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Requiem for an Assassin: A Novelby Barry Eisler
Synopses & Reviews
If you had to kill three people to save your best friend's life, would you do it?
When John Rain decides to get out of the business, his hand is forced by rogue CIA operative Jim Hilger. Hilger kidnaps Dox, Rain's trusted partner and closest friend, and offers Rain a choice: carry out a final assignment, or bear the responsibility for Dox's murder.
For a professional like John Rain, the choice ought to be easy: Do the job — a series of three hits — then walk away. But how does Rain know Jim Hilger won't kill Dox anyway, once the assignment is complete? How does he know that each of the hits isn't simultaneously a setup for Rain himself? And what will he do when he finds out that among the targets of this lethal game of extortion is someone else Rain cares about deeply?
From the urban canyons of Silicon Valley and New York to the lush forests of Bali, the boulevards of Paris, and the old killing fields of Vietnam, Rain must grapple with his age, his enemies, and most of all, his conscience in a battle that not even Rain — "the stuff great characters are made of" (Entertainment Weekly) — can hope to survive intact.
"In Eisler's predictable sixth thriller to star half Japanese, half American assassin John Rain (after 2006's The Last Assassin), Rains longtime rival, rogue CIA agent Jim Hilger, kidnaps Rain's sniper friend Dox and threatens to kill Dox unless Rain murders three people Hilger wants dead. Despite his ambivalence about his chosen trade, Rain carries out the hits with little remorse. Rain's adventures take him to the usual glamorous locales — Paris, London, Amsterdam — while throughout he remains nostalgic for his Japanese heritage. In a subplot, Rain's Mossad agent lover, Delilah, enlists some Israeli colleagues in an attempt to foil a major terrorist plot. The revelation of why the three murder victims were selected comes as the book's one real surprise. 150,000 first printing; author tour." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information., Inc.)
"'In Eisler's predictable sixth thriller to star half Japanese, half American assassin John Rain (after 2006's The Last Assassin), Rain's longtime rival, rogue CIA agent Jim Hilger, kidnaps Rain's sniper friend Dox and threatens to kill Dox unless Rain murders three people Hilger wants dead. Despite his ambivalence about his chosen trade, Rain carries out the hits with little remorse. Rain's adventures take him to the usual glamorous locales — Paris, London, Amsterdam — while throughout he remains nostalgic for his Japanese heritage. In a subplot, Rain's Mossad agent lover, Delilah, enlists some Israeli colleagues in an attempt to foil a major terrorist plot. The revelation of why the three murder victims were selected comes as the book's one real surprise. 150,000 first printing; author tour. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"'Requiem for an Assassin' is the sixth novel in Barry Eisler's stylish series about the Japanese American contract killer John Rain, who just may be the baddest dude on this planet. The former Special Forces warrior is expert with a gun, of course, but he'd rather kill you with a knife or his bare hands. Mostly he kills bad guys — terrorists, arms dealers — but he's a professional, and he'll kill... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) you or me if the price is right. As this novel begins, he's living in Paris with the super-sexy Mossad agent Delilah, and trying to retire, but like many a gunslinger before him he finds it's not easy to quit the killing game. Rain has an enemy named Hilger, an ex-CIA agent, who wants to use Rain's talents in a terrorist scheme. Rain also has a close friend, Dox, who's relaxing in Bali. Hilger proceeds to kidnap Dox and tell Rain that he'll kill his friend unless Rain eliminates three men for him. Then, he says, he'll free Dox. Rain suspects — correctly — that after he's done two of the jobs, the third will be an ambush because Hilger intends to kill both Dox and Rain. Rain sees no choice but to zap the two men (who seem to be innocent businessmen) while he tries to find out where his enemy is hiding his pal. It's a nifty plot with one minor defect: It makes no sense. If you have a complicated terrorist attack to pull off, and you already have several hired killers on your payroll, why complicate things by bringing in Rain in a way that will make him want to kill you? Eventually, when things get sticky, the author has the grace to admit this problem ('Hilger realized now he'd been too ambitious'), but if you buy into it, as fans of the series will, it's an exciting, fast-moving tale, and logic be damned. Eisler makes it easy for us to buy into it because he writes good dialogue and action