I, Sniper (Bob Lee Swagger Series #6)

( 268 )

Overview

Four famed '60s radicals are gunned down at long range by a sniper. Under enormous media scrutiny, the FBI quickly concludes that Marine war hero Carl Hitchcock, whose ninety-three kills were considered the leading body count tally among American marksman in Vietnam, was the shooter. But as the Bureau, led by Special Agent Nick Memphis, bears down, Hitchcock commits suicide. In closing out the investigation, Nick discovers a case made in heaven: everything fits, from timeline, ballistics, and forensics to motive,...

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I, Sniper (Bob Lee Swagger Series #6)

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Overview

Four famed '60s radicals are gunned down at long range by a sniper. Under enormous media scrutiny, the FBI quickly concludes that Marine war hero Carl Hitchcock, whose ninety-three kills were considered the leading body count tally among American marksman in Vietnam, was the shooter. But as the Bureau, led by Special Agent Nick Memphis, bears down, Hitchcock commits suicide. In closing out the investigation, Nick discovers a case made in heaven: everything fits, from timeline, ballistics, and forensics to motive, means, and opportunity. Maybe it's a little too perfect.

Nick asks his friend, the retired Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, to examine the data. Using a skill set no other man on earth possesses, Swagger soon discovers unseen anomalies and gradually begins to unravel a sophisticated conspiracy — one that would require the highest level of warcraft by the most superb special operations professionals. As Swagger penetrates the deepest secrets of the sniper world and its new technology, Nick stands firm in the face of hardball PR initiatives and an inflamed media calling for his ouster.

Swagger soon closes in, and those responsible will stop at nothing to take him out. But these heavily armed men make the mistake of thinking they are hunting Bob, when he is, in fact, hunting them.

I, Sniper will satisfy Stephen Hunter's legions of fans and win him droves of new ones with its signature blend of brilliant plotting, vivid characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and extraordinary gunfights. And when Swagger and the last of his antagonists finally face each other, reenacting a classic ritual of arms, it is clear that at times there's nothing more necessary than a goodman with a gun and the guts to use it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Hunter keeps Bob Lee Swagger, his home-spun, hard-charging hero, doing what Swagger does best in his sixth novel to feature the former Marine sniper: thwarting the authorities, staying loyal to a disappearing code of honor and hunting down evildoers who deserve everything they get. When a sniper shoots dead Joan Flanders (think Jane Fonda) and three other victims associated with the 1960s peace movement, the FBI decides the killer is “the most famous sniper in America,” Carl Hitchcock, who’s gone nuts and decided to up his total number of kills. Swagger soon realizes that Hitchcock, a fellow ex-Marine and Vietnam vet, is innocent, while the real killer, who’s using cutting-edge, electronic sniper gear, is still at large. After two inferior Bob Lee Swagger books, The 47th Samurai (2007) and Night of Thunder (2008), Hunter is back at the top of his game. He’s the best on the subject of guns and what damage bullets can do to human flesh. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Someone is killing the aging antiwar radicals of the 1970s and using incredible sniping skills to do it. With bodies piling up, the FBI calls on the skills and knowledge of Bob Lee Swagger (last seen in Night of Thunder), who quickly determines that an American war hero has been framed and then murdered. The chase is on to find out who's responsible and why. As with all of Hunter's Swagger novels, there is much more than meets the eye, with cover-ups and nasty villains galore. Swagger is a loner, a paladin, and a violent and politically incorrect corrector of injustice, a cousin to Lee Child's Jack Reacher. VERDICT Hunter's thrillers are always taut, exciting, and well written, and his latest is no exception. There's also a lot of gun and tech talk as Swagger uses decades' worth of skills to stay a step or three ahead of the baddies. Swagger fans will not be disappointed.—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews
In his guns-a-poppin' latest, Hunter pits his series hero (Night of Thunder, 2007, etc.) against a nest of sharp-shooting vipers. For a while, Carl Hitchcock was viewed as the ultimate warrior: a super marine, a sniper extraordinaire, none more famous. Credited with 93 kills in Vietnam, he traveled the gun-show circuit, basked in gunslinger glory, sold autographs, raked in testimonial money and was an authentic NRA rock star. But then Hitchcock cracked, went rogue, took to taking down certain of those who, back in the day, had been in the vanguard of the anti-Vietnam war movement; inevitably, the media tagged him the "Peacenik Sniper." Eventually, after relentless pursuit by the FBI, Hitchcock saw no way out but to shoot himself. Or so the narrative went. Persuasive as it was to virtually all, it left Bob Lee Swagger unsettled. In his view, a renegade Carl Hitchcock was a contradiction in terms. The behavior ascribed to him was a betrayal of the code of warrior honor. In short, it was not "the sniper way." It smacked of conspiracy, dark and dirty. Asked by FBI good guy Nick Memphis to help with the investigation, Bob Lee soon proves himself right while proving to others that no dark-and-dirty conspiracy, no matter how powerfully mounted, is safe so long as there are knightly snipers to keep the faith. Ah, but there are wicked snipers, too, just as sharp-eyed, trigger fingers every bit as quick. Really? Well, dust off the OK Corral. Even the somewhat squeamish (11 shivery pages amount to a tutorial in how to endure water-boarding), and even certifiable gun-dummies, may once again find chivalric, heroic Bob Lee just about irresistible.
From the Publisher
“…Hunter is back at the top of his game.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“It’s a troubling moral position, of course, the idea of the sniper as a man of courage, and Hunter makes the most of it, demanding that the reader rethink common cultural assumptions about good and evil. Those philosophical underpinnings give the narrative depth, but finally, as all Bob Lee fans know, it comes down to 'straight killing time.' And so it does, in a ramped-up, high-tech High Noon finale that will leave even unsympathetic readers gasping. As always, Hunter makes it work with precise, detail-rich prose that strips the faux glamour from gun fighting and leaves only the skills of the combatants set against the horrors they wreak.”—Bill Ott, Booklist, starred review

