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STORY (suspense) - John Rain is half Japanese and half American. He was part of American special missions in Vietnam and experienced the atrocities of war. Now he finds himself having painful flashbacks and is unable to adapt to normal life. He sees himself as a shark who must keep swimming...a man who must keep killing. John makes his living as an assassin who specializes in making victims look like they died naturally, and he is sought by those who want to hire him and those who want to stop him. He is a likeable guy, and he has scruples. (Yeah, I know, an assassin with scruples?) You will like John and root for him.
This story is set in Tokyo. John kills a man and then later meets his lovely daughter, Midori, who is a jazz pianist. He learns she is in danger and tries to protect her. They have a romantic relationship, but it plays a very small part in the story. There is quite a bit of action and intrigue, and the story is fast-paced. John is expert at surveillance and pretty bad a$$ at martial arts, and his assassinations are creative. I enjoyed "visiting" the streets of Tokyo and hearing bits of Japanese culture and language. And I loved the ending.
PERFORMANCE - Barry Eisler, the author, performs his own work and does a great job. His Japanese sounded fluent, but I'm not one to judge. He had the perfect voice for John. Midori sounded a little masculine, but I was still glad that he gave her a distinctive voice.
OVERALL - There is quite a bit of violence and cussing and a teeny bit of non-explicit sex. This is the first book in a series and the story stands alone. I probably won't continue the series further because it's not my particular cup of tea, but all the books are very highly rated. Recommended for adult listeners, especially guys.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
The human mind is so complex, so vast, yet, so inherently primal. Barry Eisler captures this oxymoron in a very ingenious set of ways.
This is the first audiobook that I have listened to that was narrated by the author, so I was a little skeptical at first. Eisler does a good job, not a superb one, but he nailed the protagonist, so in my humble opinion, that's all that really matters.
The way the story is laid out takes you through the mind of an imaginary man that could be any one of us. Half american, half japanese, Eisler takes you through the struggles of being born of two cultures. Although the protagonist is mixed, his struggles are strikingly similar to any immigrant's story of living in two places, and having to adjust to both after living in one place for a while then returning to the land of their birth.
Tons of action in this story, and the storyline has lots of coincidences, that in the end turn out to be beautiful flaws of not just the main character, but mankind in general.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Narration is really very good, story is brilliant. I love all Barry Eisler books. Amazing!
I found this book to be little more than someone's research turned in to book form. I heard a great author once say something like, "the whole point of doing research, was so that you can leave most of it out." With "A Clean Kill in Tokyo" that certainly isn't the case. It's clear that the author is basing the main character, John Rain, on himself. Even that would be fine if it weren't so obvious.
On a positive note, the narration by Barry Eisler wasn't too bad, and the basic storyline itself was ok. There was just too much pointless added research, disguised as information in between.
Overall, even though I didn't like this book, I'd still be willing to give another Barry Eisler novel a chance. It didn't put me off so much that it made me want to stay away from anything else he has written. And I think that with a bit more subtleness, and character development, that the John Rain series could be good.
A great introduction to the series, this is one of the best in the series, and well worth the listen. It's gritty, dark and interesting.
Incredibly well narrated by the Author. I shy away from author narrated books . Eisler is the exception.
A well writen book with character emersion .
I originally shyed away from recommending this book to people who are not familiar with Japan .
I was proved wrong by gifting Eisler's books to friends.
They told me I got them onto a very good series