Excerpt from Hard Rain by Barry Eisler, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Hard Rain

by Barry Eisler

Hard Rain
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2003, 352 pages
    Jul 2004, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Think about it. Ever look in a closet or under the bed, when you're alone in the house, to ensure that an intruder isn't hiding there? Now, if you really believed that the Man in the Black Ski Mask was lurking in those places, would you behave the same way? Of course not. But it's more comfortable to believe the danger only in the abstract, and to act on it only half-heartedly. That's denial.

Finally, and most obviously, there is laziness. Who has the time or energy to inspect the family car for improvised explosive devices before every drive? Who can afford a two-hour, roundabout route to get to a place that could have been reached directly in ten minutes? Who wants to pass up a restaurant or bar just because the only seats available face the wall, not the entrance?

Rhetorical questions, but I know how Crazy Jake would have answered. The living, he would have said. And the ones who intend to go on that way.

Which leads to an easy rationalization, one that I'm sure is common to people who have taken lives the way I have. If he'd really wanted to live, the rationalization goes, I wouldn't have been able to get to him. He wouldn't have permitted himself that weakness, the one that did him in.

The yakuza's weakness was his addiction to weights. Who knows what fueled it--a history of childhood bullying that made him want to appear visibly strong afterward, an attempt to overcome a feeling of inadequacy born of being naturally slighter of build than Caucasians, some suppressed homoeroticism like the one that drove Mishima. Maybe some of the same impulses that had led him to become a gangster to begin with.

His obsession had nothing to do with health, of course. In fact, the guy was an obvious steroid abuser. His neck was so thick it looked as though he could slide a tie up over his head without having to loosen the knot, and he sported acne so severe that the club's stark incandescent lighting, designed to show off to maximum effect the rips and cuts its members had developed in their bodies, cast small shadows over the pocked landscape of his face. His testicles were probably the size of raisins, his blood pressure likely rampaging through an overworked heart.

I'd also seen him explode into the kind of abrupt, unprovoked violence that is another symptom of steroid abuse. One night, someone I hadn't seen before, no doubt one of the club's civilian members who liked the location and thought that rubbing elbows with reputed gangsters made them tougher by osmosis, started removing some of the numerous iron plates that were weighing down the bar the yakuza had been using to bench-press. The yakuza had walked away from the station, probably to take a break, and the new guy must have mistakenly assumed this meant he was through. The guy was pretty sizable himself, his colorful Spandex sleeveless top showing off a weightlifter's chest and arms.

Someone probably should have warned him. But the club's membership consisted primarily of chinpira--low-level young yakuza and wanna-be punks--not exactly good Samaritan types who were interested in helping their fellow man. Anyway, you have to be at least mildly stupid to start disassembling a bar like the one the yakuza was using without looking around for permission first. There were probably a hundred and fifty kilos on it, maybe more.

Someone nudged the yakuza and pointed. The yakuza, who had been squatting, reared up and bellowed, "Orya!" loud enough to vibrate the plate glass in the front of the rectangular room. What the fuck!

Everyone looked up, as startled as if there had been an explosion--even the new guy who had been so clueless just an instant earlier. Still bellowing expletives, the yakuza strode directly to the bench-press station, doing a good job of using his voice, either by instinct or design, to disorient his victim.

From Hard Rain: A John Rain Novel by Barry Eisler, copyright © 2003 Barry Eisler, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review


Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.