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on 11 March 2013
I first became aware of Barry Eisler after the controversy surrounding his decision to turn down a serious amount of money from a traditional publisher, in favour of bringing the books out himself. Subsequently, he accepted a deal with one of Amazon's publishing imprints, and hasn't looked back. Meanwhile, I became a fan of his blog; his writing on book marketing, the publishing industry and politics is always engaging, entertaining and usually right on the money.

I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to try one of his thrillers - I think it was the lack of availability as a reasonably priced e-book, something that Eisler is planning to fix. But having finally got to it, I'm happy to report that Eisler deserved every penny of whatever money Amazon threw at him - The Detachment is an excellent book by a man as fascinated with the shades of grey as I am.

Eisler has been writing about the assassin John Rain for a while, and this is the latest of those books. I guess it's not an ideal place to start as I came into it with none of Rain's backstory - but it didn't matter. The book works perfectly well as a stand-alone thriller, while the writer still encouraged me to go back and read the earlier ones by making some adroit references to Rain's previous adventures.

Barry Eisler's bio says he worked for the CIA in a covert position, and it shows. Or, at least it shows as far as I - a civilian - can tell. The book has an incredibly authentic feel, that's the first thing. The second is that it rips along at pace, with a rock solid and all-to believable underlying conspiracy at the centre of the plot. John Rain, the conflicted killer is a terrific central protagonist, and the other characters that make up The Detachment are all well drawn and keep you guessing. My pulse was racing in the final set-piece shoot up - only the denouement of Argo has matched that recently. I hope we see more of Rain, and the other characters in The Detachment, but I will most certainly be reading more Eisler either way - `nuff said about this one.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 July 2014
The Detachment (John Rain Thrillers) [Kindle Edition]

I was taking a break from reading the mammoth 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which also features a stoic Japanese who specialises in undetectable killings, and thought I would give this a go.

The first few pages are enough to hook you in, John Rain is trying to lay low in Japan, and a senior American Intelligence officer comes after him with a proposition he cannot refuse. Head up a team for a hit, or two. For the most part Rain narrates, explaining the thinking going on behind his impassive exterior. The view point shifts to other characters from time to time, and the plot is well put together and gripping.

I certainly enjoyed the book, though I am not sure how much more of this sort of stuff I would want to read, it sagged slightly at the middle and the ending felt a little heavy handed. However these are the most minor of quibbles, this is a rollicking good read, written with clarity, insight and attitude, a well deserved best seller.

If you are new to the John Rain books, then probably better to start at the beginning, or even the book following this, the prequel of sorts, Graveyard of Memories. This is Rain in relatively mellow and reflective mood which is not to everyone’s tastes.

The editing and proof reading are all first rate, not a given these days, though I would quibble at a flexible roll of plastic being described as ten mill thick.
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on 19 June 2014
John Rain, assassin, is recruited to form part of a team to eliminate a series of targets. Mid way through, they realise that they are being used to clear the way for a right wing coup, and suspension of the US constitution, Worse, they will be taking the blame for "terrorist attacks", and they are being hunted across America. They are not so easy to find,however, and the biggest threat to Rain's detachment comes from within rather from without.

An interesting take on the War on Terror - much of it was an inside job, as the conspiracy theorists allege. But I find the Rain character more interesting as an introspective loner rather than a team leader. And if the US right wing is so keen on their constitution that they dress up as Benjamin Franklin to read it, is it likely that they would want to see it suspended?
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on 26 April 2014
I love the John Rain books, but I do agree with others, it was better when he was in Japan, and alone. He worked ok with a group, but I did not get the same sense of an assassin.This was a Rain trying to work for the establishment ideals. I think it also dragged a bit in the middle, of the book, I think this was due to the "group" theme. I think if more books are to be written, I would suggest, that time wise Barry Eisler, goes back to a younger Rain. His first job for example, rather than try to use him in a post 9/11 world. I think this is for the USA market, and spoils it for me.
Not this book, but why did all the book titles change, I now do not know which I have read.If you have never read the Rain books, try one of the first one or two, to get the idea behind il.
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on 6 November 2014
Paper thin, one dimensional characterless characters. I realise most books of the type do not have believable plots but this really takes the biscuit. Unlike the worst book I have read, I did finish this one although I wished I had not bothered. If there was a plot is was like a vast featureless wasteland, the ending both hackneyed and predicable. If, like I was, you are waiting for a plane delayed by half an hour, and want to make the delay seem like a day then read this book otherwise avoid.
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on 3 December 2011
I downloaded this book to my kindle not having read any of Barry Eisler books and I am glad I did.The book summary sounded just what I wanted to read and I was not disappointed.There is no preamble with this book; it starts fast and the pace continues throughout.It is a 'violent' book actually as deaths occur matter of factly, but it never feels gratutious.The characters are all killers but their personalities are developed as the story unfolds and an empathy is established with the reader so that as the story twists and turns you forget they are the 'bad' guys.Or were they ever the bad guys?
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on 13 December 2013
The Detachment (John Rain Thrillers) This is the first John Rain Book I have read and I loved it. Four disparate efficient men are "used" by a man high up in the US Law system. Two are past friends and the other two just get into the action possibly accidentally. Killing is no problem for any of them and, with John Rain as the Leader, he takes control of the group, not an easy task when the new pair are not used to him. I don't want to describe the story as it would spoil it for others but YES, do go for it if you like action with some conspiracy. It ended nicely to allow for a follow-on book.
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on 8 December 2013
I rather enjoyed this. No slow build up - absorbing from the start. Likeable characters with development throughout. The main reason for not giving 5 stars was that I felt there was a tendency to over-explain motivation or thought processes, as though the author wasn't sure that we understood the situation fully. Despite this, I found myself picking up my kindle every chance I got.
Well worth the 99p I paid, and I'll probably be looking to buy another Rain novel.
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on 8 June 2014
This is a nice easy read with lots of exciting bits in it. I would have given it a five but I thought the climatic end was a little disappointing. I will certainly try another one of these and I'm especially interested in at least one of his non fiction books. In a line "half decent pulp processed publication" nice literary heroine for the stimulated traveller.
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on 30 October 2011
No point in writing reams about Rain!
To a new reader it would help if you bought Eisler's earlier novels involving Rain but if you read this you will be prompted to do just that.
How he constantly thinks of new assasination methods is beyond me and makes his books unmissable.
Buy, buy, buy!
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