STORY (suspense) - John Rain is half Japanese and half American. He was part of American special missions in Vietnam and experienced the atrocities o..Show More »f war. Now he finds himself having painful flashbacks and is unable to adapt to normal life. He sees himself as a shark who must keep swimming...a man who must keep killing. John makes his living as an assassin who specializes in making victims look like they died naturally, and he is sought by those who want to hire him and those who want to stop him. He is a likeable guy, and he has scruples. (Yeah, I know, an assassin with scruples?) You will like John and root for him.
This story is set in Tokyo. John kills a man and then later meets his lovely daughter, Midori, who is a jazz pianist. He learns she is in danger and tries to protect her. They have a romantic relationship, but it plays a very small part in the story. There is quite a bit of action and intrigue, and the story is fast-paced. John is expert at surveillance and pretty bad a$$ at martial arts, and his assassinations are creative. I enjoyed "visiting" the streets of Tokyo and hearing bits of Japanese culture and language. And I loved the ending.
PERFORMANCE - Barry Eisler, the author, performs his own work and does a great job. His Japanese sounded fluent, but I'm not one to judge. He had the perfect voice for John. Midori sounded a little masculine, but I was still glad that he gave her a distinctive voice.
OVERALL - There is quite a bit of violence and cussing and a teeny bit of non-explicit sex. This is the first book in a series and the story stands alone. I probably won't continue the series further because it's not my particular cup of tea, but all the books are very highly rated. Recommended for adult listeners, especially guys.
Without a doubt! I have now relistened to all of the John Rain books. I really like this series a lot. I had previously listened to a couple of them ..Show More »by a different narrator and was not to impressed with the books but with Eisler narrating they are fantastic. I can not believe the difference. I had originally found them to drag but I do believe that was due totally to the narrator. These books really move right along at a fast pace. WOW!
Winner Take All was originally published as Rain Storm with Brian Nishi narrating. I listened to Rain Storm three years ago and rated it 4 stars, but..Show More » did nor write a review. With Barry Eisler, the author, doing the narration (and also retitling the novel) it is a much better listening experience. Winner Take All is a solid 5 star John Rain novel with Eisler doing the narration. Eisler now narrates all of his own books.
I've tried the John Rain books before and wasn't a big fan, but then I tried the Ben Treven series and wanted more (there are only two so far). So, I ..Show More »went back to John Rain now that Barry Eisler is narrating them - WOW! What a difference. I'm now on a marathon and Love this series. I guess the reader really does make all the difference. This was such a good book. Great story, easy to follow and fast paced. Can't get over the difference, last Rain book I listened to I thought was boring, I'm relistening now and want them all.
In 2012 and 2013 Barry Eisler republished the first six novels in his John Rain series with new titles. Extermis, John Rain Book 5, was originally ti..Show More »tled The Last Assassin.
Extremis is one of Eisler's best novels and is a auperb action thriller. It is filled with action and suspense. It also shows more than any other book in the series the humanity and the emotional side of John Rain. I love this book and recommend it without qualification. Earlier books in the series provide some helpful background on Rain, Dox, Madori, Dalilah, ,and other characters, but Extremis provides sufficient background that reading the earlier books in the series is unnecessary.
When Eisler retitled the books, he also changed the narrator of the audiobooks to himself, an excellent improvement.
Eisler is a big name author of thrillers. He and other authors including J. A. (Joe) Konrath were leaders in the movement toward self publishing. All lovers of reading owe them a debt of gratitude for reducing the cost of books at retail. Previously unknown authors who could not get published, such as the superb British author Mark Dawson, owe them an even larger debt. Thank you Barry!
In this book Dox made it really great! His character is so humorous. I love the sense of humor attributed to him. Even through his brutal interrogati..Show More »on he maintains his sarcastic and cutting remarks. I truly hope there are no plans to kill him off anytime soon, he is a great addition to this series.
Fast pace book which is read by the author. Loved the book. Love the author.
I did rate the peformance with 4 stars to indicate that he ..Show More »is not really professional reader. He performs many of the characters very well but a few of them it gets confusing which character is speaking. I might also say I graded very hard...
This is a continuation of the John Rain character which started in the book Rain Fall. This book stands on it's own, but I recommend that your start with the first book.
I was a little ... hrm ... hesitant about this book when I learned that it was a back-story book instead of a chronologically "next" in the series boo..Show More »k. That seems to be kind of a theme with some of my favorite authors at the moment - going back to a time before the main character in a well established series has fully become the character that I as the reader have become attached to. It is an interesting idea, but one that I think has a lot of potential for disaster, so yeah ... a little trepidation going into this book.
Having said all of that, I LOVED this book. I liked the fact that it was presented as the current incarnation of Rain sharing reflections on his past rather than actually lifting the reader out of the established time-line and completely relocating them into the past. Some of the reflective asides made by Rain during the telling were quite amusing. "I was hard in about zero point two seconds. Yeah, 20 years old."
The first time I picked up a John Rain/Barry Eisler book it was because I was curious to see how an author would go about having a hired murderer as a sympathetic protagonist. I was hooked from that first book, and if I hadn't already been sold on the idea, with Graveyard of Memories I am absolutely sold on the idea of assassin as sympathetic protagonist.
Not only did Graveyard of Memories serve to flesh out an established and already well-loved character, but it was a good story all on it's own. I always enjoy the particular recipe that Barry Eisler has for blending the setting, the action, the characters and the intrigue. This book did not disappoint. The action sequences were exciting, the machinations of the antagonists convoluted, the romantic tension alluring, the cast of characters engaging and the journey from chapter one through the end of the book compelling.
I am so glad that Barry Eisler has decided to narrate his own books. I have completely fallen in love with his voice. After listening to Graveyard of Memories, I find myself wanting to go back and re-listen to the rest of the series again - only this time with the Barry Eisler narrations instead of the original studio hired narrations. He displays all of my favorite qualities of a narrator. He has good pacing, distinct voices, including accents, and is emotive without being over the top and obnoxious or dragging the listener from the story. I'd listen to *anything* Barry Eisler should choose to narrate, but it is particularly compelling knowing that he is breathing audible life into his own creations.
If you are a fan of the series, this book will not disappoint. If you haven't yet tried the series you should start at book 1, but this isn't a terrible place to begin either. It would work as a stand alone story and would not ruin or spoil any of the previous books should you then decide to pursue them.
Overall I definitely think that this book is and was well worth the credit.