HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Rain Fall by Barry Eisler
Loading...

Rain Fall (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Barry Eisler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8832410,139 (3.78)28
debra_hamel's review
All member reviews
English (23)  Dutch (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 23 of 23
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 |
I liked this book but thought it was a little slow moving for a suspense/thriller novel. When there was action, it was exciting and I liked the twists and turns on the political side. But there may have been too much about Tokyo architecture and which train John Rain was on. I'm hoping this is just a little bit of first book-itis because with a tighter plot I would have liked this one a lot. ( )
  CCleveland | Nov 27, 2013 |
(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 |
I started this because I was looking for an author that was a)similar to Lee Child and b)not someone who seemed to be drifting too far to the right. It turned out that this was a hit on both levels. As with Lee Child and Robert Ludlum, Eisler does not present his heroes as protecting the government and this is much more appealing to me. This most likely just mirrors my personal feeling in regards to the use of force in support of governmental institutions. I don't particularly like the idea of supporting a character who is an assassin, like John Rain, however I find it tolerable when the character is not driven by ideology. My intention is not for this to be a political statement but merely to try and pinpoint some of the reason I enjoyed this book.

In terms of writing the book flows very well though it is largely predictable. There was a recent article that showed that people enjoy books more when they know the ending and it definitely did not hinder my enjoyment here. I'm not sure you want to read this kind of book too many times in a row but it is an excellent example of this type of book. Some people have disliked the amount that the story is impacted by the location (Tokyo). I really do think the setting is vital and it is a compelling addition from my perspective. Overall I just highly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to most people who have enjoyed the character Jack Reacher or the books of Robert Ludlum.
1 vote bas615 | Aug 18, 2011 |
Excellent read. John Rain is a half American, half Japanese killer for hire with a soul. Eisler gets high marks for maintaining suspense, creating believable, multidimensional characters, and writing in clear, fluid prose. Also, as a bonus, the book teaches much about Tokyo and Japanese culture. ( )
  gvmcgowan | May 30, 2011 |
John Rain lives a sequestered life as personal assassin. Having served in special forces in VietNam, he has honed skills to be effective to the point that the "assignments" he has are made to look natural. He is also of dual nationality. He was born of an American mother and a Japanese father. His latest assignment is to kill a Japanese government official. By chance he ends up meeting the man's daughter, a jazz pianist. Suddenly, he finds that she and he are in danger as forces behind the scenes feel that the daughter has soemthing they need and will do anything to get it.. (Interesting locale...Japan) ( )
  creighley | Dec 12, 2010 |
Here's a story of a man of two-worlds an ex-special operations group soldier, ex-mercenary and now freelance assassin.

One of those no questions about who hires him types as long as it is no women, children or underlings are his rules.

Making a hit look like a heart attack on a middle aged bureaucrat leads him deep into the world of Japanese corruption where the yakuza is deeply enmeshed in the construction industry, and a puppet master with a J Edgar Hoover type information resource pulls the strings.

He discovers the murdered man has a daughter - an up and coming jazz star - and now they want him to kill her. Which makes him the opposition.

A very smooth novel, and I suppose if you liked the movie Black Rain you might well enjoy this.

The assassin is given more of an outsider rule because his mother was American - so picked on in whichever country he lived on. The Japanese of course being worse, as they are more insular and racist and xenophobic than the Americans.

I don't like jazz at all, so this part was well handled as it didn't annoy me.

Our assassin draws the line at killing jazz prodigy babes, and becomes the opposition.

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2010/11/rain-fall-barry-eisler/ ( )
  BlueTysonSS | Nov 7, 2010 |
Now I understand why so many people compare John Rain to Lee Child's Jack Reacher character. They both have a larger-than-life persona and are both thoughtful fighting men. But the comparison gets stretched thin after that. Rain is an ex-Vietnam war Special Forces assassin, not any sort of ex-law enforcement. Rain is also a more conflicted character. It is, however, easy to say that if you like the Reacher novels you are likely to enjoy Rain Fall.

Eisler does a great job of getting us to sympathize and care about a character we should be loathing based on what he does for a living. He is driven hard by what happened to Rain in the past and the details are fed to us gradually. People die around Rain and he doesn't always want it to happen.

Descriptions of Japan, and especially Tokyo, are superb. I can't vouch for their authenticity since I never travelled there but Eisler made me feel like I did.

The hand-to-hand combat scenes were mostly well done. They had an authentic feel to them and Rain is not superman. Even Rain's Vietnam background felt authentic in matching non-fiction I read about the very start of US Special Forces and their role in the pre-war and war.

