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A Clean Kill in Tokyo

(John Rain #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  15,442 ratings  ·  888 reviews
Previously published as Rain Fall (John Rain, #1)

Name: John Rain.
Vocation: Assassin.
Specialty: Natural Causes.
Base of operations: Tokyo.
Availability: Worldwide.

Half American, half Japanese, expert in both worlds but at home in neither, John Rain is the best killer money can buy. You tell him who. You tell him where. He doesn't care about why...

Until he gets involved with M
Kindle Edition, New Edition, 363 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Barry Eisler
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Ken NO- not in the story. only change I remember is an addition to the introduction explaining the HOW & WHY the title had been changed and warning us~~(D…moreNO- not in the story. only change I remember is an addition to the introduction explaining the HOW & WHY the title had been changed and warning us~~(DIE HARD John Rain fans___and those soon to join the club!) that many of his novels are being renamed.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,442 ratings  ·  888 reviews

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**4.5 stars**

This book blew me away.

I’m not fond of assassins as main characters so normally I wouldn’t have picked up this book. But it was on sale at Audible and I liked the narrator so I decided to give it a try. And oh boy, I’m so glad I did.

The story starts a bit slowly but then it gets tremendously exciting, extremely sad and very thought provoking. Why would a man like John Rain – who not a “bad person” – choose a life like this? The answer is not simple or even logical but it’s heartbre
Andrew Smith
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having previously read a mid-series book, it was a relief to go back to the start. My first experience of John Rain in Extremis showed me a rather one dimensional man - a hired killer, cold and efficient but not much else. However, this book brings the character alive, drawing out his background and the key events that shaped the man. The first half of the book is my favourite part as Rain shows himself to be a rather complex dude with a lot to offer, over and above his propensity to induce ‘the ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm a little torn because 3 stars might indicate I like the book when it would be more accurate to say I don't intensely dislike it, thus 2. There are some interesting parts in this read. Unfortunately between these parts there a long sections that are not only fairly uninteresting but often have little or nothing to do with the story.

There are sections like "the surveillance was going nowhere so..." and we get a section where he sits in a coffee shop and "remembers". We need you see to get an
L.A. Starks
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in the John Rain series. I really enjoyed the Japanese setting of the story, and the "stuck-between-two-cultures" battle of Rain. I am looking forward to reading other books in the series.
David Lucero
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
John Rain is a mercurial figure. A man of Japanese-American descent, who has lived in both American & Japan, but does not feel he fits in either place. In fact, the only place he seems to fit in is in the shadows. Having experienced harrowing firefights in the jungles of Vietnam during America's most unpopular war, Rain honed his skills as a fighter. After the war he moves to Japan where he continues training in martial arts, and putting his skills as a professional soldier into that of an assas ...more
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book because I liked witnessing the main character, who is a skilled assassin, navigate the complicated plot and kill his enemies, usually with his bare hands...

Looking at that sentence now, I wonder if I shouldn't be disturbed by my sentiment. I mean, I just admitted to enjoying an account of a man who makes a living by killing other people. Ask me point blank if this is ok, and my answer is, No, of course not. You shouldn't go around killing people. So what makes this book ok?

Apr 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I've been wanting to read this series, but so much time has gone by I realized I needed to reread this book. Unfortunately, I don't remember it at all.

Now I know why. Too much angst. While the rest of the series is supposed to be good, I really don't want to read another right now. Otherwise, my review remains the same, although I'm dropping this to 3 stars.

October2012 Review: 4 stars - A pretty good mystery & thriller, although there's a bit too much angst for me. Reminds me of David Morrell's
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, so much that I started it this morning and finished it this afternoon.
A thriller with a difference, the main character is an assassin working in Tokyo. The author makes the assassin likeable and very intriguing in a fast paced thriller.
I am interested to read that many of the reviewers on Goodreads consider that this series gets better so I intend to read more.
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Audible download) According to the author's website, Eisler has a black belt (it shows in the books, Rain's fights are described in loving detail by judo and karate movement name), worked for the CIA (and must not like most of them, for , in this first of the series at least, the CIA does not come off well) and worked in Japan for several years (and has high respect for Japanese customs.)

