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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read this series...
This is the sixth in the series on the assassin John Rain (of mixed American and Japanese heritage). I'm giving it five stars because I've hugely enjoyed the series, although this volume is probably a four star book because it doesn't have such a strong sense of place (and culture) or the intricacy of the other books.

The plot revolves around the kidnapping of...
Published on 30 April 2008 by Mrs. Lewis

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Formula getting a bit old
Don't get me wrong I love John Rain and the series overall is great (I have read and enjoyed them all). But by the last 2 books it was a bit like - ok here we go again, John makes sure he is not followed, uses his homemade bugger detector to make sure his contact is clean, does some neck crunches etc

I wont spoil the plot so I wont go into specifics and there...
Published on 20 Jan 2010 by M. Double


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read this series..., 30 April 2008
This is the sixth in the series on the assassin John Rain (of mixed American and Japanese heritage). I'm giving it five stars because I've hugely enjoyed the series, although this volume is probably a four star book because it doesn't have such a strong sense of place (and culture) or the intricacy of the other books.

The plot revolves around the kidnapping of Rain's friend Dox (Dox is another great character and the bewildered humour is wonderful between Rain and Dox). He is kidnapped by nemesis Hilger to blackmail Rain into supposedly carrying out three kills. A straightforward plot but for me what makes this book and the others is Rain's characterisation and Japan (sadly only a little is set in Japan this time).

The action is always gripping (if you don't enjoy violence then these books aren't for you) and the plots interesting, plus I always enjoy the inclusion of a 'love interest'. However, for me what gives the books the edge is the way as the series progresses the reader experiences Rain's cold, barren killer personality unravelling. The first volume makes for slightly uncomfortable reading until Rain begins to question himself (for this my favourite book is 'One Last Kill' (UK)/'Killing Rain' (US)). In 'Requiem for an Assassin' Rain has tried to push aside that cold side of his character(his 'iceman' personality though the name didn't quite gel with me and felt contrived) and Rain has tentatively begun to trust more people - giving trust is something Rain finds frightening, unnerving and leaves him feeling exposed. Plus Rain discovers he has to accept 'iceman' when he is forced to kill again. The other side to Rain is very effectively shown when he is filled with fury and despair in New York.

Without the characterisation and a strong sense of place this would be just another readable thriller series, albeit one that seems especially accurate in it's depiction of undercover operations and the world situation (the author uses his background and contacts to ensure in-depth research).

I started the series with the second volume (in fact I still prefer it to the first), though to get the full impact of the series I think it's best to read them in order because characters reappear and you can fully observe the character development.

The series begins with 'Rain Fall', then things get confusing with different titles and the 2nd volume is: 'Hard Rain' (US) or 'Blood from Blood' (UK), 3rd volume: 'Rain Storm' (US) / 'Choke Point' (UK), 4th volume: 'Killing Rain' (US) / 'One Last Kill' (UK), 5th volume: 'The Last Assassin' (at last the UK publisher stopped changing perfectly good titles and confusing everyone!), and the 6th volume is: 'Requiem for an Assassin'. I sincerely hope there will be a 7th volume soon, especially if it is set in Japan (the insight into Japan is fascinating and I never realised the corruption that exists).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WILL THE ICEMAN SURVIVE THE RAIN?, 22 Feb 2009
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I have followed John Rain's saga from the very first book. Sure, the road had its ups and downs but it was totally unforgettable. Barry Eisler knows how to create a cool yet deadly character that will stay with you forever. The problem is, can he keep him cool and deadly while exploring fresh storyline ideas - and his character grows older?

In this latest installment Rain is forced out of his retirement in Paris. An old nemesis had abducted his friend Dox and unless he performs three naturally-looking assassinations, his friend pays the price. Is the deal just bad or is it doomed from the gates and both Rain and his friend will end up shark bait?
The clock is ever menacingly ticking; the stakes keep getting higher and higher; the locales keep changing from Thailand and Vietnam to LA, from Singapore to Rotterdam; and Rain, uncharacteristically, has to accept unsolicited help from old friends that had actually once been older foes.

