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Hard Rain (2003)
by Barry Eisler
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451212460, Mass Market Paperback)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
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:37 -0400)
"In Hard Rain, Eisler's second novel, the lethal assassin John Rain is back. Half Japanese, half American, raised in both countries but at home in neither, Rain is trying to leave his life as a freelance assassin, but no one will just let him retire. With his military discipline and martial arts skills, and his talent for making death appear to have been of "natural causes, " he is a potential asset - and a threat - to everyone." "After killing a CIA officer who had hunted him halfway around the globe, Rain plans his own disappearance, hoping to find the peace that has eluded him. But then his old nemesis from the Japanese FBI comes to him asking for one last 'favor': find and eliminate a killer at large, a creature without compassion or conscience." "It's soon clear that it is not just Japan's fragile balance of political power that's threatened, but also the lives of Rain's few friends, including a love from his past. To protect them, Rain must pursue his quarry into the heart of a war between the CIA and the Japanese mafia, where the distinctions between friend and foe, truth and deceit, are as murky as the rain-slicked streets of Tokyo."--BOOK JACKET.
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