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Hard Rain

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John Rain is a half-American, half-Japanese hitman (introduced in 2002’s Rain Fall) who savors a smooth malt whiskey as much as turning some heavy’s legs to sushi. This time out, Rain gets ensnared in a web of zealous cops, rogue CIA agents, fatally irresistible strippers, and one sumo-size mobster. While Eisler offers a convincing noir landscape and action scenes that could make John Woo drool, the too-complex plot is peopled by characters both sharp-tongued and hollow. Plus, Rain is given to hokey clenched-jaw quips. ”The people who know me,” he muses, ”seem to be equally divided between wanting to kill me and wanting me to kill.” At times, the reader might be inclined more toward the former.

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