I have followed John Rain's saga ever since the very first book, Rain Fall. Sure, the road had its ups and downs but it was totally unforgettable. Barry Eisler knows how to create a cool yet deadly character that will stay with you forever. The problem is, can he keep him cool and deadly while exploring fresh storyline ideas - and his character grows older?
In Requiem for an Assassin, Rain is forced out of his retirement in Paris. An old nemesis had abducted his friend Dox and unless he performs three naturally-looking assassinations, his friend pays the price. Is the deal just bad or is it doomed from the gates and both Rain and his friend will end up shark bait?
The clock is ever menacingly ticking; the stakes keep getting higher and higher; the locales keep changing from Thailand and Vietnam to LA, from Singapore to Rotterdam; and Rain, uncharacteristically, has to accept unsolicited help from old friends that had actually once been older foes.
The problems with this book actually started from the previous installment of the series (The Last Assassin) and they can be summarized into this phrase: Rain started having doubts. Having an alienated kid and a steady love interest has dulled his edge and diluted his determination.
Character development and fancy literally footwork aside, I think that, in the end, Barry Eisler tries to morally save his character - and in the process is corroding him to the core. A cold-blooded assassin may have his inescapable reasons to have turned out that way - but he cannot exist on a moral high-ground no matter what. And if he is no longer the cool cold-blooded assassin, he is no longer John Rain.
Having said that, I want to make clear that this is one of the best fiction books I read in years. I enjoyed both its tactics and action as well as its reasoning and detailed descriptions.