Winner Take All (previously published as Rain Storm and Choke Point) (John Rain series)

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9781482736168: Winner Take All (previously published as Rain Storm and Choke Point) (John Rain series)

Previously published as Rain Storm and Choke Point

John Rain has disappeared to Brazil to escape the killing business and the enemies encircling him in Japan. But the CIA isn't willing to lose its premier "natural causes" contract killer, and they force Rain to take on a high-risk assignment: eliminate a ruthless arms dealer operating in Southeast Asia.

The upside? Financial, of course, along with the ongoing chimera of moral redemption. But first, Rain will have to survive the downside: a second assassin zeroing in on the target; the target's consort, an alluring and dangerous woman with an agenda of her own; the possibility that the entire mission is nothing but an elaborate setup. From the gorgeous beaches of Rio to the glitzy casinos of Macau to the gritty back streets of Hong Kong and Kowloon, Rain becomes a reluctant player in an international game far deadlier and more insidious than any he has encountered before.

"In his superb thriller series featuring charismatic Japanese-American assassin John Rain, author Barry Eisler serves up steamy foreign locales, stunning action and enough high-tech weaponry to make for an A-plus boys-and-their-toys read."
--New York Daily News

Includes a note from the author introducing the new edition. This is book #3 in the John Rain assassin series, though each entry is written as a standalone and you can read them in any order you like.

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From the Author:

Introduction to the New Edition

Rereading the books for this rerelease of the series has made me acutely aware of the degree to which whatever most interested me at the time I was writing surfaces in the story. I had left the CIA shortly before beginning A Clean Kill in Tokyo, for example, and I can see now how much surveillance, countersurveillance, and other aspects of tradecraft were still on my mind at the time. A Lonely Resurrection includes Osaka, where I lived from 1995 to 1997 after moving from Tokyo. And now I see how much the plot of Winner Take All is informed by the way 9/11, and more specifically America's overreaction to 9/11, was increasingly on my mind when I wrote it.

This is what I came up with when I was working on the manuscript in 2003:

"All right. Belghazi is part of a list. A hit list. Of course, it's not called a 'hit list.' Even post-nine-eleven, no one would use a description like that."

I raised my eyebrows, thinking maybe the geniuses who had once named an email sniffing program "Carnivore" had finally taken a class on marketing.

He took a sip of coffee. "The list is officially called the 'International Terrorist Threat Matrix,' or ITTM, for short. Unofficially, it's just called 'the list.' It was created and is continually updated by the Agency, in our capacity as central clearing house for all intelligence produced by the community. Its purpose is to identify the key players in the international terrorist infrastructure. Like the FBI's Most Wanted List, but broader. You know, a Who's Who..."

"The list existed before nine-eleven, but it's been substantially revised and expanded since then. And, since then, it has also doubled as a hit list -- a nice, deniable hit list, because it's really just a wiring diagram and has been around in one form or another for a long time. So no one had to worry about giving the order to draw up a brand new list that might make for riveting testimony in front of a hypocritical Congressional committee some time down the road..."

He took a sip from his cup. "Look, some of the individuals in question enjoy a lot of political protection. Some of them, in fact, are technically U.S. citizens."

What has been revealed since?

The New York Times, May 29, 2012

The Washington Post, October 23, 2012

And if you had any doubts about Kanezaki's claim that the list includes American citizens, the government's subsequent actions should reassure you.

Salon, September 30, 2011

Salon, October 20, 2011

So what was posited as fiction in 2003 is proven as fact less than a decade later. What might have been dismissed as conspiracy a little while ago is now no more than the news of the day.

For those who share Rain's aversion to euphemisms, by the way, it's doubly endearing to know the Obama Administration has named what in Kanezaki's world was known simply as "the list" as the "Disposition Matrix," instead.

The Guardian, October 24, 2012

All of which perhaps suggests that thriller writers are slightly ahead of the establishment media -- and that the government is slightly ahead even of thriller writers. If so, I hate to think about what's next for America when I consider the plot of the seventh Rain book, The Detachment.

About the Author:

Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

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