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Rain Storm: Book Review

    Mon, 2004-10-04 21:48 — Gumby

    John Rain, the protagonist of the new mystery/thriller novel Hard Rain is the sort of guy you probably wouldn't mind hanging out with provided he ever let you get that close.

    From the publisher:

    "Critics praised Barry Eisler's first two novels, Rain Fall and Hard Rain, calling Japanese-American John Rain, the cynical, romantic, conscientious assassin, "one of the most memorable characters in recent thrillers" (San Jose Mercury News) and "a remarkable creation, a multifaceted killer with the soul of a poet" (Mystery Ink).

    In Rain Storm, Rain has fled to Brazil to escape the killing business and the enemies who have been encircling him. But his knack for making death seem to have been of "natural causes" and his ability to operate unnoticed in Asia continue to create unwelcome demand for his services. His old employer, the CIA, persuades him to take on a high-risk assignment: a ruthless arms dealer supplying criminal groups throughout Southeast Asia.

    The upside? Financial, of course, along with the continued chimera of moral redemption. But first, Rain must survive the downside: a second assassin homing in on the target; the target's consort-an alluring woman named Delilah with an agenda of her own; and the possibility that the entire mission is nothing but an elaborate setup. From the gorgeous beaches of Rio to the glitzy casinos of Macao to the gritty back streets of Hong Kong and Kowloon, Rain becomes a reluctant player in an international game far deadlier and more insidious than he has ever encountered before."

    John Rain, the protagonist of the new mystery/thriller novel Hard Rain is the sort of guy you probably wouldn"™t mind hanging out with provided he ever let you get that close. He likes women, jazz, and a good scotch, and certainly appreciates both the practical and artistic aspects of grappling. The thing is, John Rain has stayed as successful "“and alive as he has by not letting anyone get too close to him

    Because it"™s been some time since I actually received and read Rain Storm, and the point where I actually had time to write out this review, I did something a little unusual in that I pulled Barry Eisler"™s previous John Rain escapades off the shelf (Rain Fall and Hard Rain) and skimmed through them to take some comparison notes. Eisler"™s main strength as a writer is his narrative style, and this trait has run strong through all three of the John Rain novels. The prose is as utilitarian as our hero is, and the imagery is painted with just enough brushstrokes in order to fill a detailed portrait in the mind that still leaves room for imagination.

    That"™s not to say that if you've read the previous two books (and you really should) that you will be prepared for all the twists and turns that are in Rain Storm. Quite the contrary, as John Rain travels between the exotic locals of Rio de Janerio Brazil and Macau and Hong Kong, China he"™s never quite sure who or what to believe and despite (or maybe because of) his careful machinations finds himself more and more as a pawn in a much larger plan. Eisler seems eager to outdo everything he"™s accomplished in his previous works by throwing in more plot twists, more interesting characters and more thrilling situations that John Rain has to maneuver his way out of using both his wit and brawn.

    One of the things that makes these novels so much fun is that John Rain has a Bond-like arsenal of technology at his disposal, but it"™s his more practical applications of said gizmos along with tried and true methodologies that lend a silicon valley techies sensibilities to the narrative. There is just enough of the "œwhy couldn"™t I think of that" to Rain"™s world that makes the more fantastic devices that much more plausible.

    It"™s this sense of practicality in Eisler/Rain"™s eyes that lend credence to the fight scenes that have been praised throughout the series. As an avid grappler himself (*cough* when his schedule lets him back in the gym *cough*) Eisler has certainly dedicated himself to committing the most realistic hand to hand combat scenes in this type of literature. In fact, John Rain spends his time in Rio training at the Gracie Barra Academy, and while Eisler (perhaps wisely) does not pit Rain"™s skills against any of the students there, a scene where Rain uses his jiu jitsu skills against a sambo practioner was choreographed in part by our good buddy Ralph Gracie black belt Misho Ceko.

    I"™m fairly certain you will enjoy Rain Storm, as well the previous two John Rain novels by Barry Eisler, Rain Fall and Hard Rain. There"™s enough intrigue and action to make this a brisk read with details that martial artists will definitely appreciate. Finally, there is the sense that there will be more John Rain novels to enjoy in the future.

