John Rain has a personal issue that might be enough to draw
him out and make him vulnerable to his enemies. A man with
a problem and a well-developed talent for killing people,
it makes sense that when Rain’s personal and professional
lives collide the body count will be high.
In The Last Assassin, John Rain discovers he has a son.
Rain’s history with the child’s mother complicates
the situation, which is worsened by the revelation that
the mother and child are being watched by Rain’s enemies.
As a result, Rain is not on top of his game, distracted
by his emotions and his concern for the safety of the boy
and his mother.
Add in a lover, a woman who knows how to operate in Rain’s
world, and powerful enemies who have a personal grudge against
Rain and you have all the ingredients for an action-packed
Eisler skillfully weaves the history in, bit by bit. As
someone new to his work, I had no difficulty following the
storyline or absorbing the critical details. Gradually,
a clear picture of what led to this point in Rain’s
life emerges, together with sudden revelations that shift
your expectations about what’s happening and how things
It is also true that some twists in the story rely on well-trodden
ground in fiction. Rain is the stubborn, independent man
who won’t open up, even to the women on the edge of
his life. The vindictive woman assuming she’s been
scorned takes matters into her own hands and determines
the outcome for Rain long before he’s finished pursuing
his own solution to the problem.
There was one thing I was puzzled about. Delilah references
a character named Dox on page 22. In the context of what
was said, I understood this was a person she’d been
romantically involved with quite some time ago. Rain works
with a friend named Dox, and I wondered if it was the same
person, but when Delilah and Dox were together (page 216)
it seemed evident he wasn’t someone she’d been
involved with before. It was a point of confusion I had
for almost two hundred pages and I did wonder why the same
name had been used. However, that’s a minor issue.
Given the nature of the targets and the level of discretion
they used in all other manners, I felt the recon near the
end of the book came a bit too easy. Rain’s plan also
relied heavily on something they could have no absolute
guarantee of control over (the location of the inside man).
While Rain was operating alone, I expected potential mistakes
of that magnitude, because his emotions were overriding
his logic. However, as a team of professionals, I would
have expected one of the others assisting him with his final
targets to point out the obvious flaw in the plan.
There were a few other niggling points for me, but they
were minor and discussing them would involve critical spoilers.
All things considered, I felt that this was an enjoyable
read. Anyone who likes fast-paced thrillers with plenty
of sex and action should like The Last Assassin.
As an aside, I feel Eisler demonstrates he’s capable
of vivid description, tight pacing and solid storytelling.
I also know from reading his blog that Barry is intelligent
and has a keen interest in politics and social issues. I’d
love to see Barry Eisler combine his writing strengths with
his insights and write a political thriller with some real
substance to it that delves into the heart of critical issues
of the day.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Sandra Ruttan’s debut suspense novel, Suspicious Circumstances,
will be released in January 2007.
Praise for Suspicious Circumstances:
“A gripping adventure, a large cast of marvelous characters, and twists
that follow turns. Read it. You’ll love it too.””
Robert Fate, author of Baby Shark
“Sandra Ruttan has graced the world of psychological thrillers
with this fast-paced, absorbing tale, fraught with corruption, murder,
mistrust, a number of unconscionable villains and two exceptionally
likable protagonists, all craftily entangled in a delightfully twisted
plot. Sit back and be prepared to get lost in this riveting story,
because you won’t want to put it down until you’ve turned
the very last page.”
JB Thompson, author of The Mozart Murders
"Suspicious Circumstances is a plot with endless twists and turns,
lots of unexpected heroes and villains, and enough unanswered questions
to keep you reading to the very end!"
Julia Buckley, author of
The Dark Backward
“Suspicious Circumstances twists and turns and twists again,
leaving the reader breathless and unsure which end is up. And that's
the beginning. Ruttan's deft touch intrigues and satisfies, making
her a powerful new force in the mystery field.”
JT Ellison, author of All The Pretty Girls, MIRA 2007
“A well executed procedural with a spark between our protagonists,
an excellent feel for political machinations on a small town scale
and a plot that twists and turns like a bad tempered rattlesnake.”
D. McLean, Crime Scene Scotland
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