The problems with this book actually started from the previous installment of the series (The Last Assassin) and they can be summarized into this phrase: Rain started having doubts. Having an alienated kid and a steady love interest has dulled his edge and diluted his determination.
Character development and fancy literally footwork aside, I think that, in the end, Barry Eisler tries to morally save his character - and in the process is corroding him to the core. A cold-blooded assassin may have his inescapable reasons to have turned out that way - but he cannot exist on a moral high-ground no matter what. And if he is no longer the cool cold-blooded assassin, he is no longer John Rain.

Having said that, I want to make clear that this is one of the best fiction books I read in years. I enjoyed both its tactics and action as well as its reasoning and detailed descriptions.

RECOMMENDED!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Match Up, 9 July 2007
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Requiem for an Assassin is a great example of an author trying to find a way out of a characterisation cul-de-sac that he has gotten himself into and only being partially successful in his attempt at doing so.

At the end of the previous John Rain thriller, titled The Last Assassin in the US, Eisler's half-American/half-Japanese assassin had finally put behind him the never-ending (and slightly tedious) saga of his affair with the Jazz pianist Midori and returned to the arms of his Israeli lover Delilah. With an affirmed friendship with ex-Marine sniper Dox in place and the death of a dangerous old adversary it appeared that Rain was finally changing his self-imposed isolated lifestyle for a more normal one with long term human relationships, even if he wasn't giving up the business of killing.

With Requiem for an Assassin however, it appears that Eisler somewhat regrets humanising Rain in this fashion. Although when we pick up his story he is still with Delilah, living in Paris, it is rapidly revealed that Rain is having difficulty dealing with his new lifestyle. When Dox is kidnapped by another face from his past, ex-CIA spook Hilger, in an effort to coerce Rain into undertaking some wet-work, it is the perfect excuse for the old, emotionless killing machine (the Ice Man as Rain refers to that side of himself) to resurface and get back into the action.

All of which feels like something of a cop out. Over the previous novels in this series Eisler has managed to slowly humanise John Rain in a way that has always felt real and logical. There's been no road to Damascus conversion; the man has always remained a killer, but in increments Eisler has allowed Rain to grow and form long term attachments. With Requiem for an Assassin however, it feels like Eisler regrets allowing this to happen and has sought a way to bring back the Rain of old; the one man killing machine of the earlier novels. The result is not only a somewhat contrived set-up but also a step back in terms of character development.

Admittedly by the book's denoument the pendulum has swung firmly back the other way for Rain, but this just makes Rain's initial reversion back to his old emotionless self feel all the more unrealistic. Its as if Eisler wants to have it both ways, with Rain as both a one man army and as part of a larger team of supporting characters. The result is both narrative and characterisation that feels disjointed and doesn't tie up with what has happened in previous books.

Despite this however, Requiem for an Assassin is still an enjoyable read. The details of Rain's tradecraft are fascinating as always, and the action is hard and uncompromising. The sudden jumps from first person narrative by Rain to third person story telling for the other characters is a little jarring, and Rain's inner monologue lays on a little too much self-indulgent introspection at times. On the whole however, the dialogue is suitably punchy and the supporting characters arrayed around Rain provide some welcome moments of light relief.

