Sunday, March 2, 2014

Redemption Games (John Rain, #4)Redemption Games by Barry Eisler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“Killing Rain” (also known as “Redemption Games”) is Barry Eisler’s fourth book in the series featuring John Rain, an accomplished contract assassin of half-Japanese and half-American extraction. The Mossad hires him to kill a notorious bomb maker whose expertise contributed to the loss of countless lives. John recruits a friend of his, Dox, as a partner for the job. The assassination does not go as planned and Rain and Dox become targets themselves. The plot is solid and rather interesting, if quite formulaic.

The blurb on the back cover says “If Quentin Tarantino ever got to take a crack at the James Bond franchise, chances are the resulting film would resemble one of Eisler’s novels about John Rain.” Well, I haven’t read other Rain novels, but if Mr. Tarantino wrote dialogues with such level of skill as Mr. Eisler demonstrates in “Killing Rain”, he would be booed out of movie theaters. The juvenile, idiotic banter between John Rain and Dox sounds as if it were written for a TV sitcom. Take the following conversation at the urinals: “Hey, man, no peeking.” “Don’t worry,” I said, surprising myself with a rare rejoinder, “from this far, I can only make out large objects.” So funny I forgot to laugh!

The characters lack any depth and their behavior is completely plot-driven. The pivotal scene at the Brown Sugar restaurant is written all wrong; it is psychologically implausible and makes the characters feel one-dimensional. The ending belongs to a different book. From the literary point of view, “Killing Rain” is junk. However, if a reader is only interested in the plot, the novel does provide some entertainment, and can be read in one sitting (were one to consider it a plus).

Two stars.

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