Hieronymus Bosch       Jack Reacher      John Rain

michaelconnelly.com leechild.com barryeisler.com

I enjoy thrillers. And if we were sharing a delicious meal, say at Fenouil in Portland (fenouilinthepearl.com), or at Fiamma in Vegas (fiammavegas.com), and you asked me to name my three favorite characters  in this genre, I would tell you about Harry, Jack and John, three common names for three uncommon characters.

This evening, I was working on a Good Life Book Review for Barry Eisler’s new book Inside Out, and it occurred to me that if you do not know about these three characters, you need to. If you like thrillers, you will love these characters.

Since I am working on a review for a Barry Eisler book, I will start with John Rain. Someday I will cover Jack and Harry.

The first book that John Rain appears in is Rain Fall. This book came out in 2002, and I still remember buying it at the Maple Grove, MN Barnes and Noble. (I loved that store!) Two great bookstores are in Maple Grove- Barnes and Noble and Northwest Books. Incidentally, Chris, Marc and I went to Northwest Books this past Feb, however, that is an adventure story for another time.

From the back of my copy of Rain Fall –  “John Rain kills people. For a living. His specialty: making it seem like death by natural causes. But he won’t take out just anyone. The job must be an exclusive. The target must be a principal player. And he’ll never murder a woman. Half American, Half Japanese, but out of place in both worlds, Rain bases his operation in Tokyo, where even a crowded subway car is filled with opportunities – like slipping a pacemaker-jamming device onto a victim. John Rain may not be a good man, but he’s good at what he does. Reliably discreet, coldly efficient, Rain is the best hit man money can buy…Until he falls for the beautiful daughter of his last kill.”

A hit man with a conscience? I was hooked.  Barry Eisler give this character lots of depth and internal struggles that worked for me.

Additionally, it sure seemed to me like Barry really knew what he was writing about. Later, I discovered that Barry Eisler used to work for the CIA. That expained the great background on spycraft. For more on Barry Eisler check out his great website – barryeisler.com or his blog  –barryeisler.blogspot.com

Much of the action in the first few John Rain books takes place in Japan, and reading these books made feel like I was there, that I could “see” what it was liked there. I look forward to visiting Japan someday.

John Rain enjoys life, and he has certain things he really likes. He (like Harry Bosch) loves Jazz, and John Rain loves Single Malt Whiskey.

I knew a little about Jazz, before I read The John Rain books however after reading the John Rain books I really checked Jazz out.

Now, I am proud to say that I have 387 Jazz songs on my iTunes Jazz playlist. For me – on a cold rainy night in Portland there is nothing quite like Eric Alexander or Melody Gardot on the iPod player and some Glenfiddich or Woodford Reserve in a glass and my lovely wife sitting with me in the living room.

If you like thrillers check out the John Rain books you will not be disappointed.

Steven Shomler goodlifebookreviews.com

This post written to Eric Alexander’s Jazz album entitled Nightlife in Tokyo – you should check it out as well!