    You can find out more about the author and his works here:
    http://barryeisler.com/

    You can find Rain Storm at all find booksellers, or online at

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0399151923/qid=1096956861/...
    e Mercury News) and "a remarkable creation, a multifaceted killer with the soul of a poet" (Mystery Ink).

    In Rain Storm, Rain has fled to Brazil to escape the killing business and the enemies who have been encircling him. But his knack for making death seem to have been of "natural causes" and his ability to operate unnoticed in Asia continue to create unwelcome demand for his services. His old employer, the CIA, persuades him to take on a high-risk assignment: a ruthless arms dealer supplying criminal groups throughout Southeast Asia.

    The upside? Financial, of course, along with the continued chimera of moral redemption. But first, Rain must survive the downside: a second assassin homing in on the target; the target's consort-an alluring woman named Delilah with an agenda of her own; and the possibility that the entire mission is nothing but an elaborate setup. From the gorgeous beaches of Rio to the glitzy casinos of Macao to the gritty back streets of Hong Kong and Kowloon, Rain becomes a reluctant player in an international game far deadlier and more insidious than he has ever encountered before."

    John Rain, the protagonist of the new mystery/thriller novel Hard Rain is the sort of guy you probably wouldn`t mind hanging out with provided he ever let you get that close. He likes women, jazz, and a good scotch, and certainly appreciates both the practical and artistic aspects of grappling. The thing is, John Rain has stayed as successful -and alive as he has by not letting anyone get too close to him

    Because it`s been some time since I actually received and read Rain Storm, and the point where I actually had time to write out this review, I did something a little unusual in that I pulled Barry Eisler`s previous John Rain escapades off the shelf (Rain Fall and Hard Rain) and skimmed through them to take some comparison notes. Eisler`s main strength as a writer is his narrative style, and this trait has run strong through all three of the John Rain novels. The prose is as utilitarian as our hero is, and the imagery is painted with just enough brushstrokes in order to fill a detailed portrait in the mind that still leaves room for imagination.

    That`s not to say that if you`ve read the previous two books (and you really should) that you will be prepared for all the twists and turns that are in Rain Storm. Quite the contrary, as John Rain travels between the exotic locals of Rio de Janerio Brazil and Macau and Hong Kong, China he`s never quite sure who or what to believe and despite (or maybe because of) his careful machinations finds himself more and more as a pawn in a much larger plan. Eisler seems eager to outdo everything he`s accomplished in his previous works by throwing in more plot twists, more interesting characters and more thrilling situations that John Rain has to maneuver his way out of using both his wit and brawn.

    One of the things that makes these novels so much fun is that John Rain has a Bond-like arsenal of technology at his disposal, but it`s his more practical applications of said gizmos along with tried and true methodologies that lend a silicon valley techies sensibilities to the narrative. There is just enough of the "why couldn`t I think of that" to Rain`s world that makes the more fantastic devices that much more plausible.

    It`s this sense of practicality in Eisler/Rain`s eyes that lend credence to the fight scenes that have been praised throughout the series. As an avid grappler himself (*cough* when his schedule lets him back in the gym *cough*) Eisler has certainly dedicated himself to committing the most realistic hand to hand combat scenes in this type of literature. In fact, John Rain spends his time in Rio training at the Gracie Barra Academy, and while Eisler (perhaps wisely) does not pit Rain`s skills against any of the students there, a scene where Rain uses his jiu jitsu skills against a sambo practioner was choreographed in part by our good buddy Ralph Gracie black belt Misho Ceko.

    I`m fairly certain you will enjoy Rain Storm, as well the previous two John Rain novels by Barry Eisler, Rain Fall and Hard Rain. There`s enough intrigue and action to make this a brisk read with details that martial artists will definitely appreciate. Finally, there is the sense that there will be more John Rain novels to enjoy in the future.

    You can find out more about the author and his works here:
    http://barryeisler.com/

    You can find Rain Storm at all find booksellers, or online at

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0399151923/qid=1096956861/...

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