Barry Eisler

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Last Assassin is Here

Hi all, I hope you'll forgive what I hope will be no more than an annual indulgence: an announcement that my new books goes on sale today. It's called The Last Assassin, and it's the fifth in the award-winning series about half-Japanese, half-American "contract killer with a conscience" (EW) John Rain.

I had a great time writing this book -- partly because the research took me to Barcelona and the Sea of Japan, of course, but more importantly because of the opportunity to spend more time with Rain as his character evolves. In The Last Assassin, our hero finds himself in unfamiliar circumstances -- not just geographically, but emotionally, as well. His romance with Israeli agent Delilah is deepening, but at the same time he learns of the existence of an infant son by a former love, Japanese jazz pianist Midori Kawamura. Even for an ordinary citizen, a love triangle is dangerous business. But for a guy like Rain, it's going to be downright deadly...

In the first four Rain books, the stakes, generally speaking, are Rain's life. In The Last Assassin, Rain's life, although in constant danger, hardly matters to him -- in fact, he would gladly trade it to protect his child from enemies who look at the child as a way to get to Rain. And the harder Rain tries, the worse the danger becomes, such that you can think of the plot line of the book as a series of increasingly desperate double-or-nothing bets Rain is forced to gamble, with his son's life and his own soul the stakes of the game.

My interest in those stakes and what Rain would do if forced to play for them became first the backbone, and finally the heart of the new book. The flesh, as ever, is suspense and action; realistic tradecraft and other operator tactics; evocative locations, in this case Barcelona, New York, Tokyo, and Wajima; steamy sex; most of all, a fascinating ensemble of characters led by Rain himself, a "multifaceted killer with the soul of a poet" (Mystery Ink Online).

The Rain who will take you through this book isn't the same man we met (seemingly so long ago!) in Rain Fall. Rain is aging, for one thing, and as he does so his priorities begin to shift. His outlook changes, too, in reaction to the loves he's known and losses he's endured throughout the series. Most of all, Rain isn't the loner he was, nor does he want to be. But building a clan -- his lover Delilah, his partner and friend, ex-Marine sniper Dox -- presents its own dangers to a man used to freedom of maneuver. As Rain notes in the opening of the book when he reconnoiters Barcelona before meeting Delilah there, "Barcelona was unfamiliar, but the real territory I was trying to navigate isn't marked on any map." That new territory, and Rain's attempt to find his way safely through it, is the story of The Last Assassin. I hope you'll enjoy it. And if you find yourself in one of the more than 30 cities I'll be promoting in through June and July, stop by. It would be good to see you.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Barry,

Great blog -- I check in from time to time and always find the discussions provocative and enlightening (and about as civil as they get).

Congrats on the new book. I looked at your tour schedule and noticed that Japan wasn't on the list and then also noticed for the first time that Rain Fall and Hard Rain are the only books in Japanese translation. Are Japanese translations of the other books in the works? Just curious.

Tom S (Tokyo)

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:21:00 AM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...


Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Rae said...

Yay! A new Rain book...can hardly wait to read it......

Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:31:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Tom, nice to see you here. Another martial arts type, everyone; Tom is a judoka (these days at the Kodokan in Tokyo) and jiu-jitsu practitioner, bilingual (Japanese and English), interested, informed, and insightful on politics, and a nice guy, too. I met him over four (!) years ago when we were both training at Ralph Gracie's Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy in Mountain View, California, where Tom patiently taught me a lot of good stuff and always pretended to break a sweat before submitting me...

The third Rain book was supposed to appear in Japanese well over a year ago, but the publication has been repeatedly delayed. My understanding is that my Japanese publisher, Sony's Village Books, is going through various corporate change-of-control issues, and that they're behind on many of their books. Supposedly #3 will be out by the end of June, but based on experience this isn't something I would want to bet on. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks JD and Rae! JD, I know you'll be at Thrillerfest; Rae, will you? Looking forward to meeting many of the people I've gotten to know here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Rae said...

Hi Barry,

Yeah, I'll be at Thrillerfest - and I have a fondness for single malt ;-)

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Brett Battles said...

Congratluations, Barry. Very exciting! Can't wait to start reading it. I'm planning on stopping by your signing at Mystery Bookstore tomorrow night. See you then.


Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

Hey Barry,


I'll be picking up The Last Assassin in the very near future, and will try and drop by your signing at the Borders in Saint Louis on the nineteenth.


Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

il più bene di fortuna, fatello.

I look forward to reading it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Susanne Savage said...

hey Barry

Are there any plans for MHS Alum to drink a toast to the new release in LA? I will try to drop by Mystery when you are there.

Susanne Savage
f/k/a Sue Hartenstine

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Peregrine said...

Congratulations, Barry! Looking forward to reading and just noticed you'll be in the Minneapolis area twice. I hope to make it to one of those stops.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:09:00 PM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

Funny, but I seemed to already have a copy. Hmmm, wonder how that happened?

Great job Barry, as usual.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Bravo Two Zero said...

Yo Barry, big tour schudule. Why so? Can you keep up with the blog to? BTW:great book!! fast reading, excelent dialog. See ya at the signings!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Bravo two zero said...

