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Summary

Returning to Tokyo in 1982 after a decade of mercenary work in the Philippines, a young John Rain learns that the killing business is now controlled by Victor, a half-Russian, half-Japanese sociopath who has ruthlessly eliminated all potential challengers. Victor gives Rain a choice: kill a government minister or die a grisly death. But the best route to the minister is through his gorgeous Italian wife, Maria, a route that puts Rain on a collision course not only with Victor but with the shadowy forces behind the Russian's rise to dominance - and the longings of Rain's own conflicted heart.

It's a battle between kingpin and newcomer, master and apprentice, a zero-sum contest that can only end with one man dead and the other the world's foremost assassin.

©2017 Barry Eisler (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Brilliant

Once again a fantastic story, and amazing audio. Barry has an amazing voice and his stories are gripping

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Great book filling in interesting background.

Barry Eisler has now established himself as best narrator of his own audiobooks. Story some interesting background about how Rain developed as the go to man for lethal dark ops.

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  • shelley
  • 28-06-17

Welcome back John Rain!

Oh Thank You Barry Eisler! I've been hoping that John Rain would make an appearance at some point and that the author hadn't given him up. Since he has been writing some other really good stand alone books I was curious if Rain had been retired.
Anyway back to this book. Basically this book is about John Rain being set up. He's given a difficult assignment of killing a politician by an unbalanced Russian ex spetznaz who is being used by an ex CIA honcho working the wrong side now. The plan is to have Rain complete the job based on intelligence provided by them and they will kill him afterward.
It's very interesting to listen to his introspective examination of his situation and his calculations of how he he will counterattack and his anxiety over whether he can pull it off. This being a much younger John Rain, he has not yet honed his skills to the lethal weapon he will become.
I think Eisler does a fantastic job narrating his own books.
This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-17

Eisler is the Best Narrator for hosting Books

Eisler's pronunciation of Japanese (maybe with a hint of American accent) is certainly a plus. It's nice to have Rain as. "player" again instead of wanting to quit all of the time. It gives the books that take place later in time more depth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 28-06-17

Excellent John Rain suspense thriller!

Listening to Zero Sum just after completing Brad Thor's newest novel in his Scot Harvath series may have affected my rating of this John Rain novel. Although Zero Sum is Book 9 in Barry Eisler's John Rain series, it is the first in the series chronologically; it goes back to 1982 when Rain was around 30 years old. He grew up in both Japan and the US and is very fluent in both languages. Rain dropped out of high school at age 17 to join the US Army and he served in Vietnam. After that he joined the CIA briefly and then moved on to become a contract killer is Japan until he made a major error and was forced to leave the country. He moved to the Philippines for almost a decade before he became persona non grata there so he moved back to Japan in 1982 hoping he would be welcome there. That is the point that this novel starts.

I am a longtime fan of author Barry Eisler and his John Rain series. I rate most of his novels 5 star. Eisler along with his long time friend JA (Joe) Konrath are two of few well established authors with major publishing houses who moved early on to self publishing and they deserves substantial credit along with Amazon and others for bringing down the price of books. He also republished all of first six John Rain novels with new titles and with Eisler himself narrating. I've been very critical of such authors such as Lee Child and Brad Thor for republishing some of their audio novels when I already had copies of the original publication. That criticism does not apply to Barry Eisler although I already owned the original publication of his first six John Rain novels because the narration was much improved and the new versions were inexpensive. Zero Sum for example cost me only $1.99 rather than a full credit.

Eisler has been experimenting with other types of novels for several years. I am very pleased with him returning to his John Rain series. Zero Sum is an excellent addition to the John Rain series, but in my opinion it does not quite deserve 5 star rating for the story itself. Eisler demonstrates again that he is an outstanding narrator. Narration is so good that it brings the overall rating up to 5 stars.

I recommend all novels in the John Rain series because all are worthwhile and because Barry Eisler more than any other established author deserves credit for speeding the acceptance of self publishing.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Dusty Cooper
  • 15-11-18

Great book

I like that the author is reading it, I think you get more out of it when you get to hear it for the authors perspective, you get to see a little more of their vision of it.

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  • Mr Dangerous
  • 01-11-18

Stinker.

This felt juvenile. Thin characters. Amateur plot. The romance was surface. The author has clearly never been to japan, but only read about it or if he did it was just to tourist traps. He missed any of the feel for it. Could not get through it.

His reading was rough. Especially his italian woman voice.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 01-09-18

Great series, but needs a different narrator

I love this series and was so happy to see a new one as I have read all the others. But this time the author, who I admire for his writing, did the narrating. It ruined it for me. So it pains me to say that his voice is not the voice of an assassin in my view and seemed way out of character with the protagonist of the series, and that was very problematic for me. The voice needs to match up with the character, and the voice of this main character needed something way different, Plus the lisp was out of synch with a protagonist who is portrayed as a powerful killing machine. The author should stick to writing his wonderful books and leave the narration to a professional narrator please. With a different narrator I would have given more stars.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 01-05-18

Rain reigns in the spy/assassin game

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about John Rain, Barry throws a curve and goes prequell. One of the best in a long time, full of both action and thoughtful parts. Plenty of action... John Rain is the bad as that Jack Reached wishes he was. Good job Barry, once again.

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  • JC
  • 04-04-18

Definitely Zero Sum

My oh my, how clever John Rain continues to be. This was an excellent novel and the antagonist was beyond wonderful. Why Barry Eisler has not yet made John Rain into a motion picture, I’ll never know. I highly recommend this book to all! Enjoy!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Carver
  • 17-11-17

Another solid Rain saga

Glad to have Rain back! Story was intriguing. I have only two small complaints. First, Rain seems a bit untouchable as a main character for me. He never gets hurt or seemingly close to injury which is a bit unbelievable. Second, while I like the narrator, his Italian accent was atrocious. But I enjoyed the book immensely and will listen to the next installment. Oh, last thing...one of the things I LOVE about the author is his use of the language. I always learn five or six words I have never heard with each new book!

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  • Jack
  • 01-11-17

A great glimpse back

I've enjoyed the entire series of Rain books and this glimpse into his earlier days was very enjoyable and entertaining. As usual, the narrative by the author was excellent. His pronunciation of the names and places in the story is always very informative and really adds to the experience. He also is best suited for knowing exactly what he is wanting to impart with Rain. Glad to see this addition to the series.