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Authors: Barry Eisler

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John Rain 08: Graveyard of Memories

BOOK: John Rain 08: Graveyard of Memories
10.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



A Clean Kill in Tokyo
(previously published as
Rain Fall

A Lonely Resurrection
(previously published as
Hard Rain

Winner Take All
(previously published as
Rain Storm

Redemption Games
(previously published as
Killing Rain

(previously published as
The Last Assassin

The Killer Ascendant
(previously published as
Requiem for an Assassin

Fault Line

Inside Out

The Detachment


The Lost Coast

Paris Is a Bitch

The Khmer Kill

London Twist


The Ass Is a Poor Receptacle for the Head: Why Democrats Suck at Communication, and How They Could Improve

Be the Monkey: A Conversation about the New World of Publishing (with J. A. Konrath)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.


Text copyright © 2014 Barry Eisler

All rights reserved.


No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.


Published by Thomas & Mercer, Seattle


Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Thomas & Mercer are trademarks of
, Inc., or its affiliates.


ISBN-13: 9781477818169

ISBN-10: 1477818162


Cover design by Jeroen ten Berge


Library of Congress Control Number: 2013917641

For the memory of Michael Hastings, and in solidarity with Barrett Brown


Start Reading

chapter one

chapter two

chapter three

chapter four

chapter five

chapter six

chapter seven

chapter eight

chapter nine

chapter ten

chapter eleven

chapter twelve

chapter thirteen

chapter fourteen

chapter fifteen

chapter sixteen

chapter seventeen

chapter eighteen

chapter nineteen

chapter twenty

chapter twenty-one

chapter twenty-two

chapter twenty-three

chapter twenty-four

chapter twenty-five

chapter twenty-six

chapter twenty-seven

chapter twenty-eight

chapter twenty-nine

chapter thirty

chapter thirty-one

chapter thirty-two

chapter thirty-three

chapter thirty-four

chapter thirty-five

chapter thirty-six

chapter thirty-seven

chapter thirty-eight

chapter thirty-nine


Author’s Note

About the Author

Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward.



f there’s one lesson I learned early on during the decades I’ve spent in this business, it’s that of all the qualities that distinguish a hard target from everyone else, among the most important is self-control. Yes, you have to be able to think like the opposition, which enables you to spot the ambush. And yes, you have to be able to take immediate, violent action in case—
—your ability to spot the ambush fails. And yes, sentiment is a weakness. But fundamental to the rest is self-control. Because if you’re not in control of yourself, someone else is, most likely an enemy, and in my business, an enemy isn’t someone who wants the promotion you’re after, or who covets your corner office, or who wants to beat you on the tennis court or golf course or display a better car in his driveway. In my business, an enemy is someone determined to end your life, and probably with the means to bring it about.

But there’s another lesson, too, one that took longer to learn and that, in the end, is even more important. You have to live with what you’ve done. Not the killing as such. If you couldn’t do that, you wouldn’t have gotten into the business in the first place. You wouldn’t have been able to. No, I’m talking about the consequences of killing—to your conscience, your relationships, your future, your life. If you knew at the outset what you understood at the end, would you make the same choices, take the same risks, accept the same sacrifices? No. No one would. You can’t appreciate the weight of that burden until after you’ve assumed it. You can’t comprehend what it really means.

But in Tokyo in 1972, I didn’t know any of that. I was going on guts, instinct, and youthful reflexes. The real hard target skills came later. And acquiring them almost killed me.

I was a CIA bagman at the time, part of a cash-for-contracts program that got exposed in 1975. Google “
Lockheed bribery scandals
” and you can find out all about it. Well, not
about it. A lot more would have come out if I hadn’t been on cleanup detail. You have to remember, the history the powers-that-be feed you always excludes what they managed to bury. Or whom.

My case officer was a guy named Sean McGraw, a cantankerous Korean War vet and old Asia hand. Christians in Action had some Japanese politicians on the payroll, an army acquaintance had told me, handing me McGraw’s number, and they needed someone with an Asian face and local language skills to handle the cash. I had just returned to the States from Vietnam, having left the military under a cloud, the origins of which I was able to understand only years later. My mother, the American half of the marriage, had just died; I had no brothers or sisters; and America felt even less like a home than it had when my mother had taken me there at eight years old, after my father had been killed in the street riots that rocked Tokyo in the summer of 1960. Japan hardly felt like a home, either, but what other prospects did I have? Whether it was fate, or circumstance, or just bad luck, a lead to the secret world represented my path of least resistance.

