RAIN STORM by Barry Eisler


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Propulsive thriller plot plays second fiddle to an overarching tactical treatise: How does an assassin go about staying alive while getting the job done?

In this third in a series (Hard Rain, 2003, etc.), John Rain, our scrupulous freelance murderer who gives his kills a natural look and whacks no women (well, almost no women) and no children, has an assignment from the CIA to cleanse the world of death merchant Belghazi, a French-Algerian seller of weaponry to the highest bidder, no questions asked. In tinder-crisp prose—Rain is not overly fond of exploring his emotions, though motives are always on his mind—we follow as he prepares for his task in what, given another context, would be considered a police procedural. There are lots of good tips here for the would-be assassin, as when Rain muses “ . . . an injection of potassium chloride. I would try for the axillary vein under the armpit, or perhaps the ophthalmic vein in the eye, both hard to detect entry points.” (He also vividly details how to fake an autoerotic asphyxiation.) Eisler occasionally sounds too enchanted with his own voice: “I realize these marks are signs, artifacts of lives and moments that were but are no longer, like ashes in an empty hearth, or bones cast aside from some long ago supper, or a tattered shape that might have been a scarecrow in a field grown over with weeds.” But there’s no denying that this author can bring a wicked martial-arts encounter right into the mind's eye (quite a feat, considering the need for speed and complexity of movement) or that he’s surprisingly nimble with his love scenes. As for the background storyline, it is plausible, au courant, and creepy; readers will learn more about rogue communities than they may want to know.

Taut and generally skillful: fans will hope for more Rain in the forecast.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-15192-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2004

Kirkus Interview
Barry Eisler
January 26, 2016

In Barry Eisler’s new thriller The God’s Eye View, NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. He knows unlimited surveillance is the only way to keep America safe. Evelyn Gallagher doesn’t care much about any of that. She just wants to keep her head down and manage the NSA’s camera network and facial recognition program so she can afford private school for her deaf son, Dash. But when Evelyn discovers the existence of a program code-named God’s Eye and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistle-blowers, her doubts put her and Dash in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins. “While the God's Eye is a work of fiction, it's an entirely plausible one,” our reviewer writes. “An engaging tale about a serious issue. Read it and squirm.” View video >


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