5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you haven't read this series...,
This review is from: Requiem for an Assassin (Hardcover)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).