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Rain Fall (John Rain Book 1) by Barry Eisler
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Rain Fall (John Rain Book 1) (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Barry Eisler

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910239,662 (3.8)28
Member:yrizaria
Title:Rain Fall (John Rain Book 1)
Authors:Barry Eisler
Info:Signet (2003), Edition: First, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:crime

Work details

Rain Fall by Barry Eisler (2002)

  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 28 mentions

English (22)  Dutch (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
A pretty good mystery & thriller, although there's a bit too much angst for me. Reminds me of [a:David Morrell|12535|David Morrell|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1218135781p2/12535.jpg]'s characters a lot in that way. Good, but not inhumanely so. Rain gets his ass handed to him occasionally & there's nothing magical about his situations or solutions. Good logic. There weren't any of the huge plot holes that so often accompany books of this sort. Also, it's the start of a pretty good series. I actually read the 3d book first & didn't have any trouble going back to this one or enjoying that one. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
WELL DESCRIBED AND ABOVE AVERAGE SPY NOVEL:
MORE LIKE ***1/2, but bumped up due to Mr. Eisler's research (or "experiences" as it may be).

I'm a huge Ian Fleming fan, and have read all of the Bond novels, but found some passages very dated (overall they are DEFINITELY classics, though). This led me to seek out a current-gen spy writer and check out what I may find. Since I worked at a large chain bookseller, I had the opportunity to explore the store and came across the John Rain series by Mr. Eisler.

Rain Fall is about a half-Japanese / half-American spy named John Rain who cut his teeth while serving in Vietnam. After he left the armed forces, he ended up in Japan as a hitman-for-hire. He was not just a man killing marks out in the open, or one that left behind forensic evidence, Rain could kill and make it APPEAR like an accident.

The story is a good one (no spoilers here), but one that is nothing new. There are twists and turns, and many characters who we THINK are in cahoots with "the bad guys" (ironic considering Rain is also a killer), and they may or may not be.

The main characters are Rains cohort Harry, a hot jazz pianist Midori (who is on the cusp of superstardom), his Nam buddy "Crazy Jake", local Japanese agent Tatsu, Forbes reporter Franklin Bulfinch, past acquaintance Bill Holtzer, possible enemy Toshi Yamaoto, and others.

He does a good job of filling out these characters considering the novel's only 366 pages. I'm happy it's only this long, because it makes for a quick read, and I found the middle of the book a little slow.

I really enjoyed the setting of the novel, as Mr. Eisler does a great job of describing the murky streets of Japan, as well as the smoky interiors. I'm a huge music fan as well (more rock than jazz), and found the story of Midori one that kept my attention.

Of course, the main character Rain has been filled out well, too. Maybe too well...I wonder what I'll learn about him in future books, and thought that maybe Mr. Eisler should have kept some of his past for future novels.

Overall, this is a quick read, and easy to understand. If I had to describe this book to someone I would say it's kind of like the movies 'The Specialist' 'The Spy Who Loved Me' 'Lethal Weapon'. All good movies, I would say.

Minor spoiler thought: At the beginning of the novel, we see how Rain is the consummate professional by his thoughts and hitman protocol, so why would he make so many dumb decisions pertaining to Midori???
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
(Audible download) According to the author's website, Eisler has a black belt (it shows in the books, Rain's fights are described in loving detail by judo and karate movement name), worked for the CIA (and must not like most of them, for , in this first of the series at least, the CIA does not come off well) and worked in Japan for several years (and has high respect for Japanese customs.)

One always feels guilty reading (listening, actually) to a book like this for the hero is just about as anti-social as one gets. Rain is half Japanese/half American with a seemingly sordid past as a special operations group member in Vietnam. Haunted by what he had to do there, he has become a specialist in making people die from natural causes. Most are politicians or bankers or a person who someone else has determined must die, and Rain does it really well. It's really hard to discuss any of the plot of this book without stumbling through numerous plot spoilers. Rain has been burned so many times by the traditional forces of "good" that he has been forced to adopt his own code of morality and live in the shadows. Nothing, nothing, is as it seems and Rain learns he has been manipulated again by those he had come to despise.

I suggest, if possible, reading this one first in the series, as it sets the stage for Rain later. Read brilliantly by Brian Nishii. The Japanese names just roll off his tongue and make it even more authentic. There's nothing worse than a reader who doesn't pronounce names correctly. I once heard Dick Hill, otherwise one of my favorite readers, pronounce Schuylkill River as "skykill" instead of "schoolkill" which as anyone who has been within 400 miles of Philadelphia knows is the native way to pronounce it. Drove me crazy the entire book.

