for as long as I can remember the idea of spies and assassins have always intrigued me. I think that is probably normal when you look at the world we live in where they have become a sensation both in written and film mediums. Even video games have picked up on this idea of letting us play as the assassin and we love it. The thing here is a fine line between the thrill that we feel from playing, watching or reading our hero assassin take down the “bad guys” and where it just becomes the same old story. I think that has happened to me with one of the books that I started at the beginning of the month with the assassin in the John Rain series by Barry Eisler.
I am in no way trying to knock this book as much as suggest that some portions of the first 25% just really don’t make that much sense and it felt very antiquated. This is something I had been thinking about for perhaps a week now trying to figure out the best way to put it and a way that would make sense beyond my own thought if you catch my drift. Then it hit me this morning while slugging down my first cup of coffee that most of the spy thriller style books that I have been reading in the last few years take place much more in a near past as it were. Say post 9/11 or shortly before that giving them a more familiar feel to the modern reader. This has led me to put this book back on the shelf for now and perhaps I’ll give it another shot later on.
The next thing that hit me was when I compared my top three favorite spies and/or assassins from the authors that I have enjoyed to the that of the character portrayed in Clean Kill in Tokyo it struck me that John Rain wasn’t in the same league as the others. Think about the dangerous nature that Ludlum gives Jason bourne or the vicious Mitch Rapp from Vince Flynn’s novels. Or even the reluctant spy Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy has created a sensation with using the cold war as the back drop for. It struck me here that at least two of my new favorite characters that fit that bill in my more recent reads. We have J. C. Banister from The Fixer series by Rex Carpenter who is every bit as lethal or Jack Noble from Noble Intentions by L. T. Ryan who I wouldn’t want to mix it up with even on his off days. I might add that a number of Ryan’s books are free on Amazon besides season 1 of Noble Intentions.
I don’t know about you, but when I read a spy thriller I want to feel that intense action. The danger of the characters in the story. I want the author to paint that picture of a character that can match the intensity of the type of story that this genre demands of it. This is why I have chosen to move on from this book and move on to something that will give me that satisfaction that I desire from this genre. In time I may revisit John Rain and see if he can trip my trigger at some point. In the mean time I still have some undead to send back to the read shelf before I can move on to something new. I doubt it will take long though to fill that requirement.