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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 July 2016
Although this is the eighth book featuring John Rain, it is a prequel of sorts. Going back to when he started out as an assassin for hire.

There is a rather uneasy sense of the narrator explaining something that happened in the distant past, with a smattering of hindsight layered over things.

The story does not entirely gel, the action sequences are taut and engaging, the Japanese setting is a real strength of the book, but at times it can feel a bit like a Rough Guide. The story is set in 1972, but for most westerners we could not particularly tell the difference between Tokyo in 1972 and Tokyo now. I would however have thought that there might have been more mention of trams.

The introduction of a disabled character was well intentioned, but ultimately does not really work.

This is an engaging and entertaining thriller, but far below the standard of the best of the John Rain books.
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on 8 August 2014
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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on 9 November 2015
Excellent addition to the series. The more recent books were getting a bit stale with the "lovey dovey Delilah" and "what a great guy Dox is" plot lines. This is back to the harder style of the earlier novels. I like the fact the author is not shy about using his vocabulary, it's Copacetic. And what can I say about the Morgue scene! I laughed out loud on the train and people looked at me like I was a nutter! Barry you are a very bad man! ;)
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on 7 April 2014
Have read them all, and this one is set way back when Rain was only 21, and just out of the jungles of Vietnam . While set in tokyo, Rain is not yet the expert , careful, poised, assasin of the later books. In a way, this makes him more interesting! As Eisler has taken this step to fill in the back story - I think there is still more room to continue this "early" Rain, and give us some more stories that bridge the time between Rain at 21, and Rain as in the first book written by Eisler. Let's hope he does this.
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on 13 May 2018
Barry Eisler is a master of marketing deception.
Do not buy his 'books' .
Next week he will be renaming his dog.
It will be called ' two elephants in toyko'.
Quite how he went from cool wordsmith to cheap conman nobody knows.
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on 16 July 2014
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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on 6 April 2018
This is a fast-paced thriller set in 1970s Tokyo. Barry Eisler does a surprisingly large amount of research and consequently the action is pretty believable.
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on 23 February 2014
I've loved each of Barry Eisler's books since finding Hard Rain by chance. Each book has drawn me in with their well developed and morally grey characters as well as their gripping plots.

But this time, as well as delivering a thriller of his usual calibre Barry Eisler has achieved something far rarer: a genuine prequel. This book features an earlier, unrefined version of the Rain we have come to know and love as opposed to the same character transported to an earlier time period. This Rain is less skilled and more naive but just as believable and captivating.

It's no spoiler to say Rain becomes closer to the character of the later books as the story progresses but again his evolution is so well written that it doesn't feel like a series of events shoehorned into the plot to teach required lessons and most crucially it happens without cliche.

I'm now genuinely torn as to what I hope for in the next John Rain book, a return to the present with the full compliment of the supporting characters of the other books or the next stage of development of this Proto-Rain.
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on 19 July 2017
Great - I like lee child , baldacci, Flynn and wasn't disappointed !
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