I've heard some people use Eisler's view of Japan to assume that the LDP is as corrupt as Eisler suggests and that one can learn about Japanese society from reading the Rain titles. Although I know virtually nothing about Japan, my natural skepticism would suggest being careful in drawing such conclusions. My only criticism would be that Rain's ability to take on 3 or 4 antagonists at once, beating them all, buggers the imagination. Then again, it's fiction. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Another series I’ve heard about, but never read. This one features an assassin with a soul and is set in Japan. Recently Eisler regained his publishing rights and has retitled the books to be more in line with what he wants rather than the publisher. Latching onto the last name of our hero (?), they’ve all got Rain in their titles and Eisler never really liked that so he changed them. Good deal for him. I wonder if John Sandford is sick of the Prey thing? Since neither the Flowers nor the Kidd novels follow the same kind of pattern, I bet he is.

Anyway, I mostly liked this one, but it seemed a bit convoluted for convoluted’s sake. Lots of hidden motives, agendas and personalities. Also Rain seems to have a lot of baggage that is constantly seeing the light of day. Most of what we’re told feels like it’s coming from a psychiatrist’s couch session. Rain seems to be very aware of what his Vietnam experience has done to him. He’s conflicted about what he does, but only up to a point, the point where he justifies it all. “All the things I’d done made sense in the war, they were justified by war, I couldn’t live with them outside of war. So I needed to stay at war.”

Neat, that. So it made it all the more ironic when Rain is confronted with evidence that he’s been played his whole life, starting with his actions in the war. He thought he was receiving orders from one place, only to find out they came from another. This carried over into his assassin work and his realization that he was set up and used over and over again, was a big blow to his ego. He thought he was in control of his own actions and destiny; a rogue who can pick and choose his missions, but he was just another tool for the manipulators of the machine. Both sides got him to do what they wanted and he had no idea.

Dissolution came hard. It’s a long fall from that high horse. Rain bears it all tolerably well and I think that despite some whining, his psyche is basically teflon-coated so I don’t expect much of it to stick. If I do read more of the series, I don’t expect Rain to get hung up on the finer points of right and wrong too much. He’s an expert in justifying his actions to himself and since he’s already done so much outside of the rules, what’s a little more?

The setting, while interesting, got to be distracting simply because of its unfamiliarity. Slang, settings and place-names all needed me to think about them instead of the story. Someone more familiar with Tokyo wouldn’t have this problem. Rain’s character had some distinct elements to it, but of course he fights like Bruce Lee, screws like Don Juan and drinks like Carraway. The romance angle was nice, but doomed from the start so I didn’t get too invested in it. ( )
  Bookmarque | May 7, 2013 |
"All the things I'd done made sense in war, they were justified by war, I could't live with them outside of war. So I needed to stay at war." This is one of my favorite quotes from this thriller, as the protagonist tries to describe his difficulty making peace with his past. He is half Japanese and half American and fully accepted by neither group. The author makes you feel that you are in Tokyo with his descriptions of scenery and cultural behavior. It's a good story about political intrigue and interaction between government agencies within countries as well as with agencies of other countries. I could have done without so much description of judo moves personally, but if that's your thing, you'll get plenty of it. I plan to read more of this series. ( )
  mkboylan | Apr 18, 2013 |
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Nishii, BrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First John Rain story.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 045120915X, Mass Market Paperback)

John Rain, a Japanese American konketsu, or half-breed, learned his lethal trade as a member of the U.S. Special Forces. Although tortured by memories of atrocities he committed in Vietnam, he has become a paid assassin, a solitary man who lives in the shadows and trusts no one, even those who pay extraordinary sums for his ability to make murder look like natural death. But the aftermath of an otherwise routine hit on a government bureaucrat brings Rain to the attention of two men he knows from the old days in Vietnam: a friend who's now a Tokyo cop and an enemy who betrayed Rain long ago and is now the CIA's station chief in Japan. Like the gangster who hired Rain to kill Yasuhiro Kawamura, they want something the dead man had--a computer disk containing proof of high-level corruption, information that could destroy Japan's ruling political coalition. The search for the disk leads them to a woman Rain has come to love, a talented young jazz musician who also happens to be Kawamura's daughter. In this taut, brilliantly paced debut thriller, set in a vividly rendered Tokyo, the author manages an unlikely feat; he earns the reader's sympathy and concern for his protagonist, an amoral assassin who is one of most compelling characters in recent crime fiction. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Half American, half Japanese, John Rain is based in Tokyo -- where he kills people for a living. But he won't kill just anyone. And never a woman. Rain may not be a good man, but he's good at what he does -- until he falls for the beautiful daughter of his last kill.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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