Dead Zero (Bob Lee Swagger Series #7)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter returns with his popular hero Bob Lee Swagger and kicks it up another notch when Swagger has to track down an AWOL Marine sniper who resurfaces to complete his last mission. Ray Cruz – called the Cruise Missile by the grunts because he never missed a shot – is still hunting a warlord who has since become America’s proudest ally in the Afghan war and may be political savior all have been waiting for. Has Ray gone rogue, or insane, or has he turned? Or is someone ...
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Dead Zero (Bob Lee Swagger Series #7)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter returns with his popular hero Bob Lee Swagger and kicks it up another notch when Swagger has to track down an AWOL Marine sniper who resurfaces to complete his last mission. Ray Cruz – called the Cruise Missile by the grunts because he never missed a shot – is still hunting a warlord who has since become America’s proudest ally in the Afghan war and may be political savior all have been waiting for. Has Ray gone rogue, or insane, or has he turned? Or is someone imitating Ray while playing a deeper game with a more terrifying objective. Swagger, on the task force meant to catch Ray Cruz before he takes out his prey, has to find out, even if in some deep place, his heart in with the sniper. In a starred review of Hunter’s previous bestseller, I, Sniper, Publisher’s Weekly declared that “Hunter is back at the top of his game.”
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Several months after the betrayal of a covert operation in Afghanistan leaves a Marine sniper team dead, the target of that mission, top Taliban commander Ibrahim Zarzi (aka "the Beheader"), changes sides, in bestseller Hunter's stellar seventh Bob Lee Swagger thriller (after I, Sniper). Zarzi travels to the U.S., where he meets the president and key congressional leaders and offers the State Department its best chance at achieving a stable, reliable Afghan government. Meanwhile, a Marine radio operator receives a message from Gunnery Sgt. Ray Cruz (aka "the Cruise Missile"), one of the snipers believed to have been killed. Cruz has returned stateside to continue the mission. The FBI calls in retired Marine sniper ace Bob Lee Swagger to help find Cruz before he blows off the Beheader's head, but someone is following "Bob the Nailer" to get to Cruz first. Solid characterization complements the tight, fast-moving plot. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Stephen Hunter’s brilliantly realized action tale Dead Zero sets a sniper to catch a sniper. And it should come as no surprise that the sniper doing the catching is none other than Hunter's seminal series hero Bob Lee Swagger. . . . Once again Swagger hits the bull’s-eye and so does Hunter. Master of the modern gunfighter tale, he isn't just the best action writer of this generation, but the best of any.”—The Providence Journal

“It's probably no accident that the hero of Stephen Hunter's Dead Zero is named Bob Lee Swagger. Few authors, of any genre, write with as much swagger and verve as film-critic-turned-thriller-bestseller Hunter. . . . As expected, Hunter once again writes with a brutal beauty.”—Ft. Worth Star Telegram

“Reading a Bob Lee Swagger novel is like visiting your favorite uncle, the one with the mysterious limp, the locked gun safe, and whose wild tales are often truncated by your concerned parents…It's a complicated story with the usual twists and spinouts and double-crosses, but what lifts it above the fray is its smarts and its broad cast of decently drawn characters.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Hunter, 64, is the longtime (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) film critic for The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, and the Swaggers—Bob and his father, Earl—are his most memorable creations. . . . As the latest adventure opens, Ray Cruz—a much younger and equally gifted Marine sniper—is tracking Ibrahim Zarzi, a corrupt Afghan politician nicknamed "The Beheader" . . . Armed with his SR-25, Cruz is inventive, charismatic and, in short, everything Bob the Nailer used to be. Dead Zero is at its best when Hunter has Cruz in the novel's crosshairs.” . . . I can only hope it's the novel that finally convinces Hunter to flesh out the history of a new sniper and allow Bob the Nailer the retirement he so richly deserves.”—The Oregonian

“Despite overwhelming critical acclaim for his seven-book Bob Lee Swagger series, Stephen Hunter and his novels seem to stay under the general readership radar. . . . The books are so well-crafted and expertly written that it's easy to forget they're adventure-thrillers.”—Sacramento Bee

“Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger is getting to be almost as popular as James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux or Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. This ‘old coot,’ as Swagger calls himself, has a staying power that won't quit. . . . Bob Lee Swagger and his marine hero dad Earl are super soldiers in the world of fiction. . . . In Dead Zero, Swagger uncharacteristically hunts with the pack. And he doesn't like it one bit. There's a marine sniper out there who just won't die. He mirrors Swagger in his talent and intensity. His name is Ray Cruz . . . Dead Zero is packed with Hunter's patented action sequences, great character studies and sinister villains working on their doctorate in Power. Here's hoping we see more of the unstoppable Ray Cruz. He'd make a fitting successor in Hunter's army elite.”—Madison County Herald.com

