Summary and book reviews of Rain Fall by Barry Eisler

Rain Fall

by Barry Eisler

Rain Fall
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2002, 336 pages
    Jul 2003, 336 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

A stylish thriller debut introducing John Rain--a Japanese-American freelance assassin and warrior for the 21st century.

Born of an American mother and a Japanese father, John Rain is a businessman based in Tokyo, living a life of meticulously planned anonymity. There are few who know who he is or what he does. Trained by the U.S. Special Forces and a veteran of Vietnam, he is a cool, self-contained loner--and he has built a steady business over the past twenty-five years specializing in death by "natural causes."

After the assassination of a government official in a crowded subway car, Rain's carefully ordered world comes under siege. Agents within and without the international intelligence communities have been circling him for some time and, having connected him to the subway incident, may now have the scent they have been seeking. At the same time, Rain is drawn outside his private world by an alluring jazz pianist, the dead man's daughter, who is the key to the very secrets her father was trying to reveal when he died.

Author's Note
With two exceptions, I have depicted the Tokyo in this book as accurately as I could. Tokyoites familiar with Shibuya will know that there is no Higashimura fruit store midway up Dogenzaka. The real fruit store is at the bottom of the street, closer to the station. And seekers after Bar Satoh in Omotesando, although they will come across a number of fine whiskey bars in the area, will find Satoh-san's establishment only in Miyakojima-ku, Osaka. It is the best whiskey bar in Japan and worth the trip.

Rain Fall

In the changing of the times, they were like autumn lightning, a thing out of season, an empty promise of rain that would fall unheeded on fields already bare.

--Shosaburo Abe, on the Meiji-era samurai

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
--But who is that on the other side of you?

--T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Chapter 1

Harry cut through the morning rush-hour crowd like a shark fin through water. I was following from twenty meters back on the opposite side of the street, sweating with everyone else in the unseasonable October Tokyo heat, and I couldn't help admiring how well the kid had learned what I'd taught him. He was like liquid the way he slipped through a space just before it closed, or drifted to the left to avoid an ...

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Media Reviews

San Jose Mercury News

A remarkable first novel... rich in real places and sounds, tastes and experiences. If you are a devotee of offbeat restaurants, jazz clubs and fine single-malt whiskeys, you could use this novel as a travel guide...

New York Daily News

Fast paced action... That readers will warm to Eisler's ruthless protagonist is quite the accomplishment for a first-time novelist.

San Francisco Chronicle

...a terrific debut... possibly the best cool-killer novel since The Eiger Sanction.

Booklist - Connie Fletcher

A perfect subway read for spy-story addicts.

Publishers Weekly

Eisler's rich and atmospheric debut thriller winds its way around [Tokyo's] extensive rail system and its upscale Western boutiques - excellent action scenes.

Library Journal

This debut would seem to have plenty of promise.

Kirkus Reviews

Rich atmosphere and believable politics in a distinguished debut thriller...Pleasantly fast and polished, in the John Sandford style.

Author Blurb James Ellroy
Rainfall is a hypnotically hip ressurection of the hit-man thriller. It's got it all dazzling plot, deft characterization, beaucoup originality.

Reader Reviews


Rain Fall
In my opinion it's a great book, I really enjoyed reading it. Rain Fall is an exciting thriller which introduces the everyday life of an assassin. It comes out that John Rain isn't just a gold-blooded murderer, he also has feelings and I think that ...   Read More


Rain Fall
John Rain is a complex character; I am still not sure if he is a good guy (how can a cold blooded, for money, killer be good?) or a really bad guy? He saves people he likes, but, he kills others without second thought (one though who truly deserves ...   Read More

Noel Sequeira

The story moves along at a quick pace. Just enough said about the Japanese environment without making it a tedious read. Rain's rough-and-ready treatment of the bad guys (some might say 'brutal') is satisfyingly adequate. The romance thread runs ...   Read More


An enthralling read.

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