John Rain, the protagonist of this hard-nosed espionage/adventure novel, is new to me, although there are two previous books in the series, "Rain Fall" and "Hard Rain."
Rain is a cynical, romantic, conscientious Japanese-American assassin.
After decades of causing death - first as a soldier in Viet Nam, then in Afghanistan, followed by a stint as a contract agent for the CIA, he tries to go to ground in Brazil.
But his specialty - making an assasination appear to have occurred from natural causes - is too much in demand for the CIA, here cynically referred to as "Christians in Action," to leave him in peace.
The agency tracks him down and ensnares him in yet another plot, this time to eliminate "with extreme prejudice," in bureaucrat-ese, a shadowy arms dealer who seems to be playing the terrorist organizations of the Middle East against not one but two warring factions within the CIA.
What makes the book rise above most in its genre, and me certain to read both the first two by Eisler and any that subsequently appear, is his thoughtful, philosophical narrative style.
A few passages from the book, beginning with its opening paragraph:
- The agency had hired me to "retire" Belghazi, not to protect him. So if this didn't go well, their next candidate for a retirement package would probably be me.
In my line of work, drawing attention is a serious violation of the laws of common sense, and therefore of survival. Because if someone notices you for one thing, he'll be inclined to look more closely, at which point he might notice something else. A pattern, which would have remained quietly hidden, might then begin to emerge, after which your cloak of anonymity will be methodically pulled apart, probably to be rewoven into something more closely resembling a shroud.