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The making of an assassin - John Rain
on 11 February 2014
First things first: do you need to buy this book? If you have read and enjoyed some of the previous John Rain adventures
then you can simply hit purchase, sit back and enjoy a John Rain as you have never seen before. If you are new to the
books or still in doubt, please, keep reading.
John Rain is a killer, an assassin. He is precise, methodical, highly trained and lethal in hand to hand combat, and experienced in all things related to surveillance. But John Rain is also a man, emotional at times and not strange to love and suffering. In the previous books we had a clear glimpse of Rain's capabilities and flows, but the question of how he became the man he is now still remained.
Graveyard of memories is the link between Rain's past and present. It portrays a young, impulsive an inexperienced John when he was only 20, immediately after his experience in Vietnam. At this time he is working as a bagman for the CIA in Tokyo. During one of the exchanges he gets attacked by a group of Yakuza and he kills one of the thugs. This, unknowingly to John, is the first step of a long path full of death that will make him the hitman we know and love (somehow).
The plot is typical Eisler style: full of twists and turns, violence and love that keep the reader riveted to the book until it is all over.
Eisler delves inside the past of John Rain, his relationship with parents, his traumas for the atrocities of the war that make him more at ease with violence than with talking to women.
At the same time, as in all Eisler's books, the city of Tokyo and Japanese culture are equally protagonist of the story. John Rain's appreciation for some of the idiosyncrasies of Japan are clearly the result of Eisler's love for this culture. And in this way the metaphor is developed: as the city changes to embrace modernity and efficiency so John Rain changes to become more detached, rational and ultimately efficient at what he knows how to do best, killing.
The book is structured in such a way that it is still perfectly enjoyable for someone who has not read the previous books. Although I personally think that reading at least one of the previous books provides the juxtaposition between the modern and the young Rain, and improves the pleasure of the book. Well, I suppose you can get the same effect starting with this book and then buying the rest of the series...
Ultimately this is a very well written thriller, with complex, never boring and evolving characters, set in a beautifully described Tokyo.
A fast read that will leave you wanting for more.