"The only book better than a new Jack Reacher novel is a new Bob Lee Swagger adventure. Dead Zero, with a dynamite plot and riveting characters, is everything any action fan could want as Swagger, now hitting Senior Citizenhood, pits his wits against a man who could be a younger version of himself."—Toronto Globe and Mail

“[A] juicy premise, which Hunter admits adapting from Patrick Alexander’s 1977 Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal; transformed to a contemporary setting, it evokes the government-treachery themes of ‘24’ but does so with less cartoony derring-do and a considerably more nuanced exploration of the psychology of the soldier. . . . A top-notch thriller.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Stellar . . . Solid characterization complements the tight, fast-moving plot.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In Hunter’s latest, Bob Lee Swagger stalks Bob Lee Swagger. Well, just about. If anyone could be more valorous, more skilled and resourceful, more uncompromisingly upright, and at the same time more downright deadly than Bob Lee Swagger, it would have to be Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz. . . . [An] intricate, interchanging game of predator to prey and prey to predator.”—Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Master sniper Bob Lee Swagger (I, Sniper) is back for yet another mission, proving that while older, he is no less clever and potentially deadly. In Afghanistan, the assassination of a terrorist goes wrong, and one marine survivor, Ray Cruz, decides to complete the mission and kill the man known as the "Beheader." There's a problem, though: now the terrorist has become a U.S. ally and a darling of the administration. Thus, our government wants Cruz stopped and recruits Swagger to do the job. But he soon suspects that all is not as it seems to be and that others want Cruz dead as well. As usual, Hunter's latest thriller contains more twists, turns, and surprises than a bad country road.Verdict Like good Scotch, Swagger ages marvelously and, in a similar way, even seems to mellow. Swagger is now 64, and even he wonders just how long he can continue his heroics. Recommended for readers who enjoy a lot of satisfying action, adventure, violence, and an extremely engaging hero. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews

In Hunter's latest (I, Sniper, 2009, etc.), Bob Lee Swagger stalks Bob Lee Swagger. Well, just about,

If anyone could be more valorous, more skilled and resourceful, more uncompromisingly upright, and at the same time more downright deadly than Bob Lee Swagger, it would have to be Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz. As it is, the men are mirror images of each other, both U.S. Marine templates—super snipers, hands that have never known a tremor, iron-nerved and killer-eyed. When they meet it almost goes without saying that they will admire and respect each other enormously, but it's a meeting that will happen under desperate circumstances. Cruz has had a task assigned to him that Swagger is charged with interrupting at all costs. Cruz, nicknamed "the Cruz Missile" to suggest his devotion to getting the job done, has been ordered to take out a certain Ibrahim Zarzi, nicknamed "the Beheader," for reasons that have made him hated and feared up and down the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Suddenly, however, Zarzi seems to undergo an epiphany, which transforms him from a malodorous jihadist into a sweet-smelling American asset, a sea change with an obvious effect on Cruz's mission. Except that Cruz, who has suffered and survived much during his pursuit of the Beheader, doesn't buy the varnished version and refuses to back off. Nothing to be done, then, it's decided in the inscrutable, impenetrable corridors of power, but to haul the 64-year-old Swagger out of retirement and set a super sniper to catch a super sniper. And so the intricate, interchanging game of predator to prey and prey to predator is lethally afoot.

A premise that had a chance to be compelling is diffused by a momentum-killing willingness to digress. Hunter has done much better.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441853837
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Series: Bob Lee Swagger Series , #7
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3-CD, 13 hrs. 40 min.
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hunter has written fifteen novels. The retired chief film critic for The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, he has also published two collections of film criticism and a nonfiction work. He lives in Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 179 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(80)

4 Star

(59)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 180 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    horrible

    was the worst stephen hunter book i have ever read. i looked to me like he was trying to set the series up for a new character. bob lee was not bob lee, he had none of the quality's that we grow to love about this character. the idea was sound but the delivery was reckless and unimaginative. it seemed to me like he is tired of writing this character so he just made it bad on purpose. i could expect this kind of novel from a beginner, but not after books like time to hunt and 47th samurai. shame on him and shame on his editors

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Good Book

    I found it to be an easy read and it went by quickly. Too quickley, in fact I found mysekf staying up way too late just so I could read a little more. In typical Stephen Hunter fashion his details for the weaponry is excellent which I believe not only ' puts you there' it brings the adventure to life. Simply pur if you enjoyed ISnipe you will right at home with Dead Zero. Enjoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Swagger thriller is a fabulous entry with a strong cast

    In Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, U.S. marine sniper team Whiskey 2-2 is deployed on a covert operation to kill Taliban commander Ibrahim "the Beheader" Zarzi. However, someone betrayed the unit leaving them massacred by professionals in the tribal area.

