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Point of Impact Bantam Stephen Hunter


12th May 2013 Literature & Fiction 50 Comments

He was one the best Marine snipers in Vietnam. Today, twenty years later, disgruntled hero of an unheroic war, all Bob Lee Swagger wants to be left alone and to leave the killing behind.

But with consummate psychological skill, a shadowy military organization seduces Bob into leaving his beloved Arkansas hills for one last mission for his country, unaware until too late that the game is rigged.

The assassination plot is executed to perfectionuntil Bob Lee Swagger, alleged lone gunman, comes out of the operation alive, the target of a nationwide manhunt, his only allies a woman he just met and a discredited FBI agent.

Now Bob Lee Swagger is on the run, using his lethal skills once morebut this time to track down the men who set him up and to break a dark conspiracy aimed at the very heart of America.

Bob Lee Swagger, jungle-smart hillbilly and premier shootist, explodes as a thinking man’s Rambo when Hunter’s ( The Day Before Midnight ) canny plot overcomes the barrage of high-tech ballistics data in this otherwise satisfying thriller. Swagger’s sniper kills were legendary in Vietnam until an enemy bullet sent him into seclusion at his home in the Arkansas mountains. Retired Col. Schreck lures him back into “the World” on the pretense that he will be testing new bullets, but instead presses him into his special “Agency” unit. Swagger’s job is to predict which site on the president’s upcoming speaking tour a professional sniper would choose for an assassination attempt–so Schreck’s unit can prevent it. Swagger calls the hit just right but is shot and framed in the assassination by Schreck’s men. Only FBI agent and sniper ace Nick Memphis believes that Swagger is innocent. Memphis and Swagger trace the real assassin through the shootist network, making clever use of gun-lore magazines. They take on FBI bureaucrats, Schreck’s nasties, Salvadoran death squads and local law agencies to get to the final showdown. While the novel’s firearms details may be daunting to non-NRA members, the characters, plot and courtroom finale will leave readers wrung out.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Two men, one determined to maintain his reclusive life in the Arkansas mountains, the other fiercely dedicated to remaining part of the FBI, are drawn together in an effort to clear their names and stay alive during an intricate cover-up of an unauthorized mercenary maneuver in a Latin American country. Bob Lee Swagger, or Bob the Nailer as he was known in Vietnam, is a sniper par excellence. Because of a war injury, he devotes his time to maintaining his marksmanship and avoiding the outside world. These skills and his loner status make him an ideal target for a pseudogovernmental group planning an assassination as part of the cover-up. Nick Memphis, pursuing an investigation from which he has been warned by his FBI superiors, stumbles onto facts about Swagger that force him to go undercover with him. Tautly written by the author of The Day Before Midnight (Bantam, 1989), the plot makes a number of turns before swooping to a conclusion where patriotism and personal integrity triumph. Recommended for popular fiction collections.
- V. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Point of Impact










  • 50 responses to "Point of Impact Bantam Stephen Hunter"

  • Didnt Read It
    2:04 on May 12th, 2013
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    I am an Ex-Special Operations veteran and an avid shooter. Mr. Hunter has done his homework! I highly recommend this great book to all service members, rifle shooters, snipers, and members of the law enforcement community. The following “Bob Lee Swagger Series”, books are equally exceptional.

  • Aaron M
    2:15 on May 12th, 2013
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    With the recent publication and release of “Hot Springs”, a story about Earl Swagger in his early years of law enforcement, I thought I would reread “Black light” to reacquaint myself with him in the time leading up to his death. I’m glad I did.

    “Black Light” is the powerful, hard-hitting story of Bob Swagger’s investigation into the death of his father, Earl. As he investigates the murder of his father, Bob becomes a target himself as he uncovers the secret past of some powerful men.

    As I read this book with the knowledge of the specifics of why and how Earl was killed, I still was held in the grip of this action-packed, cleverly written suspense novel. I continue to be impressed with the breadth of knowledge Mr. Hunter possesses and with the writing style he uses to convey it. Especially effective is the way Earl and Bob ask themselves questions and the reader follows their thought processes until they come to a solution. Hunter also has a talent for develping real-life and believable characters that the reader develops a strong feeling for. One character I hope will move within “Hot Springs” is a younger Sam Vincent, the Polk County prosecutor who helped Bob as an absent-minded but intelligent 80 year old.

    I strongly endorse all of Stephen Hunter’s books. He is the best kept secret of action and suspense fiction.

  • Red Foreman
    2:39 on May 12th, 2013
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    “Point of Impact” is the best book that I’ve read in quite a while. I purchased Stephen Hunter’s book on a whim, and hope that it would be entertaining. It was more than just entertaining, it was good. The book is about an ex-Marine sniper, named Bob Lee Swagger, who spent three tours in Viet Nam. For the last twenty years, he’s been holed up in the Ouachitians mountains living with his dog Mike and his rifles. The soft-spoken marksman is approached to help out a government branch in tracking down an assassin. Nick Memphis, a down on his luck FBI agent, is investigating a gruesome murder of an informant that was trying to reach him. As the informant dies, he writes the words, ROM DO on the floor with his own blood. The two stories quickly become entwined in a turbulent plot full of double cross, ballistic charts, and 1,400 yard shots.

    Hunter does a great job of telling just enough of the story to let you think you know where he is going. Then he turns the story on you leaving you surprised. He does this throughout the book. Only once was I able to guess where he was going. All the times that I thought I had him, Hunter was laughing at me from in front of his typewriter. He does it from the very beginning as we open up on Swagger in a deer blind waiting for Ole Tim, the largest buck in the forest. Swagger’s character grows on you, even though he appears tough and rough around the edges.

