John Rain, a solitary man, lives only with the ghosts of his violent past for company. Cloaked in anonymity, he slips along Tokyo's modern bustling streets, inconspicuous in a city of 26 million people. This isn't completely effortless since he is an ainoko, a half-breed, born to a Japanese father and a Caucasian mother. Rain, a martial arts and surveillance expert, is also an assassin. Because Rain's specialty is ingeniously making his victim's death appear to be accidental, his services are frequently in demand.

Freelancing in Tokyo, Rain owes allegiance to no one. No longer a mercenary, nor samurai, he creates his own code of conduct and takes great pains to remain a nameless, faceless enigma to his clients. All that is about to change when he is hired to assassinate a Japanese government official.

Rain's credo is to trust no one and expect the worst. He typically fulfills his contract, pockets his ample fee and vanishes back into the populace. However, this is no ordinary contract. Events spin out of control as Rain finds himself the one being hunted. Reluctant to trust anyone, he enlists the aid of a young protŽgŽ whose illicit skills include computer hacking. Furthermore, since even a solitary warrior must have a love interest, Rain courts a beautiful jazz pianist who has a connection to the murdered government official. Marked for death, Rain and his two companions follow a dangerous trail of clues that lead to treachery and corruption. Rain Fall, Barry Eisler's debut novel, is a suspenseful thriller filled with double-crosses, duplicity and relentless action. Eisler's experience of living and working in Japan lends realism to his depiction of the compelling intricacies of Japanese society. He is particularly skilled at describing Tokyo's smoky jazz clubs, love hotels, stylish whiskey bars and subway and train stations teeming with an endless flow of citizens. And though the world-weary personality of John Rain seems a bit over the top at times, Eisner's samurai warrior is the kind of superhero who might attract Hollywood's attention.

C.

L. Ross reads, writes and reviews in Pismo Beach, California
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