    Several months later, Zarzi quits the Taliban. He travels to America where he meets the president and congressional leaders. The State Department believes he is the best choice to bring a corrupt free stable government to the war torn nation. At the same time, apparently Marine Gunnery Sergeant Ray "the Cruise Missile" Cruz, thought dead in the Zarzi massacre especially with the crater remains of the unit as proof, has reported by radio using last years codes. He resolutely will complete his final mission. The FBI deploys retired Marine sniper Bob "the Nailer" Lee Swagger to prevent Cruz from beheading the Beheader while someone in the shadows tracks Bob in order to kill Cruz before he can be debriefed.

    The latest Swagger thriller (see I, Sniper and Night Thunder) is a fabulous entry with a strong cast especially the lead male trio. Besides non-stop action, the story line contains an insightful look at political strange bedfellows in which yesterday's most wanted for assassination becomes today's most wanted ally or visa versa; think of Reagan-Bush 41 befriend Hussein in the 1980s becoming public enemy number one for Bush 41 and Bush 43. Swagger understands this as his mission is to do whatever including kill a fellow marine to protect an Afghan who probably led the slaughter of Whiskey 2-2. Fast-paced, fans anticipate the collision as The Cruise Missile targets the Beheader with The Nailer targeting the Cruise Missile while someone waits in the shadows to clean up the mess.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Big Bad Swagger

    Swagger comes ouy of the hills and hollers to excite us once again. Each new book just brings me closer to Swagger as if he were the neighbor up the road and just stopped by and asked if I would feed his dog for a few days. Then he is gone for a few months and just reappears. It never ceases to amaze me how many people know of his exploits the world over he was never declared a national hero. I know this is fiction but written as if you really do know the man as a close neighbor. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to ne entertained with a fast moving good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Action-packed relentless suspense thriller!

    Stephen Hunter does it again. More intense action than usual, even! Don't read all the reviews - they tell too much about the plot! Just start the book and you will be hooked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    Good read.

    Satisfying!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    Another good read... so where are the other movies?

    Another page turner with seemingly promise of more to come. Mr. Hunter writes with well researched prose weaving another great story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    Always a excellent read

    Started reading and didn't put down until finished.
    Stephen Hunter is factual while still keeping the reader totally absorbed.
    Top marks again for an excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2013

    As usual Hunter's books, a Great Read

    Stephen Hunter has created a "can't wait for the next book" series based upon three characters. Earl Swagger, Bob Lee Swagger and now Ray Cruz. Good story that will keep you interested.

    The books weren't written in order by the characters, so I recommend that you start reading with the fist of these books with Hot Springs. I didn't and now I'm going back and reading them in order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Another great read from Stephen!

    This must definitely become a movie!!

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    These times cry out for a real Swagger!

    Love Bob Lee, love his toughness, his devotion the right over wrong, and his willingness to step up. Mr. Hunter is one of the greats currently in print.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Stephen Hunter and Bob Lee Swagger - what more could anyone want.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Zero

    He walks away of agony

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Agony

    Stands up and staggers around.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Like all the Bob Lee Swagger series, this one was great!

    From beginning to end, a great read. Stephen Hunter has introduced Ray Cruz. Bob Lee is gettingn too old for all the action and Ray is going to pick up where he leaves off. The only problem I had was I couldn't put it down once I got started reading. I've read all the Earl Swagger, Bob Lee Swagger series and have enjoyed every one. I hope there will be more to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Excellent

    This book continues the series in a good way. Enjoyed the book immensely.

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  • Posted November 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Best "Bob the Nailer" to date!!

    Although Swagger did not do any shooting in this book, I still think it was the best in the series. The story was modern, believeable and well told, a real page turner. I liked all of the high tech elements the author incorporated as well as the need to try to figure out who the bad guys were.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Dead Zero

    I just finished reading this book on my new ebook reader. I've read most of Hunter's books, this one is the least satisfying of the bunch. It was a mediocre introduction for a new charactor I think.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    Great book

    I found the book hard to put down. The characters of Cruz and Bobby Lee kept your attention from start to finish, with a twist at the end.........

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Slow to get started... fairly exciting middle... uninteresting climax.

    First of all, Bob Lee does not come into the picture for a little while in this one. It finally gets started when he is teamed up with Nick Memphis again, but the ending left me unsatisfied. Bob Lee Swagger has always been a character with a hands-on approach to solving things, and the ending to this one did not really match up to his character. It felt more like a Jack Ryan story than a Bob Lee Swagger story. My favorite Swagger story is still I Sniper.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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