    Hunter is a master of the false-direction. He sets everything up so perfectly that once he changes the tables on you, you can see how he set you up. It all makes sense. It’s the literary version of magic. Some authors are good at it, for others you can see the wires. Hunter is very good at it. If you like action/adventure, good writing, and an author that’s good a deception, check this one out. I’ll definitely read more of Hunter.

  • nickatnight
    4:23 on May 12th, 2013
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    One of the best stories I’ve ever read since The Day of the Jackal (Frederick Forsyth) and The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum). Hunter definitely belongs to the elite class of adventure writers.

  • Charlie Conor
    5:15 on May 12th, 2013
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    Stephen Hunter must have been a gun in a previous life. He knows shooting. I was hooked after the first couple of pages, and couldn’t put this one down. I have since read the book 3 times. If you like guns in any small way, or just plain like a good thriller, it doesn’t get any better than this. Hunter builds the main character in a way that you can see every hard line of his face, the way he walks, and the sound of his voice. If I were casting a movie of this book, I’d put Ed Harris in the role. The story is full of interesting and unpredictable plot twists, gun lore, action and revenge. It won’t let you down. Hunter’s sequels to this book don’t hold up as well; Dirty White Boys is a bit too harsh, and Black Light moves too slowly. But Point of Impact is a stroke of genius.

  • Clampit
    6:36 on May 12th, 2013
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    Largely well written the story is so derivative it seems less a homage, than a cut and paste job. Lord Jim, for the torture that plays on vanity, the seven rescuers which has been done over and over, the heart of darkness for the river, and a Kurtz like character who has gone nuts, and so it does.

    The gang of old men is pretty offensive to the memories of the people involved. Why select characters drawn from real life, but then fictionalize them in ways that seem unlikely to be in character. And they wouldn’t be a dream team. It is like the recent DC sniper issue of whether the “snipers” had to have training. You don’t need training to make a 100 yard shot, you don’t need legendary marksmen. You need folks you have known a long time, presumably from Swagger’s military past. Criss-crossing the country, recruiting a movie star, it is laughable.

    As usual the gun stuff, is only partly correct, despite the raft of advisors. He really needs a gun editor or something, since he seems to be partly always writing for a gun savvy audience. As Bridget Fonda says in Jackie Brown about her gunrunning keeper “He’s just repeating stuff he’s heard. He’s no more a gun expert than you or me”.

    I wonder who the whipping advisor was. Is it true whips crack because they break the sound barrier? Sounds highly improbable to me. Flyrod/lines are basically whips, and they snap in the air, if you get your timing, in their case, wrong. It is just the very tip colliding with the near tip portion, going in opposite directions. To get to 1088 fps the whip would somehow have to juice up the speed of the tip by ten times the speed of the hand. Anyway you will have a lot of time to consider the phenomenon since he refers to it many times.

    It’s a story with a pulse. A bit embarrassing to read though, verges on the pornographic.

  • Anusarchy
    8:04 on May 12th, 2013
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    In 1955 Arkansas state trooper Earl Swagger dies in a shootout with Jimmy and Bub Pye, two armed robbers. At least for forty years that is what Bob Lee Swagger, son of Earl and decorated Marine sniper believes. Reporter Russ Pewtie’s family has also been traumatized by the Pye family when Jimmy’s son Lamar almost kills Russ’ father who is an Oklahoma state trooper. Russ wants to write a book about the connection and talks Bob Lee into returning to Arkansas to help him research. But when they get there they find that someone is stalking them and trying to prevent them from digging into Earl Swagger’s death.

    I’ve been reading Stephen Hunter novels for years and have yet to find a bad one. His characters are interesting and well drawn. And he really knows his weaponry. I’ve really enjoyed the Bob Lee Swagger books and would recommend all of them. To really enjoy this series it would probably be best to start with Point of Impact and then read Dirty White Boys and finally this one. However they’re all good and capeable of standing on their own.

  • yogunum
    8:42 on May 12th, 2013
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    _Black Light_ combines family secrets, gun trivia, military secrets, and a forgotten murder make a very entertaining read. Only problem I had was that the ending seemed not to live up to all the conspiracy, and parts of the backstory seemed unnecessarily confusing. Kept me turning pages in any case.

  • Hillel Porath
    9:04 on May 12th, 2013
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    I had gotten into Stephen Hunter from the movie “Shooter”. This was one of the first books of his I read and I have to say I was not dissapointed in the least. It keeps you wanting more and is almost IMPOSSIBLE to put down. Bob Lee is a true baddass in this book and it will not dissapoint readers at all. And if you like movies about snipers and sniper scenes then this is a must read! The showdown at the end is by far the BEST sniper scene I have EVER read in a book or scene on a movie or tv. The ending alone is worth reading this book.

  • Allan ebdrup
    10:02 on May 12th, 2013
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    I had run out of authors so checked to see what other buyers of my favourite authors were buying and came up with Stephen Hunter. Lot of technical talk on guns and bullets but still kept me (who knows next to nothing about guns) enthralled.

    I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading Sniper which I also picked up

  • Joe F
    11:48 on May 12th, 2013
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    I loved “Point of Impact” and was excited to see a sequal on the shelves. What a disappointment. Bob Lee Swagger acted completely out of character and most of the other characters were just annoying. The story was stilted and slow.

  • James Cramer
    13:30 on May 12th, 2013
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    This is the only book I have read (or rather listened to) by this author, and I loved it. It changed my opinion of murder mysteries entirely. I have read a few, from such authors as Michael Connelly, Johnathon Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell, and this was easily the best, especially in terms of believable plot twists and fast-paced action. The story takes place in a small town in Arkansas, jumping seamlessly between the 50′s and the 90′s, focusing on the plights of a state trooper and his son, a highly-decorated marine sniper. The characters are realistic and engrossing. The best thing Steven Hunter brings to this book are the seemingly effortless twists throughout. He frequently adds a twist to the plot not by introducing new evidence, but through a subtle change to the view on existing elements. Beau Bridges read this story, and did an excellent job supplying the wide range of voices.