Hey Peregrine, Maybe I'll see ya at the B&N Roseville MN. Though the other MPLS date is quite a cool bookstore, just to close to the murder zone. Great store though...

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Maryann said...

Sorry you'll miss Chicago, but I have connections in Portland and they are more than willing to head to the B&N for me in August(cool store by the way). Sometimes not living in a large city has its drawbacks. Of course, I may have to buy a copy before then :o)

Friday, June 02, 2006 6:10:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Rae, glad you'll be at Tfest, and Brett and Susanne, looking forward to seeing you at The Mystery Store tonight. Paul, hope to see you in St. Louis. Charlie, thanks for the kind words, paisan. Peregrine, hope to see you in MN. LD, thanks, bro, it wouldn't have been as good a book without you. BTZ, thanks for enjoying the book. I'll try to keep up with the blog for sure and hope to see you in MN. Maryann, thanks for sending those Portland connections my way...

Good kickoff last night at Kepler's. About 120 people and sold a lot of books. Off to LA now... see y'all online and hopefully on the road.


Friday, June 02, 2006 8:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barry, the appearance of Rain washed out my plans for a series of short stories featuring an AmerAsian haiku writing hitwoman from Hoboken.
[Seriously, I enjoy the Rain books and look forward to reading the new one.]

John McAuley

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:25:00 AM  
Blogger ZenPupDog said...

Sorry I had to run this Friday. Last time, I was almost alone with you for 10 minutes. Tonight, you had a nice crowd. I'll arrange to get that nice Korean Film Producer to your blog. Thank goodness, the baby was very good. Hiromi chose to let me live. Curious if you have the masters to any of the TV spots done for The Mystery Channel in Japan? Those are what got me to read your books. The question I didn't get to ask was: Are you happy to not have 'Rain' in the title of this book?

- Alan

PS Getting one's mojo back was best done by Robert Crais with Joke Pike dealing with a crazed Grizzley.

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:55:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Thanks, John, and Alan, good to see you again -- I didn't realize you and ZPD were one and the same. I don't have the MC masters, but glad the spot I did there led you to the Rain books. I'm thrilled not to have "Rain This, Rain That" in the new title -- I never liked that stuff and thought it was gimmicky.

Hoo-ah, I'm beat. Off to bed, more signings tomorrow.


Friday, June 02, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

Man, and I had so many good titles on tap for you-

Rain Coat
Rain Puddle
Rain Shower
Rain Gauge
Rain Dance

See what you're missing?

Saturday, June 03, 2006 6:56:00 AM  
Anonymous cpdywr said...

I kinda like Driving Rain as a title. Oh well. Half way through the new book and love it. Barry, try to get closer to Toledo sometime.

Saturday, June 03, 2006 8:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Part of the action is in Barcelona? Great. I am Spanish and I like to read how foreigner authors see our cities, our people and so on. Very interesting.

I am not from Barcelona, but from Gijón.

I have read "Sicario" and inmidiately I have brought the second title of Ráin's serie. I have liked the Alfie's description a lot. And, of course, the delicious Midori.

Where can I find a CD from her? ;-)


Saturday, June 03, 2006 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Sheesh, I gotta wake up to this kind of abuse? ;-) (Rain Coat is my favorite, BTW)

CPD, glad you're enjoying the book, and hope to see you next year in Toledo.

Anonymous from Gijon -- thanks for the kind words about the books. I'll be in Gijon in July for Semana Negra and am looking forward to it. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever visited. The day I arrived, I phoned my wife and said, "We have to move here." Last time I said that, we wound up in Tokyo, so now she is concerned...

I can't get you a Midori CD, but here's someone who's close: Akiko Grace.

Saturday, June 03, 2006 8:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finished The Last Assassin in about 24 hours. I couldn't put it down until I was dat the end at around 4am. Some very powerful writing Barry. Especially when you dig into Rain's emotional rollercoaster ride. Great stuff.


Saturday, June 03, 2006 2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Semana Negra, great Festival! I will also go from Granada.

I think we will meet in Madrid, in the Black Train, in the way to Gijon.

You will enjoy it. Sure.


Saturday, June 03, 2006 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Wim, really glad you liked the book, and thanks for the kind words. Funny, I just got a review in the San Francisco Chronicle, which, while mostly good, wasn't so high on Rain's emotional side. It's been interesting for me to see reactions to Rain's inner life. Most people love it; others prefer him in killing machine mode. I guess the compromise is: he cries, but then he kills a lot of people right after...

Jesus, looking forward to seeing you on the Black Train and at Semana Negra.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be sure we´ll meet there.

Paco Ignacio has told me to present your books in Semana Negra with another great fan of Sicario, Paco Camarasa, a black book shopper from Barcelona.

I have write a text about Sicario, but it is of course in Spanish. It is for a jazz web, but I think you will like it.

Jesús Lens.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Congratulations, Barry! Can't wait to read it!

It looks like you'll have plenty of company at your signings in cooler climes. Lest you feel lonely in our hot summer weather, when most of us either hibernate or head to San Diego, a couple of us are planning on visitiing your signing in the desert this week!

