HARD RAIN by Barry Eisler


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No matter how hard this assassin tries to get out, they pull him back in.

John Rain is a half-American, half-Japanese hit man (Rain Fall, 2002), but there’s little reason to know anything about him, not even his name, as he so completely fulfills the requirements of his particular type. Because he’s a Hit Man, we know that he experienced violence at a young age (serving in Vietnam) and later went on his own as a freelance killer With Scruples, of course (no women, no children, and no secondary victims, only the principal). He leads what seems to be a pretty nice life in Japan: luxury high-rise apartment, plenty of disposable cash, a flexible work schedule that leaves him oodles of time to hang out in classy jazz joints and dream about retiring to Brazil. But, naturally, real life intrudes on John’s idyll, this time in the form of Tatsu, a policeman friend who wants some help (he’ll pay, of course) investigating a man who’s running a circuit of illegal underground fights (no real suspense on whether martial arts master John will eventually be called upon to take part in one of those fights). At the same time, the CIA, which still has a grudge with John from his previous outing, approaches him about helping with a program charmingly called Crepuscular, which involves taking a high-speed detour around the corruption grinding the Japanese economy to a halt by taking out impediments to reform. It’s unfortunate that Eisler has to introduce a story, actually, because there’s really nothing to the novel but Rain. Hard-boiled down to the ice-cold core of his survival-oriented soul, he’s not much more than a machine, but expertly engineered at that, and fascinating to watch in action. He’ll likely develop a decent-sized and loyal following with this series.

Slick, moody stuff, with a plot that slips out of memory even as the pages turn.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-15052-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003

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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