  • Primus Pilus
    15:20 on May 12th, 2013
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    Read the book, then see the movie version, SHOOTER.

    Enough has been said about Bob Lee Swagger. Snipers, good ones that is, are a special breed. Most people could not begin to endure what a sniper goes thorough to get “the shot.” Steven Hunter does a good job off making “Bob the nailer” a real sniper.

    I liked the plot and pace of the book. I can usually find technical errors in this genre of novels, some quite laughable. Only found one incorrect technical term (you find it) which may be attributed to the editor. It was a pleasure to hear the term cartridge rather than bullet. Hunter’s description of long distance shooting was very good.

    I recommend reading this book when you can devote several hours to it. Its hard to put down.

    Lee Boyland, author of two techno-thrillers dealing with current events, Islamic terrorists and WMDs.

  • Joe Putman
    16:35 on May 12th, 2013
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    Hunter’s Point of Impact is a flawlessly constructed thriller, filled with tension, cast with variety, and packed with a convincing amount of esoteric detail on rifle shooting. Bob Lee Swagger, a veteran sharpshooter with a Vietnam past, is seen to have fired on the American President at a New Orleans speech. Having escaped, hunted by the FBI and the nation’s police forces, he must fight the shadowy paramilitary group that set him up. The pace never flags, the net of sub-plots prevents monotony from ever setting in, and it all reaches a truly astonishing finale. The hero’s name is interestingly chosen: the imperturbable, unbreakable Swagger is both his name’s very embodiment and its antithesis. The characterisation is otherwise black-and-white, but without clichés. And the book reads as a kind of survivalist gospel. Sociology students: take note.

    P.S. Don’t read the two-page Swagger Family History inserted by the publisher at the beginning. It is full of spoilers.

  • Cody Skrobacki
    18:35 on May 12th, 2013
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    A good fun read, and very hard to put down- but don’t expect a life changing experince.

    The central cahracter Bob Lee Swagger, is plucked from retirement to test some new ammunition. Surprisingly he finds himself set up , and must use his wits and his Remington 700 to clear his name. So much for the plot. What you have hear is an enjoyable romp, with bad bad guys, good good guys and a few helpless women thrown in along the way. Bob Lee is a well sketched out character, and if you can you can ignore a number of serious plot flaws you will find a very enjoyable techno thriller.

    Incidentally, as a shooter of some talent myself, most of the technical stuff is about right.

  • Dwinsmith
    18:57 on May 12th, 2013
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    After reading Point of Impact (the first book on which the Shooter movie is based) I had really high expectations for this novel. In fact, I would say that Impact could be the best book I’ve read in a while. I couldn’t wait to tear into this one. While I’m not as crazy about Black Light as I was about the first book it still did not disappoint.
    In this book about half of the action takes place in the past. The reader parallels Bob Lee’s investigation in the present with what Earl Swagger went through in the past. It’s actually really interesting and Hunter is able to make the characters come alive with his use of authentic dialogue and honest portrayals of Arkansas attitudes in the 50′s.
    Ofcoarse, there are the requisite action scenes where Bob Lee Swagger takes on a boat load of goons and dispaches them with ease. I actually was hoping for more of those moments but in this book you really only get two. If there was one thing that I could change than that would be it.
    All in all though, this is a great read which you will not be disappointed with.

  • un-original
    20:39 on May 12th, 2013
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    Black Light completes the Bob Lee Swagger trilogy which began with Point of Impact, followed by Dirty White Boys. Hunter knows his guns and his characters. The dialogue seems true to place and time, and race relations as they existed in 1955 Arkansas have been portrayed in the context of the time. This book tells the story of Bob Lee’s father, Earl, and his death during a gunfight with two young fugitives. The story shifts from 1955, when Earl was shot, to the present as Bob Lee and a young writer try to ferret out the mysteries surrounding Earl’s death. They are assisted by Sam, the eighty-six year old lawyer who also appeared in Point of Impact. Sam is refusing to go gently into old age, and struggles mightly with bouts of forgetfullness.

    I love Stephen Hunter, and had this been written by a lesser writer I would have been very impressed. Since it WAS written by Hunter, I have to say that I thought it was not quite up to the quality of the first two books in the trilogy. It seemed more hastily written and errors such as aging a character only one year in twenty-seven months were distracting to me. Dirty White Boys is still my favorite, but this is a worthy conclusion to the Swagger trilogy.

  • Josh Yoon
    21:30 on May 12th, 2013
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    Stephen Hunter’s final novel in his “Bob Swagger” series is a riveting and satisfying finale that gives the avid fan a sense of closure. It is action-packed with the added gem of a last-minute surprise. Hunter alters his writing style subtly with each series installment: “Point of Impact” is a real page-turner that hooked me on the Bob Lee Swagger character; “Black Light” was told with a few flashbacks to the past; and “Time to Hunt” has MAJOR flashbacks to the Vietnam Era that occupy hundreds of pages! At first, I thought the lengthy flashbacks disrupted the pace of “Time to Hunt”, but I soon found that they provided necessary information in order to appreciate Swagger’s present-day predicament, and gave this reader a hearty dose of suspenseful sniper warfare. All the flashback information doesn’t take away from the action, and it helps tie everything together and doesn’t leave the reader wanting more answers. A VERY satisfying ending to a great series!!

