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A Clean Kill in Tokyo by Barry Eisler
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A Clean Kill in Tokyo (2002)

by Barry Eisler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: John Rain (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1583411,665 (3.79)41
Previously published as Rain Fall Name: John Rain.Vocation: Assassin.Specialty: Natural Causes.Base of operations: Tokyo.Availability: Worldwide. Half American, half Japanese, expert in both worlds but at home in neither, John Rain is the best killer money can buy. You tell him who. You tell him where. He doesn't care about why... Until he gets involved with Midori Kawamura, a beautiful jazz pianist--and the daughter of his latest kill. "Eisler provides a cracklingly good yarn, well written, deftly plotted, and surprisingly appealing...Thomas Perry and Lawrence Block need not retire their hit men quite yet, but Eisler is clearly a challenger." --Boston Globe… (more)
Recently added bySerrana, jose0122, ker95tx, Carmelreader, stevemaynard, MikeFinnFiction, private library, vestak78
  1. 10
    Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: John Rain is a hero who is similar in many ways to Jack Reacher. A man of action and of few words, deep, lonely (even if he doesn't realize it). Rain is perhaps more morally ambiguous than Reacher; both kill without hesitation and little remorse, but Rain is, after all, an assassin, and gets paid to do so.… (more)
  2. 00
    Lost Light by Michael Connelly (Jestak)
  3. 00
    Killing Floor by Lee Child (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Lee Child's series starring Reacher starts with Killing Floor. If you like Rain's no-nonsense doing of whatever job it is that needs to be done, you'll probably like Child's series too.
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» See also 41 mentions

English (33)  Dutch (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Barry Eisler recently reacquired the rights to his John Rain novels, gave them new titles and new covers and personally narrated new audiobook versions.

I was intrigued and decided to try the first book "A Clean Kill In Tokyo" which was published in 2002 as "Rain Fall".

It was a fun read all the way through, not least because Barry Eisler turns our to be an excellent narrator.

John Rain is a Tokyo-based assassin, who specialises in making it seem as if the men he kills die of natural causes. Rain had a Japanese father and a white American mother, was raised in both countries and is fully at home in neither. He lives an affluent but disconnected life, built on killing for money.

In this novel, he's the hero. That's not a role he has much experience of. He takes it on reluctantly and it doesn't entirely fit him. Even as a hero, his kill-rate is very high and causes him not a moments disquiet.

The foot-in-two-worlds aspects of the book are well executed and gave me an intersting blend of the familiar and the exotic..Tokyo becomes almost a character in the book. It's described the way someone who lives there would see it, with its peculiarities taken for granted. The tourist map of Tokyo has been overwritten by one that stresses the places that are important to John Rain: Jazz Clubs. Whiskey Bars and the intricate subway network that he uses to elude those trying to follow him.

The plot is a mixture of backstory, explaining how John came to be the killer he now is, and a protect-the-brave-independent-but-vulnerable-damsel-in-distress theme that's given a twist by the fact the Rain killed her father.

There is political intrigue, espionage, crime, corruption and lots and lots of fight scenes featuring martial arts, street fighting, knives, staves and guns.

I'm hooked now. Fortunately, there are eight John Rain books in print with a ninth coming out in July, so I expect them to become a regularly source of entertainment this year. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
Interesting story with enough twists along the way to keep me hanging in there through the at times wall-of-black descriptions. I felt Barry was trying too hard to show off his knowledge of Tokyo and all things Japanese, including overuse of Japanese long after it was no longer necessary to establish the setting. The assassin's dilemma, cliche as it may be, did ratchet up the tension considerably. Complex ending with lots of twists compensated for at times long, expository dialogue. ( )
  WolfORourc | Jun 6, 2019 |
More of a 3.5. Good but not overly engaging for me, perhaps I need to look at #2 of series (obviously a lot of folks like this series)it just didn't click.
I did like the not-set-in-America factor, though our hero is 'Merican, and his specialty... nice... the jazz clubs. Much is very clever, the author did a fine job.
( )
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
I liked this book and I think I will read more from this series. I like John Rain, despite his harsh occupation, if you can call it that and despite his flaws. He carries a lot of baggage from Vietnam and CIA but he carries it well. He's a tough cookie and he has to be. I enjoy the techniques he uses to avoid detection and being aware is a lesson for all of us. The story was developed very well and the setting of Japan adds to the intrigue, since I'm completely unfamiliar with that locale. Very enjoyable. ( )
  bcrowl399 | Feb 7, 2018 |
Eisler is apparently a former CIA operative
and Silicon Valley lawyer. He also writes thrillers. This book is about
John Rain, who is similar to Jason Bourne, a highly trained assassin.
Rain is half Japanese and half American and lived in both worlds. He is
a former Vietnam War commando. He is haunted by his past and by
his present. He does murder for hire and his murders look like natural
or accidental deaths. All or almost all of the action takes places in
Tokyo and Eisler does a super job of describing the city, the customs,
the attitude. It is a fast paced thriller with plenty of fights and intrigue. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barry Eislerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nishii, BrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This novel is for three people who are not here to read it.

For my father, Edgar, who gave me strength.
For my mother, Barbara, who gave me insight.
For my brother, Ian, who helped me climb the mountain,
whose memory keeps me climbing still.
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Harry cut through the morning rush-hour crowd like a shark fin through water.
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First John Rain story.
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