Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Read: "The Last Assassin" by Barry Eisler

Read: The Last Assassin by Barry Eisler, 2006, 0399153594.

Pretty good. I liked the previous Eisler novel better. Last has professional assassin John Rain attempting to do away with his nemesis, the criminal kingpin and politician Yamaoto, who has had a price on Rain's head for a few years. Rain is forced to do so after he is informed that former girlfriend Midori has a son and Rain is the father. Midori is under surveillance - and in danger – in Yamaoto's hope that Rain will show up at her NYC apartment. Rain is typically ruthless and bloody; no broken necks though.

Eisler does another good job in explaining and understanding a difficult character like Rain who has survived in a – literally – cut-throat profession for decades due to his paranoia and a refusal to make friends and allies. Recent changes by Rain to accept a friend, fellow killer Dox, and sort-of girlfriend, Delilah, are difficult for him to accept. Rain has to contend with: loyalty, friendship, love, and a future outside of his chosen profession.

I'm going to take the novel's characters' fondness for Benchmade knives to be a trait that the author holds. Brandnames like Benchmade, Emerson, HAK, and Heckler-Koch make appearances. Eisler seems to do a lot of research by talking to and training with a variety of martial arts, security, gun, and knife people when writing his books; he gives a lot of credit in his Ackowledgements.

Eisler does a decent job with his overseas settings in Barcelona and Tokyo. His descriptions are good but Rain has obscure favorites and favors expensive hotels; murder pays well.

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