  • Nita Barbour
    23:08 on May 12th, 2013
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    I enjoyed the Shooter with Bob Lee Swagger…bought the movie and I play it quite often when in the mood for action entertainment so I purchased this novel expecting the same great action. I found it to be a good read but didn’t like it as much as I did the Shooter. The constant use of racial slurs made it hard for me to read even though I grew up in the South and know that the author was giving a fair image of the south back in the 50′s and 60′s. But I hate spending money for books and not reading them so I forced myself to finish this one. It was a good story and I wish the author had inserted a part where Bob Lee told the mother what he found out about her daughter – because by finding out what happened to his father he also found out what happened to her daughter. To me, his father kept his word through his son.

  • Ross Bradley
    1:12 on May 13th, 2013
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    This book was my intro to the world of Stephen Hunter, and made me an instant fan. I purchased “Point of Impact” and read it in 2 days while on vacation. Couldn’t wait to get the other three novels in the Bob Lee Swagger “universe”. Hunter’s characters read like real people. His heroes suffer from alcoholism, adultry, and other real life problems that only the “bad guys” in writers like Tom Clancy’s works have to deal with. They all have a sense of “duty” that doesn’t necessarily run through their whole lives. They usually are dedicated to their their jobs, but have problems fulfilling their duties at home, though they love their families dearly. This is very realistic in my experience. I recommend this novel and its companions to anyone who likes a good read.

  • Lurker Below
    1:49 on May 13th, 2013
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    This story had more of a mystery element than ‘Dirty White Boys’ which made it interesting.

    I like Hunter’s stories and I agree that they have all been good, though not too deep.

    Black Light is one of his better ones.

  • Guyver
    2:57 on May 13th, 2013
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    In my opinion i felt like the first half of the book contained to much back story and not enough action, but once the action starts it does carry the story very well.

    My only other criticism is that Bob the Nailer wasn’t that interesting of a character. He didn’t have any personal faults or things in his path that would have given him more depth.

    I read the book with intention of going to see the movie but after reading the book the only thing i would want to see the movie for is to see what they added to make the book more interesting.

    My personal favorite reocurring character in a book is Mitch Rapp who is a government operative that works in the middle east. I suggest you pick up one of his books if you would like non-stop action beginning to end and a character with a lot of depth.

  • HrWasp
    3:57 on May 13th, 2013
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    There simply are not enough superlatives to describe Point of Impact. This was a phenomenal book, clearly among my personal top-five list. In Point of Impact, Hunter presents Bob Lee Swagger (AKA “Bob the Nailer” due to his reputation as a Marine sniper during the Vietnam War) in a fast-paced conspiracy thriller. Hunter hooks you in the first few pages of the book as Swagger is hunting on his property in Arkansas. As the story unfolds, Swagger demonstrates the physical and mental toughness, decisiveness, patience, perseverance, and survival instincts that made him the best at what he does. Throughout the book, one comes to know and further appreciate the intricacies, both positive and negative, of being “Bob the Nailer.” Action sequences and character development are interwoven and provide a complementary blend throughout the book. From start to finish, this book is impossible to put down.

  • Maia Pells
    5:08 on May 13th, 2013
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    very typical hunter – good shoot-em-up. well paced and interesting with good twists, fairly predictable plot line and outcome -but still a definate page turner, and very enjoyable-the only negative is a propensity towards totally gratuitous cursing -which serves no purpose except to offend needlessly.

  • Pinchy
    5:46 on May 13th, 2013
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    The anticipated sequal to Point of Impact may not have the same steam, but the conclusion makes up for it. The gun fights in this book can’t help but remind you of Rambo and his never-ending supply of bullets. Nevertheless, Black Light is a compelling read that will tug at your emotions. A must read for Bob Swagger fans. If you are a first timer to the world of “The Nailer” I suggest going with Point of Impact before you hit Black Light.

  • James J Clarkson
    6:53 on May 13th, 2013
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    A techno-thriller similar to the early Tom Clancy – the technical details are the strength. The “thriller” isn’t – it is something that I tolerated as a contrivance to get from one riff on the technology to the next.

    The characterizations range from the one-dimensional to the cartoon-ish. The hero is super-human, not only in his performance, but in his ability to calculate far in advance the intricate details and timing of what unknown adversaries will do.

    It’s a good read, although you will likely find yourself groaning at times at the characters, the artificial situations, and implausible plot twists.

  • Markus Frind
    8:34 on May 13th, 2013
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    I agree with most of the reviewers. This is my third Hunter novel (Havana, Hot Springs, Point of Impact), and each is better than the last!

    The pacing on this book is incredible! Most books that follow the style of cutting between storylines take too long, or don’t provide enough of a payoff before switching…Hunter finds the ideal balance. I found that I rarely wanted to skip over one storyline to get back to another.

    The Swagger character is made for movies. He’s the classic Stoic man, with enough depth to make him interesting, but not too much that adapting it to film would prove difficult.

    As long as someone doesn’t pull a “Sahara”, it would translate well. Hmm…who would play the leads?

  • sahir dalor
    9:51 on May 13th, 2013
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    Stephan Hunter is at the top of his form with this book and series. The book starts off fast and just keeps going. Lots of interesting details and a good story drive the book. There is always the interesting character of the story lead for you to fall back on and become comfortable with. This is a very smart book, the pieces fit together and you never think the author is forcing the items – they work like you are being told a true story. I have always been surprised that this author has not become a bigger name. This is a quality book that you will be glad you invested the time to explore.