Eisler uses many poetic turns of phrase in describing the city. I had to slow down and parse or chew on some of these but I enjoyed them all. I also had to look a few words up, despite thinking I have a good vocabulary. That's not a complaint, just a weakness of mine, lol. Eisler's prose was excellent.

I had a handful of complaints, mostly about Rain's lack of awareness or preparation in just a few situations versus the studied awareness he otherwise carries with him. This, along with some cliche or predictable plotting, lowers my rating from what might have been a five star book.

I'm really not buying the plot element of a disk of data that can be read by any PC's disk reader (to see some encrypted data) but can't be copied by a good hacker.

In summary, I can't wait to read the next book in the series! ( )
  Penforhire | Nov 4, 2010 |
It's a nicely paced, slightly foreign, action book with a bit of (Japanese) political intrigue. The author slips in a lot of details about Japanese life and language but this does not overwhelm - my eyes didn't glaze over even once while reading.

I picked it up while looking for a character similar to Jack Reacher and it's pretty close - though the guy is an assassin rather than a vigilante, and he starts out killing for money rather than for honor, but... he kicks butt and can escape even when the odds are stacked against him. (Yes, in "reality" he wouldn't be as powerful as he is, but it's a novel, not reality.)

Definitely going to read more books starring John Rain: fast, footloose and moral-free. ( )
  crazybatcow | Jun 3, 2010 |
novel, fiction ( )
  Vic33 | Apr 2, 2010 |
(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. ( )
  ecw0647 | Oct 4, 2009 |
An assassin protagonist in first person pov... Been a while since I read about one. ( )
  xavierroy | Feb 16, 2009 |
I was mesmorized by this thriller which also has a complex main character and an exotic setting. "John Rain" is an undercover assassin working in Japan. After a successful hit he becomes suspicious of some anomolies--such as when the jazz singer he goes to see turns out to the be target's daughter--and she is followed after the show. Rain follows her pursuer and gets involved in a tangled web of intrigue that he has to figure out to save his--and the girls--skin. Rain also has a muddied past to deal with, and he is an expert commentator on the Japanese culture, being half-Japanese himself. This was a great start to a series as it leaves you wishing for more at the end. If you like thrillers with a bit of complexity you'll definitely want to read this one. ( )
  debs4jc | Oct 8, 2008 |
In some ways John Rain, the protagonist of Rain Fall can be seen as a 21st Century Jonathan Hemlock (The Eiger Sanction) or Nicolai Hel (Shibumi). While I didn't find Rain to be as fascinating a character as those, he was interesting and his story enjoyable. I'm looking forward to continuing to read the John Rain books.

Update: The preceding review was written before I'd read the other books in the series. Now, after reading six John Rain books, I must completely retract my previous statement that Rain is not as interesting as Hemlock or Hel. In fact, Rain has far surpassed each of those characters and has become one of the best characters in the espionage/thriller genre. ( )
  MSWallack | Jan 12, 2008 |
Liked it ( )
  raw | Oct 11, 2007 |
Meet John Rain - special forces turned assassin - a man with a tortured past and an uncertain future. Few know who he is or what he does, and that's how it has to be.
In his line of work enemies are inevitable, no matter how good you are and any attachment is a weakness. But when the death of a stranger on a crowded subway threatens Rain's carefully maintained anonymity, he realises it's not just his own life at stake, but that of the one person he's come to care about - the victim's daughter.
John Rain had a Japanese father and an American mother and isn't quite accepted in either country. He lives and works in Japan and the novel is set in the corruption of Japanese politics and public administration. John fought for the Americans in Vietnam and threads of the book link back to his experiences there.
At the end Tatsu offers him ajob - is this the setting for the next book? ( )
  smik | Jul 27, 2007 |
As I was reading this thriller the word that popped into my head is "sub par." A few years ago I started to buy this series in signed first edition copies. It's only now that I've taken the time to read the first book in the series. What originally attracted me to the John Rain series was the purported similarity to Trevanian's Eiger Sanction and Shibumi books. It seems certain that at some point Mr. Eisler took a Writing Mysteries 101 course, because the story moves along at a brisk pace; and Eisler has made sure to put in colorful elements, like the Tokyo jazz bars, but what's lacking is a passion for the story and characters. What is left is the skeletal framework of a thriller, missing the meat that would make it an enjoyable read. ( )
  hayduke | Jun 19, 2006 |
This was a tight little novel about a professional killer in Japan. Half Japanese, half American, he has decided to leave behind a rather dark past in the US and make his home in Japan. Very atmospheric and smart. ( )
  ursula | Oct 6, 2005 |
Showing 23 of 23

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
27 avail.
8 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.78)
0.5
1 2
1.5 2
2 8
2.5 8
3 55
3.5 26
4 82
4.5 11
5 49

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,601,155 books! | Top bar: Always visible