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.
Barry Eisler deserves an award for the subplot in this book. Being the parent of physically disabled daughters I was blown away by his interpretation and insight into the difficulties and obstacles (environmental and human) that block the lives of those with disabilities. I was also very impressed with him for having John Rain fall in love with her and go out of his way to convince her that there was nothing wrong with her and show her that she was still desirable. The main plot for me was almost secondary, and I do not read chic lit! I will say though that the thriller part of this story was fantastic as well. I liked the way it was written in the first person, as a mature adult reflecting on his life.
The first love scene between Rain and Sayaka AND the scene where Rain dressed as a monk revealed to his CIA contact that he was indeed still alive. But I think the one I will never forget was when he was stealing the body from the morgue and had to hide while a hospital employee came in for their own rather sick pleasures. Afterwards he thinks to himself that he was glad he only had to hear it and not see otherwise he would have had to bleach his eyes. I have never laughed so hard while listening to a book.
PERFECT! Don't know how he would be with another author's work but he reads his own flawlessly. I'm a fan!
Young John Rain
Seeing his young self through the eyes of the much older Rain.
Killing the CIA guy
I read all of Barry Eisler Books, this is definitely up there in terms of interest, violence and story. I enjoyed it very much and finished in two days. Keep them coming.
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.
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.
I enjoyed learning some of Rain 's history I have really enjoyed the series and hope for more in the series
Did you wonder how John earned his reputation? This story is essential to understanding how a 20 year old vet turned into the assassin he ultimately was. It shows how his sense of "reason" was formed and how his mentor guided him even when he was not living in Japan. A very good book.
Life is too short to skip a great story, and ice cream.
This is my first book by Barry Eisler, and I am glad I read and listened to this first, even though it is the 8th book in the John Rain series. The book introduces the young protagonist John Rain; the story took place in Japan, where lots of new terms, places and culture are clearly but not tediously explained.
The writing is smooth, characters are well developed and all loose ends are tied nicely. Can be read as a stand-alone book all by itself. I feel that it is a good intro to the series. The story is interesting enough to grab my attention from Chapter1 with actions, contemporary espionage and a just-enough-love story. A good narration from the author himself helped to boost a wonderful listening experience. Looking forward to the rest of the series!
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.
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.
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