©2003 Barry Eisler; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
This was my fourth or fifth Eisler novel, the first was narrated by Michael McConnohie who was excellent for the American voice of the subdued anti-hero of the Rain character. This narrator is (I think) Japanese and though not my favorite he was very credible. I offer this before talking about the book because the narrator's voice is 50% of the experience. The material no matter how good can easily be negated by the narrator. Thankfully this was not the case for this novel. It was good to learn the origins of the character and his supporting cast. I look forward to downloading the next book in the series, Rain Storm. I just viewed the movie "Rain Fall" and though there were many plot holes and a lot of reading of English subtitles I enjoyed seeing the character come to life. The plot holes were not holes to me because I had heard the book, thanks to Audible.
John Rain is an intelligent, introspective assassin, with a soft spot for women and kids. He spends a lot of time soul searching and normally I quickly get turned off by characters studying their navels, but Rain is so smart and the analogies he uses are so apt, that it remains captivating throughout the novel.
Eisler puts in so much accurate detail that the novel takes on a sense of docu-drama, rather than pure fiction.
Brian Nishii does an excellent job bringing Rain and Midori to life. His facility with the Japanese language adds to the authenticity of the novel and was my favorite narrator of the Rain series until I listened to The Detachment read by the author. I highly recommend that book as well, but caution you that it is down line in the series and unless you listen to the books in order you have a lot of gaps.
I really am disappointed that Brilliance Audio didn't stick with Nishii or Eisler for all the books. Some of the other narrators are frankly awful and it takes a while to make the mental shift necessary able to visualize the characters with those narrators harsh accents and affectations after listening to Nishii and Eisler's dead-on presentations.
Great book, great presentation, great characters.
Brian's facility with the Japanese language helps personalize Rain and Midori. You can visualize their Asian features and cultural customs when you listen to Brian's narration, unlike the other harsh American accents.
Note to Eisler and Brilliance - pick one narrator to read a series. It is plainly irritating to hear a character you have come to like suddenly take on a whole new voice.
I loved the reader! This is a fast paced story and Mr. Nishii's reading was spot on. His voice is contemplative and his accents perfect. I just wish he had read all of the John Rain stories.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Do you recall when you read your first Stieg Larsson? One of his "The Girl Who..." thrillers? And do you remember how potently he escorted you into the Swedish culture? How you felt as if you were feeling through a different prism? Well Barry Eisler did that for me this week as I listened to Brian Nishi's powerful interpretation of Eisler's tour through a Japanese prism. Everything works here... It's a thriller. It's a character study. A psychological study. It's a cultural study... It's worth every minute I spent and will stay with me just as powerfully as my travels with Stieg Larsson.
I'm off to find the next in the John Rain series... That's how strongly I recommend this book and this reader.
This book was a surprise. A very good surprise. I thought it was written with talent, this is one of those books I love, it takes you into the story, the action, the relationships. This author is not only familiar with the things and places he is writing about, he writes about them well. As an added bonus the narration is tremendous. I have already downloaded the next two stories in the series and am excited to get started with them. Highly recommeded.
This book was the first in the John Rain series. It sets the character but doesn't do it very well. There is abundant silliness in all thriller books but this one takes silliness to new heights. John Rain spends a great deal of time involved in counter survelliance to make sure no one follows him. Other than probably requiring him to spend 3-4 hours of extra time just to find a restroom, it doesn't seem to work. He and others in his life just keep getting followed. The later books in this series on Audible are much better and fill in the reader on the back story without requiring the reader to go back to the beginning. Save your credit and read Killing Rain or one of the other later books.
Long-time audiobook listener and enjoy sci-fi, thriller and crime noir. In non-fiction, I enjoy science, anthropology, history and religion.
Japanese assassin hero
Lawrence Block's Hit Man series, in terms of living inside the mind of a pro killer. But more like Richard K. Morgan's Broken Angels (and many others) in its hardcore cynical tone.
Excellent reader - perfect for the genre.
A killer hardened by Vietnam, CIA dirty work and many years of contract killing, but he still has an ethic - informed by his Japanese heritage - and does the right thing... If he can figure out what that is. Loved the underlying theme of comparing American culture and values to Japanese.
I'm not sure if I enjoyed Hard Rain.
I was hoping that John Rain's half-American, half-Japanese heritage would play more deeply into the story as well as provide interesting internal commentary. Sadly, his upbringing is only part of his back-story and doesn't greatly impact the story that is being told. The plot of the book has some international aspects, but all of the major developments occur within Japan, so there is no outlet for Rain's parentage to impact events.
John Rain is an ethical assassin, but he is not a moral hero. This makes Rain an interesting anti-hero. He is able to kill quickly, without the mercy or compassion that might dissuade other assassin heroes. He can and kill anyone he perceives as a threat even when he has no evidence that they are a threat. He can also kill wounded and disabled enemies whereas other heroes of the genre might show restraint.
Other parts of the story are pure convention, including a right-out-of-the-movies love scene that felt rushed and unnecessary. But Rain's commentary and the conflict kept the story moving and engaging.
Overall, I'm not sure what to think of Hard Rain. It didn't chase me off of the series, I plan to continue listening to the John Rain books because I like the character enough that I am curious about what happens to him. There is certainly enough there to keep me interested, I just hope that the future stories are as engaging as the character.
I am a very difficult person to please with "books on tape" - that said, Rain Fall was AWESOME. I actually drove to all sorts of places just so I could hear the story since I listen to the stories in my car.
The narrator is great and gives life to the story (some of the words are so complicated, thankfully Brian is Japanese!).
Barry Eisler is obviously very smart as the story is intriguing and well written. I can't wait to hear more of Barry's works.
The book had a great start. John Rain is an intriguing character and the info about modern Japanese culture was also very interesting. However, the book got so tedious at the end with too much explanation and not enough action. Lost interest and couldn't wait to get to the end.
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