One always feels guilty reading (listening, actually) to a book like this for the hero is just about as anti
Craig Vernon
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Great character dialogue and good plots. A true thriller.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
4.5 stars

John Rain is awesome! He is a highly skilled assassin who lives and works in Tokyo's underworld.

The story is fast-paced and excellent - love all the little details that make John untouchable and super effective.

I would recommend the audio version as it is read by the author and you can hear how all the Japanese is pronounced.

Looking forward to reading more of these!
Lance Charnes
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of espionage tales
Eisler's John Rain isn't a cop or private detective or even on the "right" side of the law: he's a highly-paid assassin, well into middle age, stuck between the Japanese and American cultures represented by his now-late parents. That you can find sympathy for a hit man -- even one with ethics -- is a tribute to how well Eisler sets up his hero and, more importantly, his world, which is if anything sleazier and more corrupt than is Rain himself. The picture of Japan presented here is massively un ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
My eldest turned me onto this first of a series thriller over the Christmas holidays and I'm glad she did. Eisler is a soulful writer who takes his readers on an emotional roller coaster in this introduction to the primary antagonist John Rain.

As with most thrillers, this is not Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award material. Nevertheless, "Rain Fall" is a good little read and kept my interest throughout. The setting is unique as I don't recall ever reading anything from this genre that uses the
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Good story about a half-Japanese, half-American assassin, who falls for the daughter of one of his targets. Great details about Tokyo.
Ryan Sampey
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book Rain Fall by Barry Eisler is 363 pages, published in 2002 by Penguin Books Ltd. The genre is a little bit of mystery, thriller, romance, and realistic fiction. The story is a first person tale of John Rain. He's an ex-marine from the Vietnam era and a hit man who specializes in assassinations that look natural. What starts as a routine kill ends up in complete chaos. Rain falls in love with the daughter of his target and must face old enemies that are trying to control him. The book rea ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm huge spy/assassin story fan so I have been looking forward to picking this up off my TBR pile. This is Eisler's first novel (from '02) and having read his most recent, Fault Line, I must say it's wonderful to see how far he's come as a writer. Not that Rain Fall is a poor first novel, far from it. I found this first book of the Rain series to be a solid, entertaining read.

Although the character's aren't overly developed (I would like to know a little more about Kawamura's daughter, Midori),
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So... I was trying to think of how to eloquently state everything I was feeling after reading this, then I read my GR friend DG's review, and that pretty much sums it up. Beautiful, sad, exciting, poignant.

I liked how instead of all the usual guns and knives and bloody violence, John was straight forward and simple and if you needed killing he snapped your neck and was done with it. It seemed more realistic that all the flash. All the complicated particulars of his traveling around the city and
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-and-next, wcls
Is it wrong to like the assassin?

I liked John Rain more than I liked the story. Well, no. I liked John Rain and I liked the story. But it took a long time to tell it. Willing to give the next in the series a try.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
This series is cracking and I listened to them in those pre goodreads years.
Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom
It's been a long time since I read a modern thriller - I guess that's the genre for this book. With all the bad-ass assassin books out there it's really hard to make one stand out. So Mr. Eisler really made the right choice by renaming this one A Clean Kill in Tokyo, cause that title is what caught my interest. (It made me think of a John Woo movie.)
At times I thought John Rain was gonna be one of those Jason Bourne type protagonist, with skill and knowledge that rival a Super-hero like Batman.
Anna M.
I'm just not feeling this one now.... maybe another time.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I purchased this book, "A Clean Kill in Tokyo (John Rain, #1)" by Barry Eisler to read on my Kindle based on the recommendation of a Goodreads member. Not knowing really what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. The novel has a little bit of everything to please all tastes; mystery, thriller, romance, and espionage.