  • Matt kanninen
    11:50 on May 13th, 2013
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    The ending surprised me, even though I thought I had everything figured out. Hunter’s characters come alive, and Bob Swagger becomes the type of guy you would like living next door to you. His American machismo is bold and refreshing. My only problem with the book came in the precious detail paid to gun and firing accessories. I had no idea what he was talking about, even though I probably should have. I suppose much of it was important to the plot, but all the background on the black light and those who perfected it probably bogged down the plot, rather than aided it. All in all, powerfully written and a great read–especially for a man.

  • Paul Eden
    12:11 on May 13th, 2013
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    This book arrived quickly but in a little less than the condition that was advertised. It was absolutely in good enough condition to read and pass along to others. The book itself was very good as expected from Stephen Hunter. I would recommend this book to others.

  • Moe Green
    14:30 on May 13th, 2013
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    As the second book in the “Bob the Nailer” series, this is a very strong sequel. It gives the reader a better understanding of Bob and what made him the man his is today.

    Hunter’s action sequences are amazing, heart-pounding, page-turning mastery. The plot of this book is a continuation of Point of Impact, and it is interlaced with a little dash of the novel Dirty White Boys.

    I immediately read Hot Springs by Hunter right after this one to learn more about the famous law man Earl Swagger. I highly recommend reading the books in the following order:

    Point of Impact
    Black Light
    Hot Springs

    You’ll love this series! By the way, I wouldn’t bother reading any of the Bob Lee Swagger books after Black Light. They get pretty far-fetched, and the original plot line was basically used up after Black Light.

  • JohnnyMorales
    15:18 on May 13th, 2013
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    I had read ‘Time to Hunt’ and thought it was a good story, however I didn’t really care about Bob Lee Swaggers’ character. In ‘Point of Impact’ I gained a better understanding of who Bob Lee Swagger is and grew to like him. It was interesting how this story was a prequel to ‘Time to Hunt’. It was also better.

    My only thought is that the ending would/could have been more dramatic if left before the final 100 pages or so.

  • Samantha Kay
    16:46 on May 13th, 2013
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    Wow, this book is amazing! Well written and technically pretty good. Bob “the Nailer” is not one of those annoyingly perfect good guys that don’t really exist. He has his share of problems, which are explained in the book but not dwelled on for long.

    There are some pretty good reviews here that sum up the story pretty well, so I’m going to skip that. I will say that I normally read only sci-fi/fantasy and had long ago grown weary of these type of books. But the way Hunter combines the convoluted plot twists that Ludlum loves so much with the attention to detail that Clancy is so known for and then adds his own ability to tell a story in an interesting way really hooked me.

    You just may find yourself shopping for a Winchester mdl 70 or a Remington 700 (in .308, of course) before the end of this one!

    “One shot, one kill”

  • Interessant
    17:53 on May 13th, 2013
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    Stephen Hunter has done it again. He has brought back Bob Lee Swagger. A sniper who can be a killing machine. Black Light and Point of Impact are my two favorites of his books. I did not want to put the book down. Bob Lee goes back to Blue Eye, Arkansas to find out about the death of his daddy. His dad, Earl, was a state trooper and killed in the line of duty or was he murdered????? When Bob starts asking questions people come after him and his friends. A lot of action and an ending that will surprise you. A great finish!!!!!!! If you like a lot of action and suspense you will like this book.

  • At first sight
    18:35 on May 13th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    A good fun read, and very hard to put down- but don’t expect a life changing experince.

    The central cahracter Bob Lee Swagger, is plucked from retirement to test some new ammunition. Surprisingly he finds himself set up , and must use his wits and his Remington 700 to clear his name. So much for the plot. What you have hear is an enjoyable romp, with bad bad guys, good good guys and a few helpless women thrown in along the way. Bob Lee is a well sketched out character, and if you can you can ignore a number of serious plot flaws you will find a very enjoyable techno thriller.

    Incidentally, as a shooter of some talent myself, most of the technical stuff is about right.

  • theTruth
    20:05 on May 13th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book is very good but I recomend you read Point of Impact first, It will make more sense to you then. Also if you want the ending to be as much of a shock as he meant it to be then read Dirty White Boys before Black Light too. However if you are only going to read one of these first then stick to Point of Impact.

  • Dino Demeris
    21:46 on May 13th, 2013
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    Bob Lee Swagger is not a man to mess around with. He was a military sniper, with the second highest number of kills in Vietnam. Then he came home to a country that shunned sniping, and he went into seclusion in the Arkansas mountains.

    Now he’s been called out. A shady government conspiracy wants to use him in an assassination–as the fallguy. And when Swagger does indeed fall for it, lured into a trap, he promises his tormentors will pay…with their blood…

    Helping him is FBI agent Nick Memphis, who’s just recieved his third strike. An odd pair, but together, they must unravel a far-reaching conspiracy…and bring vengence upon those who deserve it.

    “Point of Impact” was the first Stephen Hunter novel I read. It got me hooked on his writing, though few other novels lived up to it (“Dirty White Boys” was pretty good, if I recall correctly). This novel is a thriller of the highest caliber (no pun intended). It’s about a proud Southern gunman pushed to the limits…the one spot where you DON’T want him to be! This is a terrific, suspenseful book, and if you are a fan of thrillers and haven’t read it yet, then you absolutely must.

  • iwtebjdtkzy
    22:32 on May 13th, 2013
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    Just great entertainment. The story really carries you on. Very fluently written… reads easily. A negative point is that the book sometimes gives a lot of details about guns and rifles : I don’t know anything about this and it doesn’t really interest me either. Especially during the first 100 pages, this was sometimes a pain. But overall, it was great to read this book.