“In his guns-a-poppin’ latest, Hunter pits his series hero against a nest of sharp-shooting vipers. [D]ust off the OK Corral. Even the somewhat squeamish, and even certifiable gun-dummies, may once again find chivalric, heroic Bob Lee just about irresistible.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Hunter's thrillers are always taut, exciting, and well written, and his latest is no exception. There's also a lot of gun and tech talk as Swagger uses decades' worth of skills to stay a step or three ahead of the baddies. Swagger fans will not be disappointed.”—Robert Conroy, Library Journal

"Stephen Hunter’s I, Sniper brings back one of the great characters in modern thrillerdom, Bob Lee Swagger, everyone’s favorite lethal, dour Southerner. I kind of want Swagger to meet up with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher one day, in a contest to see who could say the least while doing the most damage."—Malcolm Gladwell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602856547
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Series: Bob Lee Swagger Series , #6
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 591
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hunter has written eighteen 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, American Gunfight. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Read an Excerpt

1

The time has long passed in America when one can say of a sixty-eight-year-old woman that she is “still” beautiful, the snarky little modifier, all buzzy with irony, signifying some kind of miracle that one so elderly could be so attractive. Thus everyone agreed, without modification, that Joan Flanders was beautiful in the absolute—fully beautiful, extremely beautiful, totally beautiful, but never “still” beautiful. Botox? Possibly. Other work? Only Joan and her doctors knew. The best in dental work, an aggressive workout regimen, the most gifted cosmeticians and hairdressers available to the select? That much certainly was true.

But even without the high-end maintenance, she would have been beautiful, with pale smooth skin, a lioness’s mane of thick reddish blond hair, piercing blue eyes set behind prominent cheekbones, a slender stalk of neck and a mere slip of body, unfettered by excess ounces, much less pounds. She was dressed in tweeds and white cashmere, expertly tailored, and wore immense sunglasses that looked as if flying saucers of prescription glass had landed on the planet of her face. She took tea with a great deal of grace and wit, with her Hollywood agent, a famous name but with a dull generic quality to him no one would recognize, and her gay personal assistant. The group sat on the patio of the Lemon Tree in downtown East Hampton, New York, on a bright fall day with just a brush of chill in the air as well as salt tang from the nearby Atlantic. There were two other stars on the patio, of the young, overmoussed generation, one female, one indeterminate, as well as a couple of agents with their best-selling writers, the wives of a couple of Fortune 500 CEOs, and least three mistresses of other Fortune 500 CEOs, as well as the odd tourist couple and discreet celeb watchers, enjoying an unusually rich harvest of faces.

Joan and Phil were discussing—the market recovery? Paramount’s new vice president of production? The lousy scripts that were being sent her after the failure of her comeback picture Sally Tells All? Ex-hubby Tom’s strange new obsession with the kiddie shoot-’em-ups of his past? It doesn’t matter. What matters is only that Joan was twice royalty: her father, Jack, had been one of the major stars bridging the pre- and postwar era and she had gotten his piercing eyes and bed-knob cheekbones. She was pure Hollywood blueblood, second generation. But as well, her second husband had been a prominent antiwar leader in the raging if far-off sixties, and her picture, aboard the gunner’s chair on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery, had made her instantly beloved and loathed by equal portions of her generation. That made her political royalty, a part of the hallowed crusade to end a futile war; or it made her a commie bitch traitor, but still royalty. The rest was detail, albeit interesting. She had won an Oscar. She had been married to the billionaire mogul T. T. Constable, in one of the most documented relationships in history. She had made one of her several fortunes as an exercise guru and still worked out three hours a day and was as fit as any thirty-five-year-old. All who saw her that day felt her charisma, her history, her beauty, her royal presence, including the tourists, the other stars, the wives and mistresses, and her executioner.

He spared her and America the disturbing phenomenon of a head shot. Instead, he fired from about 340 yards out and sent a 168-grain Sierra hollow point boat tail MatchKing on a slight downward angle at 2,300 feet per second to pierce her between her fourth and fifth ribs on the left-hand side, just outside the armpit; the missile flew unerringly through viscera without the slightest deviation and had only lost a few dozen pounds of energy when it hit her in the absolute center of the heart, exactly where all four chambers came together in a nexus of muscle. That organ was pulped in a fraction of a second. Death was instantaneous, a kind of mercy, one supposes, as Ms. Flanders quite literally could not have noticed her own extinction.

