Barry Eisler, Author . Putnam $24.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-399-14910-8

Set in a memorable noir version of Tokyo (jazz clubs, whiskey bars, "love hotels"), Eisler's rich and atmospheric debut thriller winds its way around the city's extensive rail system and its upscale Western boutiques—Mulberry, Paul Stuart, Nicole Farhi London, Le Ciel Bleu, J.M. Weston. The author—an American lawyer who has lived and worked in Japan—brings to life a complex and most interesting hero: John Rain, a hard and resourceful man in his 40s with an American mother, a Japanese father, a childhood spent in both countries and a stretch with Special Operations in Vietnam that literally made him what he is today—a highly paid freelance assassin. The book begins with Rain arranging the death (on the subway) of a prominent government figure by short-circuiting his pacemaker and making it look like the man died of a heart attack. But Rain's relatively simple life suddenly becomes very complicated when he finds himself involved both romantically and professionally with the dead man's lovely daughter, Midori, a talented jazz pianist. Formidable adversaries—a nasty CIA agent from John's Vietnam days; a right-wing guru who uses Shinto priests as spies and yakuza gangsters as enforcers; a tireless old cop—seem intent on exposing Rain and eliminating Midori. There are several excellent action scenes, an amusing and touching young computer nerd who is Rain's only reliable ally and, most of all, an intriguing and intimate evocation of Japan's intense love-hate relationship with America. (July 22)

Forecast:Widespread international interest in Eisler's debut (rights have been sold in Brazil, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.) indicates the cosmopolitan appeal of the book; a blurb from James Ellroy suggests its popular potential. This could be the first installment in a hit series—Eisler is already working on a sequel.

Reviewed on: 05/27/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-7865-5764-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-451-20915-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61587-550-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-101010-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-5765-3
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