With a denoument that, whilst low key, is satisfying this latest installment will no doubt please established Rain fans. Its not the book to choose as an introduction to the series for many reasons, but its a solid enough chapter. It must be hoped however, that for Rain's next adventure Eisler has the confidence to move Rain and his world forward again and not be tempted to step back and try to recapture past glories.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Formula getting a bit old, 20 Jan 2010
By 
M. Double "Stroganoff" (Europe) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Requiem for an Assassin (Paperback)
Don't get me wrong I love John Rain and the series overall is great (I have read and enjoyed them all). But by the last 2 books it was a bit like - ok here we go again, John makes sure he is not followed, uses his homemade bugger detector to make sure his contact is clean, does some neck crunches etc

I wont spoil the plot so I wont go into specifics and there are a couple of bits where it is hard not to cheer (thanks Barry I really did like the reunion), but overall I think Mr Rain needs to retire and make way for Barry's next hero. I look forward to reading his next book and hope that it feels "fresh".
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller That Shines with Authenticity, 7 July 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Most thrillers seem like fables of super heroes straight out of the comic books. While those tales are fun, they lack a credible connection to reality that can make a story more gripping. Authenticity was part of the appeal of the Ian Fleming books about James Bond when they first appeared. Not since those Bond books do I recall a thriller as solidly based in real places, actual tradecraft, accurately presented martial arts, and the psychology of killing as Requiem for an Assassin.

This is my first John Rain book and I expected to be a little bit lost because I hadn't read the first five. But Mr. Eisler does an excellent job of referring to past developments and characters enough to make this story work just fine as a standalone.

Naturally, having liked this one so much I'm sure to go back and read the earlier books as well. A lot of the action in those books is referred to in Requiem for an Assassin; if you don't want those stories spoiled for you, it may be a good decision to start with the beginning of the series. The order of the series is Rain Fall, Hard Rain, Rain Storm, Killing Rain, and The Last Assassin.

As this story opens, former CIA agent and rogue operative, Jim Hilger, has assembled a team in Bali to kidnap John Rain's friend, Dox (said to be short for "unorthodox" . . . a characterization tied to his service in Reagan-era Afghanistan). The purpose? To black mail Rain into performing three assassinations. Hilger has been an arch-foe of Rain's in prior books. Dox isn't fully on his guard and is easily captured during a routine shopping trip. A little Bush-style torture quickly "persuades" Dox to contact Rain for Hilger.

John Rain is increasingly relaxed while living both with and apart from his love, Delilah, in Paris where she works for the Mossad. He hopes to escape working as an assassin and live a "normal" life . . . whatever that can be for someone with the finely honed instincts and skills of an assassin. The contact from Hilger comes as a most unpleasant surprise. Rain immediately senses that Hilger's agenda probably includes killing both Dox and Rain.

Feeling he has no choice, Rain agrees to kill three times on targets of Hilger's choice. Knowing what a dangerous person Hilger is, Rain is immediately on guard that there may be some greater danger from Hilger's plot than to the three targets, Dox, and himself. Rain turns down Delilah's offer of help, but does reach out to one old friend, Kanezaki, who can help with intelligence and weapons.

From there, the story develops along the lines of Rain trying to foil Hilger's plot while killing as few people as possible. Under extreme duress, Rain feels the urge to do more killing than is necessary. He finds himself drawn into an internal debate about what the ethics of his situation are. Those who like action-only thrillers will be disappointed by the self-doubt, but I thought it added a lot of texture and interest to the story. Here is a man poised between two worlds . . . one full of love and beauty and the other filled with hate and death. Only a psycho wouldn't have doubts in such a situation.

Although you'll see most of the plot's development coming, the unexpected bits of tradecraft will keep you fascinated by the story's movement. In the process, you'll admire both John Rain and Barry Eisler's ability to realistically portray the details of assassinations.

Bravo, Mr. Eisler!
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4.0 out of 5 stars First read, 29 April 2014
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This is my first read of this particular series by this author and I will be reading more of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read by a master of the genre., 26 July 2013
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One of his best. For me a great read and a great story line. What more can one say about an author who is at the top of this gain except thank you for a great read. Perhaps i could also say that maybe some of these other so called thriller writers could read this book to appreciate what a thriller really is instead of this wham bam another one dead by superman twaddle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 4 July 2013
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John rain is becoming more human and its a joy to read. Great and interesting plots, looking forward to the next book
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Match Up, 23 April 2008
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Requiem for an Assassin is a great example of an author trying to find a way out of a characterisation cul-de-sac that he has gotten himself into and only being partially successful in his attempt at doing so.

