Barry Eisler

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Barry Eisler
Barry Eisler, 2009.
Barry Eisler, 2009.
Born1964 (age 57–58)
New Jersey, U.S.

Barry Mark Eisler (born 1964) is a best-selling American novelist. He is the author of two thriller series, the first featuring anti-hero John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American former soldier turned freelance assassin, and a second featuring black ops soldier Ben Treven. Eisler also writes about politics and language on his blog Heart of the Matter, and at the blogs CHUD, Firedoglake, The Huffington Post,, The Smirking Chimp, and Truthout.

Early life[edit]

Eisler was born in New Jersey,[1] his father was a wholesale office supplier, and his mother an environmental activist. Eisler graduated from Cornell Law School in 1989.[2][3]

Early career[edit]

After completing law school, Eisler joined the CIA, where he trained for three years afterward and held a covert position with the Directorate of Operations.[3] In 1992, he resigned and joined the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges.[2] In 1994, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work for the firm's technology licensing division, then left to work in Japan for Matsushita.[1][2]

In 1999, he returned to the Bay Area to join a startup.[2]

In 2003, he started writing full-time, when he sold the rights to his debut novel, Rain Fall, the first of his series featuring John Rain.[2]


Eisler made news in March 2011 when he walked away from a reported half million dollar advance from St. Martin's Press in order to go the self-publishing route pioneered by his colleague Joe Konrath and others.[4][5] He then took a six-figure deal to publish the seventh John Rain novel, The Detachment (2011), under Amazon Publishing's Thomas & Mercer mystery imprint.[6]


Eisler's novel Rain Fall won the 2005 Barry Award for Best Thriller [7] and The Gumshoe Award.[8] Fault Line reached Number 18 on The New York Times Hardcover Bestseller List.[9]


After amicably terminating his previous publishing contracts and regaining his rights, Eisler changed the titles and covers on all the Rain books, and the covers of the Treven books.[10][11]

John Rain[edit]

  1. Graveyard of Memories (2014)
  2. Zero Sum (2017)
  3. A Clean Kill in Tokyo (2002), previously published as Rain Fall
  4. A Lonely Resurrection (2003), previously published as Hard Rain in the US and Blood from Blood in the UK
  5. Winner Take All (2004), previously published as Rain Storm in the US and Choke Point in the UK (Barry Awards for best thriller)
  6. Redemption Games (2005), previously published as Killing Rain in the US and One Last Kill in the UK
  7. Extremis (2006), previously published as The Last Assassin (Barry Awards for best thriller nominee)
  8. The Killer Ascendant (2007), previously published as Requiem for an Assassin
  9. "Paris is a Bitch" (Rain/Delilah, 2011), short story
  10. The Detachment (2011)(w/ Ben Treven)
  11. "Decisions, Decisions" (2011)(w/ Dr. Morgan Snow)
  12. "The Khmer Kill" (Dox, 2012), short story
  13. "London Twist" (Delilah, 2013), novella
  14. The Killer Collective (1 February 2019) (w/Livia Lone)
  15. The Chaos Kind (October 2021) (w/Livia Lone/Marvin Manus)

Ben Treven[edit]

  1. Fault Line (2009)
  2. Inside Out (2010)
  3. "The Lost Coast" (Larison, 2011), short story
  4. The Detachment (2011) (w/ John Rain)

Livia Lone[edit]

  1. Livia Lone (2016)
  2. The Night Trade (2018) (w/Dox)
  3. The Killer Collective (1 February 2019) (w/John Rain)
  4. All the Devils (27 August 2019)

Marvin Manus[edit]

  • The God's Eye View (2016)


  • Eisler, Barry; Konrath, J.A. (2011). Be the Monkey: A Conversation About the New World of Publishing Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath. ASIN B004SV2IPC.
  • Eisler, Barry (2011). The Ass Is A Poor Receptacle For The Head: Why Democrats Suck At Communication, And How They Could Improve. ASIN B0050O7VLW.

Screen adaptations[edit]

In April 2009, Sony Pictures Japan released a mostly Japanese language film version of Rain Fall starring Shiina Kippei as Rain and Gary Oldman as Rain's nemesis, CIA Station Chief William Holtzer.

In August 2014, Slingshot Global Media announced the launch of a new TV mini-series, Rain, based on the book. Keanu Reeves will portray the iconic character as well as serve as the executive producer alongside Eisler, Chad Stahelski, and David Leitch. The scriptwriter is yet to be decided upon.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Eisler earned a black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] He is married to literary agent Laura Rennert, who represents his work. They have one daughter.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Eisler, Barry. "Goodreads Author Barry Eisler". Goodreads. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Zinko, Carolyne Zinko (July 25, 2010). "PROFILE: After the CIA, Barry Eisler writes thrillers". SFGate.
  3. ^ a b Eisler, Barry. "From the Author". Amazon. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  4. ^ Pinter, Jason (24 March 2011). "Why I'm Self-Publishing". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  5. ^ National Public Radio. "Barry Eisler's 'Detachment' From 'Legacy' Publishing". Morning Edition. National Public Radio. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  6. ^ O'Brien, Jenny. "Thriller author Barry Eisler signs with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint". Puget Sound Business Journal. Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Barry awards". Deadly Pleasures. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  8. ^ "The gumshoe award". Crime Fiction Awards. Omnimystery. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Hardcover Bestseller List". The New York Times. March 29, 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Home Page". Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "FAQ". Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  12. ^ Rain (TV mini-series). IMDb. 2016.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]