scenes and gives his characters a fair amount of depth. The novel is punctuated with interesting and sophisticated touches. When the teenage Rain saw his friends killed in Vietnam, he learned that 'the only thing that saves you from being paralyzed by that grief, being killed by it, is a rage so white-hot the sane can barely begin to imagine it.' In one detailed and harrowing scene, Hilger's men subject Dox to waterboarding. ('The advantage of the towel was that it modulated the amount of water the subject could actually swallow, while still causing suffocation and thus the sensation of drowning.') It's a scene that should be read by those of our leaders who describe this form of torture as just a 'dunk in the water.' Eisler, himself a onetime covert agent for the CIA, exhibits a nice sense of place as his story rockets from Bali to Paris to Saigon to Los Angeles to New York to Amsterdam. When Rain arrives in Paris for the first time, riding a train past slums filled with immigrants, then reaching the gorgeous central city, he decides: 'This was a civilization encircled by its enemies, living uneasily under some implicit, eroding truce, slowly losing a war the signs of which were everywhere but that its citizens preferred to ignore.' Returning to Vietnam, and seeing all the economic 'reforms' that amount to capitalism, he reflects: 'Save these people from communism? Christ, it was Hanoi that needed saving now. We could have just sat back and enjoyed the show.' Still, for all its sophistication and realism, much of the book is simply a male fantasy of cool weapons, hot babes and enemies who drop like flies. The fantasy starts with the super-killer himself. ('Rain was a killer, a natural predator.') Then we have his lover, Delilah, the Mossad agent — you were expecting Marian the librarian? — who brightens his days with world-class sex. After one furious bout, our assassin, a sensitive New Age guy at heart, admits, 'I didn't mean to be so ... rough' and the dear girl shyly confesses, 'It's part of what I ... like about you.' Then there's Dox, shackled in chains, at the mercy of killers, but repeatedly insulting them, particularly one sadist who we fear will at any moment do unspeakable things to this fearless ex-Marine. Eisler even tosses in a ray gun — a 'nonlethal millimeter wave energy weapon'-- that penetrates walls and makes men think they're on fire. The stun gun of the future, coming soon to a police station near you! In short, 'Requiem for an Assassin' is a skillful spy novel but a lot more slick than it needs to be. Taken on its own terms, it's enjoyable enough, but you come away thinking that Eisler could do better. But that's how it is in publishing today. The author of a successful series is under intense pressure to crank out more of the same, even if he'd like to try something more interesting or ambitious. If the author takes the leap, he or she might produce something exceptional, like Dennis Lehane's 'Mystic River' or Laura Lippman's 'What the Dead Know.' Or, once the writer has left his series for an ambitious stand-alone, it could bomb, whereupon he's lost momentum and maybe his publisher's interest. It's a tricky business." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at symbol)aol.com, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"Tense and well crafted, Requiem proves that even old dogs like John Rain still have their tricks." Library Journal
"Readers may wonder how many stories there are to tell about a hit man who wants to get out of the life, but so far Eisler hasn't run out of believable scenarios. This one is as good as its five forerunners, and here's hoping the author has a few more stories to tell." Booklist
When John Rain decides to get out of the assassin business, rogue CIA operative Jim Hilger kidnaps Rains's trusted partner and closest friend. Hilger offers Rain a choice: carry out a final assignment, or bear the responsibility for his best friend's murder.
When John Rain, "the most charismatic assassin since James Bond" (San Francisco Chronicle), decides to get out of the business, rouge CIA operative Jim Hilger forces his hand. He kidnaps Dox, Rain's trusted partner and closest friend, and offers Rain a choice: carry out a final assignment, or bear the responsibility for Dox's murder.
About the Author
Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations. After leaving the CIA, he lived and worked in Japan, where he earned his black belt from the Kodokan International Judo Center. The Rain books — Rain Fall, Hard Rain, Rain Storm, and Killing Rain — have won the Barry and Gumshoe awards, been translated into nearly twenty languages, and been optioned for film by Barrie Osborne, the Oscar-winning producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
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