Literature: John Rain

A series of novels by author and former CIA operative Barry Eisler. Deals with Hitman with a Heart John Rain, who specializes in killing in such a way that it looks like natural causes. Rain's years of training in the Special Forces, CIA, and as an assassin for hire manifest themselves in a deep-seated paranoia and an inability to trust anyone, which complicates his personal relationships.

A TV series based on the novels is currently in development, with Keanu Reeves onboard to star in and Executive Produce, alongside Chad Stahelski and David Leitch.


Tropes featured in this work include:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A literary version. While there are some nasty fight scenes which often leave Rain's opponent dead, or severely handicapped for life, there are scenes where Rain is just walking through the night streets of Tokyo (or wherever he might be) and reminiscing about his childhood days, the friends he has lost, the psychological trauma of violence, etc.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Delilah's job with Mossad is to seduce targets to get information. She's routinely despised by her colleagues for this, although they have no problem using the intelligence she provides.
    • Similarly, although Dox was respected in the Marines for his sniper skills, he was shunned because he didn't fit the Cold Sniper stereotype.
  • Artistic License Martial Arts: Subverted. Like Holyland, the martial arts represented are realistic, brutal and efficient.
  • Author Appeal: Like John Rain, author Barry Eisler is an accomplished martial artist; likewise, Rain's workout routine (described in depth in the books) is based on Eisler's own.
  • Badass Crew: In The Detachment, you have John Rain, Dox, Ben Treven and Daniel Larison. Seriously, you would be scared shitless if even one of them came after you. When all four come after you, oh boy.
  • Badass Israeli: Mossad agent and Rain's sometime lover Delilah.
  • The Cracker: Rain's departed friend, Harry.
  • Cultured Badass: In addition to being a deadly assassin, Rain is also a connoisseur of Jazz music and single malt whiskey.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: In the titular novel, the Detachment fits very well into this:
    • Rain: Melancholic.
    • Dox: Sanguine.
    • Larison: Choleric.
    • Treven: Phlegmatic.
  • Friendly Sniper: Former Marine sniper Dox. Dox is actually short for "Unorthodox," a nickname he received for not fitting the Cold Sniper stereoptype. Interestingly though, when he does get behind the scope, he totally becomes more focused and cold.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Two of Rain's rules are "no women, no children," and "principal targets only" (no hits on family members/etc. to send a message).
  • Yellowface: Half Japanese/half American, Rain has had plastic surgery and uses hair dye to appear full-blooded Japanese, in order to better fit in. Ironically, he usually goes by his American name, John Rain, in place of his given Japanese name, Junichi Fujiwara