Top critical review
Good story, could have used an editor
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2012
The story is good at its core and the plot is well-wrought. Eisler clearly knows his subject well and has created a solid, compelling storyline. Its too bad he often gets in his own way in telling it.
Take early in the book, for example, when Rain discovers his most recent victim's apartment has been broken into. He gets his hands on the police report, and of course as a reader I want to know what it contains, but first I must read a 4-page (4-page!!! kindle version anyway) digression about the fact that the "first thing that he notices" is that he knows the police chief on the report, and his family history, and their history together in Vietnam, and their history together in Japan, and so on. As a reader, after four pages I am dying for the "next thing he noticed" about the report. But no! Nothing more about the police report. Continuity is lost.
I recognize that historical exposition such as this is often a necessary part of the plot in crime novels but the way it is inserted here and in many other places in the book, it seems at the expense of rather than to the benefit of the plot. The book is compelling, but I found myself skimming over most such digressions...with little lost in the end.
Still, at the core, an excellent story.I think with a good editor Eisler would be a really smashing writer. I hope he gets one in his later books. I'll keep reading with that hope.