To Read or Not To Read

I was going over the New York Times Best Seller list when I noticed that Steve Berry had a new book out called The Malta Exchange. This is the 14th book in the Cotton Malone series. One that I have been enjoying, but I realized that I needed to catch up because it has been quite some time since I had read one of Steve Berry’s books. I knew that a couple had come out since I last read a book in the series, so I decided that I needed to figure out where I was in the series to pick up where I left off.

I pulled up my Goodreads list because I use that to keep track of what I have read since I don’t remember very well what I have or have not read. I pulled up the books for Cotton Malone and was shocked to see that I only have the first 2 of 14 books marked as read. This seemed very odd to me since many of the names of books 3, 4, 5, and 6 look very familiar to me. I also pulled up my Kindle library and sure enough. I have like five of the books in my library, which means I purchased them before and most likely read them. Steve Berry is not one I would buy and not read.

The problem is, I read the synopsis of the books that I have, and I can’t honestly remember them at all. I’m not too surprised because I do suffer a bit from memory loss, which is why I like to keep a list of what I have read. I hate picking up a new book and reaching like page 50 or 60 to discover that I know the story and have read it before. I know most people don’t have an issue with reading a book they have read before, but I’m always on the hunt for the new stuff. Kind of a weird flex that I have, but that is me. So now I have this dilemma. Do I just read over the books again or do I just move on to what I don’t have in my library. Maybe I’m overthinking this a bit much. I mean it won’t hurt to revisit a book I’ve read in the past.

I guess on the bright side, I don’t have to worry about buying the books or tracking them down at a library because I already own them. I will probably end up just reading the series starting at book 3 because that is the first one that I haven’t marked as read. It kind of annoys me though because I’ve been working on my Goodreads list for quite some time now and would think that I would have made a mistake like that. I’m sure I overlooked something.

Guess this means I will be reading a lot of Steve Berry in the coming months. I’ve been working on Barry Eisler since the beginning of January to get to a book that I got then. Nothing like a bunch of thrillers to get me through the rest of this winter and into the spring.

More Barry Eisler?!

If you have been following my posts, you know that I have been working on reading through the John Rain series by Barry Eisler. I started reading from book one last month when I picked up book #10 in the John Rain series from Amazon First Reads. I figured I might as well start at the beginning, which has been going well. I love the character. The series has been really good, and I’m currently on book 4.

Today I got an email from Goodreads announcing new books by authors I follow. Since I started following Barry Eisler on Goodreads, I got the email about his new book The Killer Collective, which is the book I already have since you get books on First Reads a month early, but the email added something that I had not seen before when I looked at the book on Amazon. The subject line read: The Killer Collective (John Rain #10; Livia Lone #3; Ben Treven #4).

Wait … John Rain #10, Livia Lone #3, and Ben Treven #4? The Killer Collective is a book that falls into three different series?! I had to check this out. Sure enough, Barry Eisler has also been working on a series following a character known as Livia Lone and one called Ben Treven. Well this though a wrench into the engine because my goal was to read all the John Rain books before I read the 10th one. Now I find out that I need to read the others (I don’t have to, but I like to read stuff in order), so I started trying to figure out the read order from where I was at. I started going off by published dates and figured out a read order and stumbled across a second book that includes both John Rain and Ben Treven.

Holy cow. I have never encountered this by an author before. I am fascinated by this development and can’t wait to see how this plays out. I also have to chuckle that my 10 book reading binge has now turned into a 15 book (technically 14 and 1 short story) reading binge of Barry Eisler stories.

And for those of you that are curious, here is the reading order list I came up with for Barry Eisler’s books:

  1. A Clean Kill in Tokyo (John Rain #1)
  2. A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain #2)
  3. Winner Take All (John Rain #3)
  4. Redemption Games (John Rain #4)
  5. Extremis (John Rain #5)
  6. The Killer Ascendant (John Rain #6)
  7. Fault Line (Ben Treven #1)
  8. Inside Out (Ben Treven #2
  9. Paris Is A Bitch (John Rain 6.5)
  10. The Detachment (John Rain #7, Ben Treven #3)
  11. Graveyard Memories (John Rain #8)
  12. Livia Lone (Livia Lone #1)
  13. Zero Sum (John Rain #9)
  14. The Night Trade (Livia Lone #2)
  15. The Killer Collective (John Rain #10, Ben Treven #4, Livia Lone #3)

Book Review: Winner Take All by Barry Eisler

Book cover for Winner Take All by Barry Eisler

I’m kind of binge reading the John Rain series right now in an effort to get to book #10 in the series that I received earlier this month as part of the Amazon First Reads program. I’m glad I decided to start with this series at the beginning. It really helps that these books have all been a part of Kindle Unlimited too because it makes it easy to get to them as a member of that.

Winner Take All picks up a bit after the second book after John Rain has decided to escape Japan and start a different life in Brazil, but you don’t realize that right off because the book puts you right into the action with John working a mission on behalf of the CIA. I was a little surprised at how this book started out with John working for the CIA after spending the first two books avoiding “the agency.” So, it was weird with it opening up with that. It gets explained later.

So, this book ranks higher than book number two for me and probably right up there with the first book in the John Rain series, and it all has to do with John coming to grips with people actually caring about him as a person and less on the fact that he is a cold and ruthless assassin. Maybe it also has something to do with the other characters in John’s life. I have always liked Tatsu, and the addition of Dox coming into John’s life really made up for the loss of another friend of John’s.

