Friday, June 8, 2007

Read: "Requiem for an Assassin" by Barry Eisler

Read: Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler, 2007, 9780399154263

Another good one by Eisler. There are some things about the plot that stretched believability and didn't make sense – but hey, it's a novel. Eisler has his character John Rain evolve from book to book and this latest one shows the biggest changes. Eisler's last two novels have had Rain considering, and then moving, into retirement. Not an easy thing for Rain to do after 30 years as a remorseless killer.

In Requiem Rain has moved to Paris and gotten his own apartment, separate from new girlfriend, and Mossad operative, Delilah. Rain no longer does any contract killing and his paranoia has abated. He stopped his 24-hour a day policy of constant anti-surveillance and anti-ambush drills and methods. He meets people on time and lets them choose the meeting place and he doesn't perform a two hour reconnaissance before hand. His life is settling into the closest it has ever been to "normal".

Meanwhile, his best – and only – friend Dox is getting kidnapped in Bali. The lead kidnapper, Hilger, needs Rain to commit several murders and is using Dox as leverage. Rain, the man who didn't care about anything, is now forced to kill a couple targets while working with a CIA agent from Hong Kong in an attempt to find and rescue Dox.

Rain's ruthlessness shows up much more than in the last book – or maybe I just got used to it before. In Last Assassin he was acting in self-defense and in defense of his son and ex-girlfriend. Rain's impulsive action in Requiem to murder that same ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend, halted by Rain at the last moment, was downright scary. Also frightening was his immediate acquiescence to Hilger's demands that Rain murder two strangers, family men, to free Dox.

Rain easily steps back into operational mode and it worries him, he cannot reconcile what has become a dual personality. Rain's "normal" side has a girlfriend and a love for scotch, jazz music, and good restaurants. However, he cannot shake his decades old professional persona, the "iceman", and takes long evening walks through bad Parisian neighborhood's for the chance of a fight.

More brand names in this one: Benchmade (rain loves Benchmades), Wilson Combat, HK, Hideaway knives (who now have a cheaper 440c version available), Spyderco, Fred Perrin's LaGriffe, and multiple international hotels.

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