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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hard Rain by Barry Eisler

All John Rain wants is to get out of the killing business. But with his discretion, his reliability, and his unique talent for death by “natural causes,” no one is willing to let him just retire. So when an old nemesis from the Japanese national police force comes to him with a new job—eliminate Murakami, a killer even more fearsome than Rain himself—he can’t refuse.
Aided by an achingly desirable half Brazilian, half Japanese exotic dancer he knows he shouldn’t trust, Rain pursues his quarry through underground no-holds-barred fight clubs, mobbed-up hostess bars, and finally into the heart of a shadow war between the CIA and the yakuza. It’s a war Rain can’t win, but also one he can’t afford to lose—a war where the distinctions between friend and foe and truth and deceit are as murky as the rain-slicked streets of Tokyo.

Hard Rain (Political Thriller)
By Barry Eisler
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (2002)
ISBN #0399150528
$24.95 (Hardback)
337 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

Set in Japan, ex-CIA assassin John Rain, born Fugiwara Junichi from the reunion of a Japanese father and American mother, is living in Japan trying to retire from his trade. Unfortunately, the CIA, Japanese mob, and the Japanese FBI are still searching for him. Two sources want him dead. Keisatsucho (Japan’s FBI) agent Tatsu wants him to continue his work – for them.

Rain’s victims appear to die of natural causes. This does not leave nasty problems for officials to cover up. Rain’s background is only slightly covered in this story. He appears younger than he actually is, full of vitality, handsome, and possibly a 4th degree black belt in Judo, though knows all forms of martial arts. He was 17 years old during Vietnam, and served with U.S. Special Forces. Due to not throwing up after his first kill, the CIA thinks he would make a good agent and recruits him. His parents are both dead. Considering his age during Vietnam, I would place his age now at around fifty, give or take a few years.

The author has worked with the CIA, then as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan. He also earned his black belt in judo. His writing is smooth, but the novel is slow. At 337 pages of small print, I had trouble finishing the book. He appears knowledgeable of Japan, but I had a hard time visualizing the characters as Japanese; they seemed more Western than Oriental. Plus, the novels – there appear to be six or more stories in the series – and have several different titles for each. When I bought Hard Rain, I thought I was purchasing the first book in the series, but quickly learned there was one title ahead of it. So a lot had already happened in the series before I got into it. Each novel is a stand-alone, but the author has to refer back to the previous title quite a bit to bring the reader up to the current time. Action is sporadic and few. Instead, you have the main characters doing evasive moves across Tokyo to avoid detection quite often. Okay, necessary, but boring for the reader. But regardless of the minor faults, the locale of the story is what is most interesting for the reader. Japan is a country steeped in history and culture, and the reader will be fascinated by the author’s detail. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Detective Mystery Stories

1 comment:

  1. I've read most of the books in this series. It's great stuff until the author goes off a cliff in about 2006.