and family will offer -- as they will. It was neat seeing John Rain having that kind of courage. Anyway. (Sorry for the personal rant! haha.)
I’m a big Jack Reacher reader and I am always dismayed when Lee Child writes one of his flashback stories. I really don’t care about Reacher before he was awesome, you know? And the same goes for Rain. BUT. Eisler did something neat in this book. He pulls a Year One kind of deal (or if you’re just a movie fan he pulls a Batman Begins).
What I love about Eisler’s writing is the trade craft. Process. And this book eventually shows how John Rain not only goes from bagman to the killer we know and love. Eisler also shows us how Rain developed his “natural causes” calling card. It may not sound like a lot, but it could have easily gone wrong and damaged the John Rain brand. Sometimes you just allow people to believe in the Jedi rather than try and explain the Jedi and inadvertently reveal that the whole thing makes no sense at all. When you think about it, taking one book and moving Rain from Vietnam vet to contract killer is something that could have taken up twice the amount of story than it did. At least for me (I’m an amateur writer).
So for that, I have nothing but respect for Eisler with this book. It was also nice to be with Tots again. Get back into the feel of the early Rain books. I actually LOVE The Detachment. I love Dox. I look forward to seeing the Detachment characters in Rain’s future. it was nice visiting the early format characters.
The reason I gave this book a relatively low rating is while I appreciated all that stuff, I didn’t really care all that much. I would have appreciated the good just as much as a piece of another book rather than being a piece in this book. I might have cared more had Rain been even more different than he was as a younger man, like if he gravitated towards wanting to have friends and found he couldn’t. As it was, he only had to overcome a little anger and stupidity, so there wasn’t all that much tension or difference to regular John Rain, whose stories usually depend on the same instances of stupidity and self reproach anyway.
I thoroughly enjoyed this listen. I've listened to and enjoyed the other books in this series. This is a bit different because older John Rain is telling you about his earlier years and how he got into "the life." The older Rain points out ways the young Rain is not as observant or thoughtful of things that he is now. He also tells the reader about a woman with whom he fell in love and the things he learned from her that would be important later.
Wow! Where do I even start?
Fantastically written. ✔️
Engaging plot. ✔️
Characters with depth. ✔️
Fabulous performance. ✔️
An abundance of hard core, gruesome, in your face, shut your mouth, holy painful arm break action. ✔️
All the things that make a story engaging and worth the read!
The Love Story:
💫Sayaka is not model perfect, but is still beautiful to John.
💫You know the exact moment they fall in love with one another...it's not the sex, it's not shallow, it's a moment that would mean nothing to anyone else but them.
That's how a beautiful love story is written. And the development of that love was scary, fun, and sweet.
It was amazing to see the people, the mistakes & the decisions John came across and made at age 20 that helped him become the assassin he became today.
This story is how I had hoped Mitch Rapp's story of his beginnings would have been.
The Overall Story:
Just amazing! It felt as though I was sitting back listening to a friend man tell me the story of his life. A wonderful work of art Mr. Eisler. Thank you 🌺
Another fun John Rain Story but this one takes place when he is 20 and just out of Vietnam. This book is a good stand alone to the series. I didn't like it as much as his others because the character being "young" didn't have much depth, didn't have any special tools, tech, or cool partners and such but it was still a lot of fun.
As always the character kills a bit to easily and often. You want to like him because he is not evil but his rush to kill to solve problems often eliminates "good guys" or civilians that make you feel the opposite. Barry Eisler makes it all feel to real plus he makes you afraid of the people that are supposed to be protecting us. Mr. Eisler does such a good job that he should be brought into questioning every time there is a unsolved murder in his vicinity.
Barry is also a great reader for his books. Great addition to his collection.
I enjoy the unabridged audio.
John Rain. Character is described in realistic situations for the type of employ.
Yes. One of the few to successfully write and narrate in character that's fits both
John Rain, problem solver
Author does great job!
In this prequel, we get to meet the young John Rain, and learn how he got his start. In many ways, this is the most likeable Rain, before the physical and mental wear and tear. Eisler's read is nuanced and more enjoyable given that he literally put the words in the character's mouths.
Probably the best Eisler yet, and a great place to get acquainted with him and Rain if you haven't had the pleasure before.
I have listened to or read all of these books and I honestly think that this one was the best as it had, it seems to me, more character development than many of the previous books. I have enjoyed them all but damn if this one didn't hit me hard. I listen to music because of how it makes me feel, hell because it makes me feel. This book felt good and was definitely a good listen. Thank you Mr. Eisler.
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