Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Graveyard of Memories, Available Today

Okay, today's the day: the new Rain novel, Graveyard of Memories, just launched in Kindletrade paperback; and audiobook, narrated by your humble author. It's an "Origin of Rain" story, set in Tokyo in 1972, and I think you're going to enjoy it.

Writing this prequel was a blast:

First, because it was an opportunity to get to know Rain before he became the cool professional we get to know later—while his reflexes are quick but his instincts and tactics still callow.

Second, because of the challenge of recreating the Tokyo of four decades ago. I always do a lot of onsite research for the books I write, but this time I was forced to do so only in those parts of the city that have changed little with time (here are some of my location photos), and to supplement that research with books of old photographs and interviews with long-time Tokyo residents.

Third, because it was so satisfying to finally get to tie together all the fragments about his past that Rain hints at in the other books. For first-time readers, these fully developed fragments will make for a compelling story; for existing fans, the fragments will function as fun Easter eggs, too.

And finally, because I love the heroine of this story—Sayaka, an ethnic Korean girl, confined to a wheelchair, older than Rain and also tougher and savvier. One of the things Rain learns in the course of the book is the way being in the life endangers those around him. It's not a lesson he learns willingly, and he accepts it only at great cost.

BTW, I'm so honored to have received these kind words from the legendary Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple, and author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur; What the Plus!; Enchantment; and a bunch of other books I've learned a ton from.

There are some things in life you don't want to end. Massages, Thanksgiving dinner, and Steve Jobs product introductions are in this group. If you're into thrillers, I would add Graveyard of Memories.

Seriously, this book is insanely great—especially if you're a Japanese-American like me who isn't offended by a racial stereotype of stone-cold, martial-arts, samurai-assassin, 9.5-fingered yakuza Japanese people. Steve Jobs taught me it's better to be feared than loved, anyway.

If you want to savor Graveyard for as long as possible, read every article and watch every video Barry includes in the Acknowledgments before you read the book. By doing this, you'll learn about paraplegic sex, gun-versus-knife killing range, flying-triangle strangles, and killing people by electrocution according to Dartmouth.

Then, when you read the book, you'll have a much better appreciation of what's going on. It's like the difference between drinking regular coffee and artisanal coffee—which is another thing you'll learn about. Rain makes all this action child's play. After I read Graveyard, I wanted to go on a tour of Tokyo to visit all the spots that John Rain hung out—up for Raincaching, anyone?

And be sure to pay attention to a character called Gai Kawasaki because he isn't killed off. Like the Terminator, maybe he'll be back. Come to think of it, what are the odds that Barry would name a character Gai Kawasaki? I am just so happy it wasn't the name he gave the medical student in the morgue...you'll see why.

Speaking of audiobooks, I've now finished narrating my entire backlist, so audiobook lovers like me can now get all ten novels, plus the four short works, finally all with the same narrator (he's pretty good, too—the New York Times says:

Male readers, in my experience, have more trouble sounding like female characters than do females imitating men, and Brits, in general, are better at this than Americans. (An exception is the recent thriller "Inside Out," read by its author, Barry Eisler, who is also an exception to the rule that writers should not be allowed to publicly declaim their own prose.)

You can sample 'em all right here. Brilliance Audio is my audio publisher, and they've been a joy to work with, even during studio days involving an exceptionally cold Michigan winter. :)

Starting today, I'll be visiting some terrific bookstores to promote the book: Book Carnival in Orange; Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego; Kepler's in Menlo Park (Valentine's Day launch party at the Palo Alto Four Seasons); Books & Books in Miami; Murder by the Book in Houston. If you're around, come by and say hello. See you on the road and thanks for your support!


P.S. By happy coincidence, today is also officially The Day We Fight Back, a movement against mass, unaccountable surveillance. Call your local legislator; talk it up on social media; host a banner. Be a part of We the People.