At the end of the previous John Rain thriller, titled The Last Assassin in the US, Eisler's half-American/half-Japanese assassin had finally put behind him the never-ending (and slightly tedious) saga of his affair with the Jazz pianist Midori and returned to the arms of his Israeli lover Delilah. With an affirmed friendship with ex-Marine sniper Dox in place and the death of a dangerous old adversary it appeared that Rain was finally changing his self-imposed isolated lifestyle for a more normal one with long term human relationships, even if he wasn't giving up the business of killing.

With Requiem for an Assassin however, it appears that Eisler somewhat regrets humanising Rain in this fashion. Although when we pick up his story he is still with Delilah, living in Paris, it is rapidly revealed that Rain is having difficulty dealing with his new lifestyle. When Dox is kidnapped by another face from his past, ex-CIA spook Hilger, in an effort to coerce Rain into undertaking some wet-work, it is the perfect excuse for the old, emotionless killing machine (the 'Ice Man' as Rain refers to that side of himself) to resurface and get back into the action.

All of which feels like something of a cop out. Over the previous novels in this series Eisler has managed to slowly humanise John Rain in a way that has always felt real and logical. There's been no road to Damascus conversion; the man has always remained a killer, but in increments Eisler has allowed Rain to grow and form long term attachments. With Requiem for an Assassin however, it feels like Eisler regrets allowing this to happen and has sought a way to bring back the Rain of old; the one man killing machine of the earlier novels. The result is not only a somewhat contrived set-up but also a step back in terms of character development.

Admittedly by the book's denoument the pendulum has swung firmly back the other way for Rain, but this just makes Rain's initial reversion back to his old emotionless self feel all the more unrealistic. Its as if Eisler wants to have it both ways, with Rain as both a one man army and as part of a larger team of supporting characters. The result is both narrative and characterisation that feels disjointed and doesn't tie up with what has happened in previous books.

Despite this however, Requiem for an Assassin is still an enjoyable read. The details of Rain's tradecraft are fascinating as always, and the action is hard and uncompromising. The sudden jumps from first person narrative by Rain to third person story telling for the other characters is a little jarring, and Rain's inner monologue lays on a little too much self-indulgent introspection at times. On the whole however, the dialogue is suitably punchy and the supporting characters arrayed around Rain provide some welcome moments of light relief.

With a denoument that, whilst low key, is satisfying this latest installment will no doubt please established Rain fans. Its not the book to choose as an introduction to the series for many reasons, but its a solid enough chapter. It must be hoped however, that for Rain's next adventure Eisler has the confidence to move Rain and his world forward again and not be tempted to step back and try to recapture past glories.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but some flaws, 12 May 2009
This review is from: Requiem for an Assassin (Paperback)
An ex-assassin, John Rain, is required to carry out 3 hits if he wants to see his former partner (Dox), being held hostage, again. We then see Rain city-hopping to carry out the hits. (I'm not sure why he doesn't attempt Dox's rescue straight away before reverting to type and accepting the instruction, but there you have it!).

Many reviewers concentrate on the change in Rain over the 6 Eisler novels. I'm not sure if it is the right thing to do, but I have viewed this as a stand-alone novel despite having read a Rain/Eisler novel before.

I found that I couldn't really get into Rain's head and that the other characters in the book, including his girlfriend Delilah, a Mossad agent, remained lifeless. I had hoped that Rain's travels would provide better glimpses of the cities he visited, but this expectation was only partly satisfied. That said, Eisler writes very well and is good in providing social insights.

An issue for some readers will be whether or not they can accept their "hero" being a cold-blooded assassin. If they can get over that hurdle, they will find a well-written book with some good action, albeit with some flaws.
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Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler (Paperback - 5 Mar 2009)
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