  • Jeff Adams
    0:04 on May 14th, 2013
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    i’ve never read any of stephen hunter’s books before, so i’m not exactly sure how this compare to his other stories, but i do know that if they are like this one, i’m not in a hurry to read them. the book full of details. details about EVERYTHING. it tends to drag a bit from all the details. the last quarter of the book, when bob lee and russ actually start to stuff other than drive and read, starts to get a bit better.
    i will admit though, at the end of the book, all of the details from the beginning are important. if you were paying attention to them, you’ll be able to spot a few hints as to who killed bob lee’s father. the ending is a real shocker though, just when i thought i had it figured out, i was all wrong. i believe that even if you pay strict attention to ALL the details, you will still be surprised.

  • Bampton
    2:02 on May 14th, 2013
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    I thought Black Light was a pretty good book. After reading Point of Impact I was very excited to see that Hunter was going to give us some details on how Earl Swagger died and what kind of man he was.

    In the first book, Bob Lee Swagger, Earl’s son, was upset because the press said he and his father had a tendency towards violence, referring to the shootout between Earl and two robbers in 1955. It said Bob Lee was upset because they made it sound like his father was just a cold-blooded killer and the press never mentioned anything about all the people he’d saved in the process of killing the robbers. But in Black Light there were no people to save. It was just Earl and the two robbers shooting it out on the side of a road with no one else in the area.

    Other than that, the book was outstanding. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  • tennis
    2:37 on May 14th, 2013
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    I’m a redneck, so that’s not a put down.

    Some critics complain because, according to them, this is not Hunter’s best. One complains because the title refers to untraviolet light, while in this story they use infrared (I’d bet the author knew that, and that the handle ‘black light’ is interchangeable). Then there is the guy from Pennsylvania who asserts that this is a true reflection of how horribly the white race treated the blacks in the South. I lived in Florida as a youth, and in my opinion, “black hell” is the urban North, not in the rural South.

    None of this is what the book is about. This is an exciting adventure thriller about the son of an Oklahoma highway patrolman, retired, who apprehended, shot and killed a “bad guy” who had terrorized Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, after breaking out of the prison in McAlester with his cousin and another man. That story was told in Dirty White Boys, another of Hunter’s atories. This book is a follow-up, although it stands alone and needn’t be read in series.

    Bob Lee Swagger is the son of Earl Swagger, an Arkansas highway patrolman who was killed by two cousins on a crime rampage, and was himself killed in the ensuing gun battle. But, there is a mystery as to who actually killed Earl Swagger, a congreesional medal of honor recipient. Bob Lee Swagger, Earl’s son, and Russ Pewtie, son of Oklahoma highway patrolman Bud Pewtie, set out to solve the mystery.

    If you like fast-moving action thrillers, with lots of suspense, good characterization, and excellent plotting and research, you will appreciate Stephen Hunter’s books, and this is no exception. He writes masterfully, which is why he is a top-selling author in his genre. He knows firearms, and has an encylopedic knowledge of makes, models, ballistics, and accessories. To boot, he telegraphs a conservative’s viewpoint, which is an added attraction for me (liberals tend to be gun-haters, and seem to know very little about them–and it shows.)

    As to the critics who complain that this is not Hunter’s best, I am left begging the questions: Why? What is missing? The plotting is still excellent. His vocabulary is not diminished. The suspense is maintained throughout. The story still holds you, as do his others. What is it that makes it any less than his other stories, if that is so? I found it just as good. I find him at the top of storytellers in his genre. I’m always amazed at the fault-finders who pit a great novelist against himself, like a golfer who is in a slump. There is no slump here. I’ll read as many of Stephen Hunter’s books as I can get hold of, and enjopy them all equally. The carping critics who attempt to show their great erudition by faulting genius should, perhaps, show us how it should be done with their own book, for comparison.

    Joseph (Joe) Pierre
    author of Handguns and Freedom…their care and maintenance
    and other books

  • viscaheel
    2:59 on May 14th, 2013
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    ‘Point of Impact’ is definitely the sort of book for those who subscribe to Guns & Ammo. It’s a intricate assassination thriller involving sharpshooters who can shoot a fly 1000 yards out. What we have is copious discussion on the intricacies of guns/rifles and ammo, and the techniques needed to excel at being a sharpshooter, or for the wickedly inclined, a sniper. The story is not quite believable, actually not even close, but the author writes with such exuberance and the characterizations are great. I found the uber machismo banter to be a bit tiresome; this certainly ain’t “chick lit”. Yet overall there is much to enjoy here.

    Bottom line: a wild ride for NRA crowd with enough goodies for pacifists to enjoy. Recommended.

  • FrodoPants
    4:55 on May 14th, 2013
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    This is the fifth Stephen Hunter book I have read. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. This is no exception. It offered a unique perspective from the past with Earl and in the present with Bob Lee. Like all of his books, there tends to be a bit of a stretch of reality at times — but its all smart, exciting action. I look forward to reading the next Hunter novel. I highly recommend this book.

  • Roxy Marani
    6:49 on May 14th, 2013
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    In BLACK LIGHT, the real second book in the Swagger trilogy (DIRTY WHITE BOYS, although Stephen Hunter claims it is, is not part of the Swagger trilogy- it is only part of the Swagger universe), falls victim to the middle child status, but rightfully so. Like many trilogies, the second installment is often subpar and serves merely as a bridge between the original and exciting high concept opening and sets up an exciting climax for the end of the trilogy.

    Still, BLACK LIGHT is clever in spots, reading like a good murder mystery, even though the denouement is a bit predictable. It doesn’t depend as heavily on firearms as its predecessor, POINT OF IMPACT, and Bob Lee Swagger’s character is allowed to naturally develop. He’s looser, more prone to joke, but still keeps his trademark irascibility and taciturnity.

