Sunday, January 03, 2010

More Reading

Vanishing Act and Dance for the Dead by Thomas Perry.
These novels are the first two in a an ongoing series focused on Jane Whitefield, a "guide" who helps people who are under threat to disappear. Whitefield is a kick-ass woman who has physical and mental strengths. She is part Seneca Indian living in upstate New York and relies on the traditions of her ancestors to help provide answers to the problems she faces. She has provided herself with an intricate series of identities and bank accounts that allow her to buy plane tickets with ease, to criss cross the country repeatedly and to provide new lives for her charges. One thing that is made more obvious in the second book than the first, is the tendency of the person hiding to make mistakes that leads to them being found again. I like this series, but it may be too violent and cynical for many readers.

Rain Fall by Barry Eisler.
This is the first in a series focusing on a hit-man who is half Japanese half USian, John Rain. The hitman is ultimate outsider in this book: unable to trust anyone, haunted by his past, including three years of illegal action in Cambodia during the US war against Vietnam. This plot takes several unexpected twists and turns. We are supposed to admire Rain because he has certain limits to whom he will kill, but the death toll piles up and our hero manages to survive multiple beatings with no lasting symptoms. Rain spends the book traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood through Tokyo and attempts to provide descriptions of each. But the first person point of view means that everything is viewed as a place to either carry out an assassination or avoid one, the geography is cold and empty. As is our hero, eventually. I can't see myself reading any more of the series. It's this months pick for the Once Upon a Crime book club. Otherwise, I would have skipped it altogether.