Hard Rain (Eisler)

I saw this book before its predecessor, and it looked intriguing enough that I wanted to read them in sequence– I’m glad I did. Like Rain Fall, Hard Rain features the half-Japanese, half-American John Rain, a Vietnam veteran turned assassin-for-hire. As the novel opens, Rain is trying to determine what to do after having his identity– and career– exposed to the Japanese equivalent of the FBI and the CIA. Before he can get out of town, he’s compelled to infiltrate a school for training assassins run, more or less, by an opposition political party. Mayhem ensues. All die. (Well, not all, but most). As with the first book, Rain is a somewhat unlikely protagonist: he is exceptionally ruthless, but that ruthlessness (which in a lesser book would be slathered with smart-mouth quips at every opportunity; cf. Robert Parker) is tempered by Eisler’s ability to show us Rain as a human who loves jazz, knows where all the good whisky bars in Tokyo are, and can recognize the possibility of changing his life for the better. The descriptions of Tokyo are again outstanding, as are the descriptions of Rain’s many fights with various mobsters, killers, and assorted undesirables. The book ends on an uncertain, yet hopeful, note that’s left me eager to read the next installment. (The first chapter’s posted at Eisler’s web site, too). I’m inclined to like it even better since Eisler dropped by here the other day 🙂

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