    In BLACK LIGHT, Swagger begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding his father’s death 40 years before. He is joined by some Holden Caulfield-type character who almost has no place in the novel. Personally, I feel that this kid, whose father, in DIRTY WHITE BOYS, had killed the son of the man accused of killing Swagger’s father, would’ve been better employed merely as a catalyst to get Swagger in action, then gracefully disappearing.

    Still, as with TIME TO HUNT (the close of the Swagger trilogy), Hunter switches back and forth in time frames rather adroitly in Tarantino fashion, delineating the chain of events for us.

    There is one particularly violent gun battle and a heart-stopping sniper’s duel toward the end of the book.

    All in all, a not very satisfying read, but Hunter’s talent and professionalism nudges it in the realm of competent novels.

  • Fermin Pilon
    8:56 on May 14th, 2013
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    Absolutely Outstanding. I read Stephen Hunter’s Point of Impact many years ago just as this type of genre was beginning to introduce itself. The lone, quiet Vietnam hero just trying to make it while caught up in the materialistic, overly complex, anything-goes-as-long-as-I-get-mine world of lies, deceit, and treachery. I kept the book in my “keeper” library and when the movie “Shooter” was due for release I decided it was time to once again visit Bob Lee Swagger of Blue Eye, Arkansas. All I can say is it was just as good if not better the second time around.
    This is without a doubt so far the best of Mr. Hunter’s novels. The plot is quick paced, tight, and filled with just enough techno-geewhiz that you can’t put it down. At a healthy 569 pages it took me 3 days to follow the wonderful story. Character development was superb and lends itself to future Swagger books. The 4th is due sometime next year. Although there were numerous characters, Mr. Hunter did a masterful job of introducing and developing them as the plot moved along. Excellent use of action but no gratuitous violence or sex. Some graphic violence was a must to make the plot realistic but Mr. Hunter did what was required and no more. Some coarse language but again it was to make the story real.
    All in all Hunter’s best so far. A must read, especially for that long overdue vacation. I am very curious to see how the book fares in the movie. Somehow I just can’t see how a 2 hour movie can do it justice.
    I would really like to see Bob Lee Swagger meet up with Jack Reacher; I think they would really like each other!

  • nagihan
    10:43 on May 14th, 2013
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    …unfortunately, his transitions range from difficult to ugly. Cards on the table: this is escape fiction. It’s made for the beach or some other leisure time that you want to be simply entertained, not intellectually challenged. The signature demand of escape fiction is that you NOT have to think about it.

    Generally, Hunter is great at this. Bob Lee Swagger is a tight-lipped Robert Mitchum character who ostensibly does only one thing well. He shoots. At that, he’s the best. What he aims at, he hits.

    See how the last three sentences I wrote hang together. They have a rhythm that, while not similar to the seductive rhythm that Hunter starts this book with, is somewhat reflective of it. Rhythm is essential to escape fiction. It lulls you into a semi-torpor that allows for the complete suspension of disbelief. Statements, actions, character traits, plot twists and turns–you’re ready to swallow all of them whole, so long as the rhythm stays on track. You become lost in the author’s fantasy, the world he has created (or stolen, or remembers)the life of his protagonist, and you just want it to go on that way page after page.

    POINT OF IMPACT starts out this way. I found myself slipping through sentences at break-neck speed. Everything clicked.

    Until the start of Chapter Five where the second protagonist is introduced as a character in current narrative. This seems to happen suddenly after a long string of exposition. You’re into the book 12% according to my Kindle which page numbers a closely guarded secret, and you see Swagger’s relationship with those who seek to exploit him come to a mini-climax that you know can’t be truly serious because, after all you’ve got 88% to go.

    Then, abruptly you are ripped out of your revery, torn from the perfect rhythm of the first four chapters and made to consider Nick Memphis’ mournful loss of the love-of-his-life-that-he-never-had-sex-with-because-he-almost-murdered-her-by-way-of-introduction, and presto chango, THE SPELL IS BROKEN. Trying to capture the new rhythm proves to be impossible, although you get to stick your toe back in the next chapter.

    The consequence of the spell being broken and the rhythm changing is that you are no longer in suspension of disbelief mode and you begin to question his premises. This continues throughout the book as the spectacular action becomes less and less believable. You want to believe it, because that was the purpose of reading at the beach. (which I can do with my 3G Kindle, even if I have to buy a new book there to do so.)

    The narrative continues, but now, predictably. Swagger and Memphis catch their tits in the proverbial ringer. They blindly enter the ambush of no routine, then miraculously emerge. Hunter gives you clues, except now, instead of sliding along with the rhymic narrative, they stick out like billboards in the desert. You get the impression that Hunter wrote the book backwards so that the real Bob Lee Swagger can read ahead and see what he has to do to miraculously get out of the trap laid by the bad guys or the FBI’s Howard Duty (another bad guy) or whoever. Since he’s read say 50% ahead (don’t ask me about pages–my Kindle doesn’t do pages) he knows to sabotage his gun to prevent his conviction on homicide charges. Of course, Memphis isn’t this smart. He just has blind faith because Swagger is pure and everybody else ain’t.

    See what I mean? This sort of thing is not meant to be considered. You’re supposed to just go with the flow. Stay in the stream and let the current carry you. But once you pop out on the far bank and climb through the mud and go to the trouble of drying your hair, you start to think about it and the incredible-bility of the book smacks you in the face. I have a lot of lesser criticisms of the book, because after chapter five I started underlining and entering notes. (something the Kindle does SO MUCH BETTER than real books) However, the book is already shot down. It was heading towards 5 stars, but I’m taking off a star and a half because Hunter made me think when I didn’t want to.