John Rain, the protagonist, is an assassin, an ex-marine from the Vietnam era and a hit man who specializes in assassinations that look natural. John had combat experience and a me
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting too much from this book, but it turned out to be a surprisingly complex and well-written thriller that never lost its forward drive. It stands out from other books in this genre because of the atmosphere that Eisler has captured with his strong sense of place, his authenticity, and his articulateness. There are a few images in this book that are stunning, such as his description of Japan's lights at night.

Eisler has also managed to fill this book with soulfulness while never
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-reads
Rating 2.5

Recently I read somewhere, which said something like, "sometimes, to enjoy literature, pick-up a novel that you think you might enjoy and read it without judgement." So, I picked-up this one. It was hard at times not to judge it, but as I continued reading I could manage to be less skeptical of few things.

There were mainly 3 reasons for choosing this novel,
1. It has something to do with Japan and I was hoping it would give some insight into the mysterious Japanese society.
2. It has an
Julie Davis
Mar 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
#25 - 2010.

Recommended by Matt. American born, half-Japanese, John Rain is a professional hit man with a strict set of rules for his targets: no women or children, only principles in a dispute. He specializes in "natural causes" deaths and has just pulled one off while giving us a bit of back story. Interestingly as the story goes on through fascinating twists and turns, we are not asked to find John a sympathetic character. We learn more of his story so that his life's work makes more sense but
Anne - Books of My Heart
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

The purpose of Thrifty Thursday is to read a book which was free (at some point).
Kindle freebie on April 12, 2013  (currently $7.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as of writing this post)
Overall rating 3.96 with 12,503 ratings and 773 reviews


A Clean Kill in Tokyo is a freebie I have had quite awhile but it came up, I think because it is in Kindle Unlimited.  It is also available with Whispersync for $1.99, with the author as the
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, series-thriller
In Barry Eisler's a Clean Kill in Tokyo (aka Rain Fall), the first instalment in the John Rain thriller series, this would hook you on the first page and keep you in suspense right to the end. John Rain is a half-Japanese, half-American assasin, who's speciality was giving his victims "natural causes." It all started when he went after his mark on the subway in Japan and gave him a "heart attack" in Tokyo. Then he gets involved with Midori, a beautiful jazz pianist in a band. When while he tried ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
There are things about assassin John Rain's last kill that are bothering him. As he begins to investigate the things that are niggling his brain, he becomes obsessed with the victim's daughter. The more he finds out about the victim, the more it becomes clear that the daughter is also in danger and it also puts John on the hit list by several factions within Tokyo.

This was a decent first book to a series. I liked John's character - he's got some issues/flaws but he still retains a sliver of mora
Buddy Draper
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is the first I’ve read of this author and I love the John Rain character. He’s an assassin with a good heart; something you can only imagine in a novel.
Gerald Sinstadt
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
This is an ambitious first novel that suffers as such endeavours often do from wanting to say too much. This is, after all, a thriller (maybe a bit too violent nevertheless) and it is a thriller with a devilishly clever plot and a setting that is fresh and intriguing, strongly conveyed. It earns its four stars.

John Rain, the central character, is a Japanese-Ameriican plying a shadowy, not to say shady, trade in Tokyo. He becomes romantically involved with the daughter of a murder victim (to say
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Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous " ...more

Other books in the series

John Rain (10 books)
  • A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain, #2)
  • Winner Take All (John Rain, #3)
  • Redemption Games (John Rain, #4)
  • Extremis (John Rain, #5)
  • The Killer Ascendant (John Rain, #6)
  • The Detachment (John Rain #7; Ben Treven #3)
  • Graveyard of Memories (John Rain, #8)
  • Zero Sum (John Rain, #9)
  • The Killer Collective (John Rain, #10; Ben Treven #4; Livia Lone #2.5)

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