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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of an assassin - John Rain
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,...
Published 6 months ago by Fabrizio P

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flashback to John Rain's Youth and a Lesser Entry in the Series
Having read all of Barry Eisler's previous novels (including the less that stellar Treven series) and most of his short stories I would consider myself a fan. As with most authors some of his books are better than others, with the earlier Rain novels generally being stronger than the more recent efforts in my opinion. Graveyard of Memories continues that pattern by not...
Published 25 days ago by C. Green


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of an assassin - John Rain, 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Great fiction, well researched, couldn't put tablet down, had to read to end, can't wait to read rest of series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 3 April 2014
By 
A. ONEILL "Andy" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Later books in the John Rain series have not really been to my tastes. This is an easy book to recommend. Well written with a believable fallible "hero" who wouldn't need a zimmer frame.
Best book by Barry Eisler in some time - just buy it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Flashback to John Rain's Youth and a Lesser Entry in the Series, 7 Aug 2014
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Having read all of Barry Eisler's previous novels (including the less that stellar Treven series) and most of his short stories I would consider myself a fan. As with most authors some of his books are better than others, with the earlier Rain novels generally being stronger than the more recent efforts in my opinion. Graveyard of Memories continues that pattern by not being a bad effort but also not being amongst Eisler's better works.

It has some obvious strengths, with its portrayal of 70's Tokyo being one of them. The book gives the reader a genuine feel for the city during that period of rapid economic growth just prior to the 80's boom. The action is also up to the usual high standards we expect of Eisler. It was also intriguing to meet the young, callow, ill-disciplined John Rain in his pre-uber-cool-assassin days and to get a better understanding of where he came from.

Where the books falls down however, is in the plot, which I found both overly convoluted and not particularly involving. I have no problem with twisting, complex plots, full of betrayals and intrigue. I just prefer the convolutions to feel less forced than they do here. As for the lack of emotional involvement, whilst the danger Rain finds himself in feels genuine the fact that this is prequel to the earlier books he features in leave no doubt that he will survive and we never really learn enough about any of the other characters, good or bad, to care much about their eventual fates. Without an emotional involvement in the story as it unfolds I remained curiously detached throughout and found it easy to put the book down during even the most exciting passages.

Even the token love interest sub-plot that Eisler throws in failed to generate any additional sense of genuine jeopardy. Whilst making the woman disabled was an interesting approach, and Eisler managed to do so without leaving the character defined purely by her disability, he didn't give her enough depth to make me really care what happened to her. Her relationship with Rain also felt forced and unrealistic, with the characters lacking genuine chemistry. This is fault I have found with other Eisler novels, in particular Fault Line, where characters end up in romantic or sexual relationships almost by default rather than because it feels like a natural progression. It often feels like Eisler includes a romantic subplot even if the story doesn't demand one, like he's working to a formula and needs to tick a box.

As usual he then compounds the problem by including some truly cringe worthy sex scenes. I'm no prude but Eisler's descriptions of sex definitely veer towards the unnecessarily gratuitous, and include all the tenderness and emotion of his action sequences. Like the love-interest it also feels like he includes them to meet some sort of quota rather than because they're integral to the story.

So overall I would rate this as one of the lesser Rain entries in the Rain series. Interesting, entertaining in places and atmospheric yes, but also unfocused and included too many unnecessary elements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent gripping read!, 14 May 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Didn't know how it would conclude , although it couldn't have ended any other way. Thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, especially the unusual relationship with the girl
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but nowhere near his usual standard, 8 Aug 2014
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A prequel to John Rain the assassin. I had to buy this because I have read all the other Barry Eisler's books.

Unfortunately, there is something not quite right about this one. It is almost as though Barry didn't write this or at least not entirely. The fight sequences are great as usual, the plot is OK but way below what I consider 'usual'.

There are quite a bit of going round in circles - i.e. the writing could have been a little tighter like all his other books.

Yeah, I am a little disappointed considering I had been waiting for such a long time for this. Would this deter me from buying Barry's future instalments? Absolutely not! I am a huge fan of his and I will continue to buy his book in the foreseeable future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Introspective as well as full of action, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
A John Rain thriller. Ever wondered how someone gets to be an assassin? Rain looks back over the years and tells the story of how he graduated from low level courier to top hit man. The story is set against a backdrop of Tokyo in transition from traditional Japanese city to futuristic megacity. I particularly enjoyed the afterword, a thoughtful, poignant retrospective (not something you often get in books about assassins)
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good warm up, 10 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Having read all the john rain books and having loved all but the last it was intriguing to read this. None of the pulsating action from the later stories but a good enticement to learn more about the character. I liked the nods to whisky and coffee interest to be developed later. If you like this you'll love what's to follow. "Winters was good with a knife".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Content detail good, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
Although this was a thriller don't think the content was exactly my choice of reading but was well written particularly the depth of description.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The start of John Rain, 3 July 2014
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This review is from: Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel) (Kindle Edition)
It is good to have the back story of how John got started there's plenty of hints in the rest of the books but it is good to know how his friendships formed . Well written as usual if you have not read any of the other John Rain stories what are you waiting for.
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