  • Joshua Tucker
    11:17 on May 14th, 2013
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    Its hard for me to write this because I love reading Stephen Hunter. But this book just didn’t do it for me. There was not much action (At least compared to “point of impact” and “time to hunt”). Also, the way bob lee handled some situations was not true to his form. His legendary Skill and Stone cold confidence was lacking. Over all i was bored with this book and the few exiting times were overshadowed by unbelievibility and too much luck in getting him out of his binds he always seems to get into. Some of the action sequences could go strait into and an Arnold Schwarzenneger movie without missing a beat. One last thing….Hunter is known for going into detail about everything, even if its not pertinant to the story, which is fine, but he may have gone overboard this time.

  • GildaAnon
    13:19 on May 14th, 2013
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    One book that parrellels the two Swagger men.
    Want to know how Earl Swagger met his match? Curious as to what Bob Lee’s been up to since “Point of Impact?” Well then here’s one whole book that resolves both the issues. In “Black Light” not only do we find where Earl’s violent end came, but we also find out the “True” origin of the sadicious Richard, from “Dirty White Boys.”
    Once again Bob Lee teams up with a green horned tender foot, on a mission of adventure and death, to try and discover the true last chapter in his father’s untimely death. And to find the master mind behind the killer. Chaos, adventure, and great dialogue insue from the beginning to the end.
    Hope you enjoy.

  • Mark Birch
    15:06 on May 14th, 2013
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    I kind of read this one out of order with “Black Light.” But that still didn’t stop me from enjoying this novel as well. Maybe a little more. Although its interesting to note that Nick Memphis has not made an appearence in any of Hunter’s other tales. He’s about run out of usable time for the two Swagger men. Unless he plans to cover Earl’s service years in the Marines. Anyway, back to “Point,” Hunter’s knowledge and research into our sub-culture of guns is astounding. I myself own a few, though I don’t get to hunt or shoot as much as I used to, I still consider myself a part of that sub-culture, so I guess what I’m trying to say is, is that I enjoy the gun details, the bullet grains, the droppage, and the assignment of an actual manufactured firearm to a character.
    Oh yes, once again someone has double crossed a swagger, but just like his father before him, Bob Lee is nearly uncrossable, eventhough they try not to they always under estimate him, his opponents consider him a country hick, a bumpkin who doesn’t know much more than shooting, but alas they get it everytime, the Swagger men are smart as they come as well as deadly as they come.
    Read enjoy, live the action and join “Bob The Nailer,” as he is nearly framed for an assassination then hounded throughout much of the U.S. until he seeks his revenge and begins to the hounding.

  • Storm Bailey
    16:38 on May 14th, 2013
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    When I was younger, my reading M.O. was fairly simple: I’d find a writer I liked, and then read everything they ever wrote. This worked well for a while, as I worked my way through the offerings of such genre greats as Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Robert Bloch. Over the years, however, my tastes expanded to the point where I could no longer indulge myself that way (“So many books, so little time.”) Before Stephen Hunter, I hadn’t read three books in a row by the same author in fifteen years.

    A good friend of mine turned me on to Hunter, recommending POINT OF IMPACT, wherein the author introduces Bob Lee Swagger, a professional shooter known to his peers as “Bob the Nailer.” In POINT, Swagger becomes involved in a conspiracy of massive proportions and has to fall back on the lethal skills he learned in Vietnam in order to extricate himself. The incredible action sequences and the swift pacing of POINT left me anxious for more.

    I moved on to DIRTY WHITE BOYS, which has one of the most memorable first lines you’ll ever read. DWB tells the story of lawman Bud Pewtie and his encounter with an escaped convict, the savage and wily Lamar Pye. As Pewtie’s son says later in BLACK LIGHT, “They were fated somehow, mixed together.” Pewtie seems to have a strange affinity for Pye, tracking him against all odds until the two square off in an epic battle at book’s end. By now I was well and truly hooked on Hunter.

    Imagine my glee when I heard that he had just published another book, the last leg of a loose knit trilogy involving POINT OF IMPACT and DIRTY WHITE BOYS. BLACK LIGHT tells the tale of Russ Pewtie, son of lawman Bud, who decides to write a book about Earl Swagger, Bob Lee’s father. Russ is fascinated by Earl, who died in a bloody shootout with Jimmie Pye, Lamar’s daddy. Pewtie enlists the reluctant Bob Lee’s help, and together they travel back to west Arkansas to investigate the strange circumstances of Earl Swagger’s death. Their arrival stirs up a world of trouble, and only Bob Lee’s extraordinary talent for survival keeps the pair alive.

    These novels really cook. Hunter is a truly American phenomenon–his prose evokes Steinbeck (the parallels to OF MICE AND MEN in DIRTY WHITE BOYS really strike a chord) and Faulkner, and his obsession with the past reeks of Ross MacDonald. Don’t get me wrong, though, this ain’t no “lit’ry” book as Lamar Pye might say. These novels speed along like runaway freight trains–the action is intense, and the suspense Hunter generates is on the level of Forsythe’s DAY OF THE JACKAL or David Morrell in TESTAMENT or BLOOD OATH. Hunter also has a sense of humor–if he doesn’t leave you sweating, he’ll leave you laughing.

    Hunter also displays great expertise in the field of weaponry; the pages of these books teem with gun lore and technical minutiae. Guns and rifles play an integral part in these tales, providing insight into the protagonists and the world they inhabit. Hunter may be entirely wrong on the details, but he writes with such authority I doubt that’s the case. I’m not a big gun fan, but I found the level of detail fascinating.

    Hunter is a powerful, violent, unsettling, entertaining and informative writer. I ended my streak at three straight, but I continue to eagerly snap up any title with Hunter’s name on the cover.

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