I guess I like John, so I’m kind of rooting for him to find some roots. It seems people keep trying to befriend him, but John keeps pushing everyone away. It’s kind of nice to see some of the other characters in the book prove to John that it is okay to trust others from time to time. I realize he has his reasons for staying distant, but I feel for the guy. It seems like he could use someone in his life to lighten it up.

Winner Take All really adds to the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one. I’m hoping we get to see more of Dox and his antics. It would be interesting to see how John might work with a partner.

Author’s website:

Book Review: A Lonely Resurrection by Barry Eisler

Book cover for A Lonely Resurrection by Barry Eisler

A Lonely Resurrection made a pretty good follow up to the first John Rain novel, A Clean Kill in Tokyo, but I don’t know if this book was as good as the first. There was something compelling about the first novel where it felt like an assassin for hire rethinking his life and maybe looking for an out by trying to help someone with the unfortunate conclusion that he couldn’t get out. At least not yet.

The second novel picks up a little bit after the first book where he is finally deciding that he needs to get out of Japan for good to escape the events of the first book. However, he gets dragged back in by his friend, Tatsu, who wants John’s help to continue to go after the more corrupt aspects of Japan’s political structure.

I think where this book fell a little short for me from the first book is in the story. There didn’t seem anything as compelling in this one that carries John forward other than the fallout of trying to help out his friend and realizing that maybe his latest target isn’t worth the risk. That leads John into a series of events that end up turning out poorly for him. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good book. It was really good, and I found myself reading it over the other book I had picked up recently because I was hooked. I really like John Rain, even if he is a ruthless killer at times, but he seems to be struggling with his lifestyle choice a little more each time. That makes for some compelling reading as I watch the character struggle with his choices.

I’m curious where John Rain will go from here. I’m committed now to see where this story goes especially now that it seems John will stay in Japan to continue to do something. What that something is looks to be up in the air. I’ve already picked up the third book. I can’t wait to get started on that one too.

If you are a fan of thrillers, I’m starting to feel like this is a must-read. The character is fairly unique for me considering many of the thrillers I’ve read in the past two years seem to have main characters with similar military backgrounds working for some American agency or secret organization dealing with Middle Eastern stuff. I still like the location of the books so far. Reading about his adventures in Japan has been a refreshing change of pace.

Author’s website:

Review: A Clean Kill in Tokyo by Barry Eisler

I just finisheIMG_20190116_002549d reading A Clean Kill in Tokyo by Barry Eisler, and I must say it was a really good read. I picked this book up recently after getting a new Amazon First Reads book also by Barry Eisler. I’m a stickler for reading books in a series even if each book can be read by itself, and I quickly discovered the new book was book number 10 in a series.  I decided to see if I could get a copy of the first book to begin the series. I was happy that my local library had a copy I could read.

The story focuses on John Rain, a half Japanese, half American, who works as a contract killer in Japan. He does have his own code of ethics and has a set of rules on who he won’t kill, and he doesn’t care the reason why he is hired to eliminate someone. His specialty is killing someone and making it look natural so no one suspects foul play. The book opens up with him performing a kill on a target. Standard procedure for him, but it quickly turns into anything but standard when he finds out someone wants to hire him to remove his target’s daughter as well.

If you read some of my previous posts, you will find that I am a big fan of thrillers, so this book is by no surprise one that I really liked. What I found unique about this story was the direction it went after the initial kill. The surprise that awaits the protagonist as he starts winding down from his latest contract that only pushes him forward into a more intriguing set of circumstances and danger.

I also liked the setting of the story. Many thrillers I’ve read over the last year seem to have settings either in the United States of America around the Washington D.C. area or somewhere in the Middle East. Many times both settings come into play in a story. This one was set in Japan, so it made it a nice change of pace from the other thrillers I’ve read recently. I am also a fan of Japanese culture, so that helped too!

If you like the “ex-special forces becomes contract killer” style of thrillers than you will really enjoy this one. The book is a quick read too at around 250 pages. I was able to read this in a couple of days. It really helped that I had the day off because once I got to around page 50, I was hooked. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. I have found me a new author to enjoy. Book #2 here I come!

Author’s website:

Time for a Thriller

The last two books I read were science fiction, which is always a good genre to read, but I’ve decided it is time to go back to one of my favorite passions: thrillers. I recently got a Kindle First Reads book by an author called Barry Eisler. I enjoy Kindle First Reads because it gives me a chance to try a book by an author I haven’t read yet and the thriller on the list sounded like it would be a great choice for me. I jumped on my Goodreads account to add it to my currently reading list and discovered it is like book #10 in a series.

I don’t like jumping into the middle of a series even if the author does a fantastic job of making each book good enough to stand by itself. I always feel like I may miss something from a previous book, so I looked into the series and discovered that the first book is at my local library. They had it, I checked it out, and now I have it and have started reading it. This also means that I have 9 books to read before I can get to the book I picked up from Amazon. I’m not complaining. I’m already a few pages into this book, and the opening has me hooked.

Cover for a Clean Kill in Tokyo by Barry Eisler

So, A Clean Kill In Tokyo by Barry Eisler is what I’m reading now. I haven’t decided if I’m going to read straight through the series to get to the e-book I got earlier this month or if I’m just going to alternate between these books and others I want to read. Actually, I think I have another book at the library ready for pickup, so I will probably alternate between something written by Barry Eisler and something else. That should shake things up. I don’t like the same genre multiple times in a row anyway, so this should help.

I will say I am looking forward to the book after this one too because I’m going to start reading the Mortal Engines series, which I became interested in after seeing the Mortal Engines movie. I have a lot of great stuff to read already and this year is just getting started. I can’t wait!