Speaking of Thrillerfest, I can't help but ponder...did no one tell y'all about the desert heat when you planned this prestigious event in Phoenix? In July?

Again, congrats! Best to you on your tour!

Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Excellent, Jesus, looking forward to meeting you and thanks for agreeing to present my books.

Thanks Elizabeth, I'll look forward to seeing you at one of my desert appearances! Ah, Phoneix in July... but it is a dry heat, you know... ;-)

Sorry everyone I haven't posted anything new since the tour started. This week is crazy, but I think it'll ease up a little in a few days (it better or I'm going to have trouble making it to August...).


Sunday, June 04, 2006 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Berandor said...

Ah, good. I was afraid the steamy sex got cut :)

Monday, June 05, 2006 5:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick Pricken said...

Err... Berandor is me. Sorry for using a pseudonym. Habit. To make it up to you, I'll buy Last Assassin, and maybe even read it...

Monday, June 05, 2006 5:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack Conley said...

Hey Barry -

Are you still going to be at the Borders in Dallas on the 12th?


Monday, June 05, 2006 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger ZenPupDog said...

Law Dawg? You missed the puns ... like "Rain of Terror" as well as
Rain Gutter
Rain Boots
Confetti Rain
and worse considering the ethnic background of our man 'Junichi Fujiwara' ...

Barry - You gotta figure that one of your readers comes from the liberal camp - though I'm an oddball type. NASA/AIR FORCE IT support as a contractor, SONY pictures, IRS, and Symantec, Kodansha , Nichimen Graphics and now Apple. At one time, trained in Aikido with Bob Osman after one of Chuck Norris' instructors lost his temper.

As to ''the mojo'' and tool use .. I'd like to see Dox and John and Delilah do some cross training. The team needs someone to fill Tatsu's and Harry's shoes.

Quicksilver Wiki and Wikipedia is where you'll see traces of me as Sparky, else I'm ZPD - though I share the same name as your brother. - Alan

Monday, June 05, 2006 9:48:00 PM  
Blogger ZenPupDog said...

Forgot to add - the book was good. I was compelled to finish it by Saturday morning - Alan

Monday, June 05, 2006 9:52:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Jack, I'll be in Dallas on June 12, and hope to see you there.

ZPD, you are a man of many guises. Sorry we didn't have a chance to talk more in LA. Glad you enjoyed the book!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 6:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Doug P said...


Great job as always. Omedeto gozaimasu!

Sorry we will miss you in Milan...but since you will be so close, you really should consider sneaking over to Siena for the Paleo. I could certainly see some interesting possibilities for Rain in the midst of a jam packed crowd watching a medieval horse race through the narrow streets of an ancient Italian fortress/city.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006 6:35:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Barry, if Rain continues to examine his feminine side, you might want to call the next one “Singing in the rain”. Finished the book in two nights. Liked it a lot, but didn’t love it. Don’t make the mistake that Robert Parker made with Spencer; where Spencer is so wrapped up with his inner problems that he has become boring. People don’t want their heroes to be like themselves, if they were, why read! Hope that comment to me, (hit something wrong on the key board) about being in Toledo next year is really on your schedule.

Rain needs to update his martial arts training. Judo in my humble opionion is more sport orientated than for the street. Have him look into Systema, it seems more like him.

I was also surprised to see him drop a partly loaded magazine from his auto onto the floor, forcing him to look for it in the dark, sloppy. Teach him a tactical reload, might need those extra rounds.

Hope to see you next year.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the too-kind words. BTW, you're definitely way too humble about your grappling (and, I know, other martial arts) skills. If anyone ever wanted to test the author of the Rain books to see whether he was the real deal, I think they'd be in for a nasty surprise (and I would want to be there to watch

Sorry to hear that the Japanese translations have been delayed, but I hope that won't prevent you from coming out this way soon.

Good luck w/the tour!

Tom S

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:14:00 PM  
Blogger JRH said...

Barry, being behind as usual, I read the last three book consecutively and they made one hell of a long novel (kept me up until the wee hours several nights in a row). I was fascinated by all the knives that Mr. Rain and Dox had found, confiscated, bought and used. I was looking on your web site hoping that you had made a "top 10" list of them, as you had several other items, hoping I wouldn't have to go back through the book and note them. I find it interesting and want to check them out on the web, or some local shops. (Damn, can't avoid this collecting bug I have.)

Thanks for the very enjoyable reading and Semper Fi! (Yes all Marines are "former" Marines, and I like the Dox character. They didn't even have "oorah" back when I was active USMC!) Interesting that you got that feedback on "clips" versus "magazines". That shows a certain generational divide. I was amongst the last of the Marines to use the M-1 Garand in 30.06 and we certainly called them "clips" because that's what they were. When we transitioned to the M-14, etc. the term magazines came into general use.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

JRH -- thanks for enjoying the books so much and glad you enjoyed the "mistakes" page on my website. Top ten knives... hmm, that's a good idea for the next website entry...


Friday, July 21, 2006 8:09:00 AM  

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