The mechanics of the job were simple enough. Once a week or so, I would pick up a cheap shoulder bag from McGraw. Sometimes the handoff would be on a train; sometimes at a
—eating while standing—street stall; sometimes, the symbolism not lost even on my younger self, in a public urinal. I would then exchange the full bag I was carrying for an empty one carried by a flunky from the other side, a plump and incongruously garrulous middle-aged Japanese guy named Miyamoto, who fancied floral-patterned ties that were flamboyantly wide and loud even by the tragic sartorial standards of the day. Two cutouts, so a lot of protection for the principals. Initially, I wasn’t even sure who the principals were. I was mildly curious—I was barely twenty years old, after all, and didn’t yet understand that the corollary to the expression “knowledge is power” is “knowledge can be dangerous”—but I had no real way of finding out. I’d looked inside the bag enough times to know it always contained fifty thousand dollars in cash. But the choice of currency offered no clues to the money’s provenance, or to its destination. The yen was laughably weak; the euro had barely been conceived in Brussels, let alone born; and though Nixon had recently taken America off the gold standard, the greenback was still the world’s reserve currency, accepted with no questions asked from New York to Riyadh to Timbuktu.

I was naïve, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew anyone with working arms and legs could be a bagman. So I understood I wasn’t being paid just to carry a bag. I was being paid to take a fall. If it came to that. The trick for me was to make sure it wouldn’t. And that’s where I screwed up.

I had just completed the exchange with Miyamoto in Ueno Park, part of Shitamachi, old Tokyo, the stalwart remnants of the city that had survived both the Great Kantō quake of 1923 and the American firebombs of some twenty years later. Even back then, the city was immense—the population over eleven million at night, with another two million swelling the streets and trains and office buildings during the day; forests of blinking neon in the entertainment quarters of Ikebukuro and Shibuya and Shinjuku; soot-covered, multilevel elevated highways dissecting neighborhoods and darkening sidewalks; everywhere a cacophony of truck engines and commerce and construction work. The war, barely a generation distant, still clung to the country’s consciousness like a nightmare from which its people had only recently awakened, and the city’s energy was not yet so much about pursuing prosperity as it was about putting distance between the hope and progress of today and the horrors and loss of the recent past.

I was wandering among the street stalls along Ameyoko, short for Ameya-Yokochō, Candy Alley, so named because the area’s earliest commercial establishments had been
, or candy stores. That the moniker continued to work as shorthand for America Alley after the war, when the street had become an important black market for American goods, was mere serendipity. Either way, its stalls, most of them squeezed between narrow buildings to one side and the monstrous bulk of the elevated JR train tracks to the other, offered everything from spices and dried food and fresh fish, to clothes and hardware and sporting goods, to all manner of electronics—most of it cheap, all of it attracting crowds from morning to night.

It was a typical summer afternoon in Tokyo, which is to say oppressively hot, humid, and polluted, and the air was heavy with the smells of yakitori and
and the other street delicacies of Ameyoko. Hawkers held their hands to either side of their mouths and cried out,
Hai, dozo! Hai, irasshai!
this way and that over the sounds of nearby truck traffic and the occasional passing train, gesturing to shoppers being carried along by the slow-moving pedestrian river, entreating prospects, handing out samples, reeling in customers from the endless, shifting flow. I bought a cup of iced watermelon juice from a rheumy-eyed
who looked like he’d been manning his fruit stall from the time the city had been called Edo. He took my ten yen with a wordless, toothless smile, and I moved off, sipping gratefully, sweat trickling down my back under the slight pressure of the empty shoulder bag I’d taken from Miyamoto, the late afternoon heat seemingly magnified rather than alleviated by the awnings draped haphazardly over either side of the alley.

I had no particular purpose in being there that day; I had simply wandered over after the handoff to Miyamoto, and was killing time before heading to the Kodokan to train in judo. I was new to the sport, but I liked it. It built on the wrestling skills I had acquired in high school, adding throws to takedowns, and armlocks and strangles to pins. I trained for several hours every day, the demands of my job being light and the hours flexible, and in only three months I’d gotten as good as any new
in the training hall. They wouldn’t let me formally test for black belt until I’d been there for a year, though, and the restriction, which I found stupid and unfair, only spurred me to train harder so I could defeat more of my “superiors” and prove to them just how wrong they really were.

It’s funny to consider how important things like that felt to me then. Proving people wrong. Fighting stupidity. Wanting formal recognition. It took me a long time to learn that proving people wrong is purposeless, fighting stupidity is futile, and formal recognition prevents people from underestimating you—and thereby from ceding to you surprise and other tactical advantages.

BOOK: John Rain 08: Graveyard of Memories
10.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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