As in all cases of public violence, a moment of disbelief occurred when she toppled forward, accidentally broke her fall on the table for a second, but then torqued to the right and her body lost purchase and completed its journey with a graceless thud to the brick of the patio. Nearly everyone thought “She’s fainted,” because the rifle report was so far away and suppressed that no identifier with the information “gun” was associated with the star’s fall to earth. It took a second more for the exit wound to begin copious blood outflow, and that product spread in a dark sheen from her body, at which point the human fear of blood—quite natural, after all—asserted itself and screams and panic and running around and jumping up and down and diving for cover commenced.

It wasn’t long before the police arrived and set up crime scene operations, and not long at all after that when the first of what would become more than three hundred reporters and photographers arrived on scene and the whole two blocks of downtown East Hampton took on an aspect that resembled none of Joan Flanders’s twenty-eight films but vividly recalled those made by an Italian gentleman named Federico Fellini. In all that, no one noticed a blue Ford van pulling out of an alley 340 yards away to begin a trip to another destination and another date with history.

The shooter did not spare his audience the theatrics of gore for his next two victims. He went for the head, hit it perfectly, and blew each one all over the insides of the Volvo in which they were just beginning their daily commute. The range this time was shorter, 230 yards, but the ordnance was identical and the accuracy just as superb. He hit the first target one inch below the crown of the skull, dead center. There had been no deviation through the rear window glass of the heavy Swedish car. Unlike in the Flanders hit, there was no immediate hubbub. Jack Strong merely slumped forward until his shattered skull hit the steering wheel and rested. His wife, Mitzi Reilly, pivoted her head at the ruckus, had a second’s worth of abject horror—police found urine in her panties, a fact not publicized, thankfully—before the second bullet hit her above and a little forward of the left ear. In both cases the hollow point target bullet blossomed in its puncture of skull bone and spun sideways, whimsically, as it plowed through brain matter, then exited in a horrendous gusher of blood, gray stuff, and bone frags, above an eye in one case, below the other eye in the other, cracking the face bone like a pie plate.

The car, which was in gear and running, then eased forward under the pressure of Jack’s dead foot and hit the wall of the garage, where its progress halted. No one heard the gunshots, and indeed, the sound of gunshots in that part of Chicago was not remarkable to begin with. Jack and Mitzi lay like that for over an hour until a FedEx truck came down the alley seeking a shortcut through Hyde Park. The driver had trouble getting by, noticed the exhaust tendrils still curling from the pipe, and got out to inquire of the drivers what was going on. He discovered the carnage, called 911, and within minutes the Fellini movie starring Chicago police, FBI, and media had commenced on this site too.

It would be said that Jack and Mitzi went out together as they had lived, fought, and loved together. They were famous, not as much as Joan Flanders, but in their own world stars as well. Both tracked their pedigrees back to the decade of madness against which Joan Flanders had stood out. But it had been so long ago.

Jack, high-born (né Golden) of Jewish factory owners, well educated, passionate, handsome, had grown up in the radical tradition in Hyde Park, taken his act to Harvard, then Columbia, had been a founder of Students for Social Reform, and for a good six years was the face of the movement. At a certain point he despaired of peaceful demonstration as a means of affecting policy, much less lowering body count, and in 1971 went underground, with guns and bombs.

It was there that he met the already famous Mitzi Reilly, working-class Boston Irish, fiery of temperament and demeanor, intellectually brilliant, who had already been photographed on the sites of several bombings and two bank robberies. Redheaded with green eyes and pale, freckly skin, she was the fey Irish lass turned radical underground guerrilla woman-warrior, beloved by media and loathed by blue-collar Americans. She reveled in her status, and when Jack came aboard—it was a matter of minutes before they were in the sack together, and the fireworks there were legendary!—the team really took off, both in fame and in importance. They quickly became the number one most wanted desperadoes on J. Edgar’s famous list, and somehow, through sympathetic journalists, continued to give interviews, stand still for pictures—both had great hair, thick, luxuriant, and strong, artistic faces; they burned holes in film—and operate.

Their biggest hit was the bombing of the Pentagon. Actually, it was a three-pound bag of black powder going boom off a primitive clock fuse in a waste can that created more smoke than damage, but it was symbolic, worth more than a thousand bombs detonated at lesser targets. It closed down a concourse for a couple of hours, more because of the insane press coverage than for any actual threat to people or operations, but it made them stars of an even bigger magnitude.

Their career began to turn when they were building a bigger bomb for a bigger target, but this time the boom came in the bedroom, not the Capitol, and both fled, leaving behind a good sister who’d managed to blow herself up. They were hunted and running low on money, and a violent bank robbery may or may not have followed—the FBI said yes, it was them; the Nyackett, Massachusetts, police were split—that left two security guards dead, shot down from behind by a tail gunner. It was a bad career move, whoever did it, because the dead men had children and were nothing but working stiffs, not pigs or oppressors or goons, just two guys, one Irish, one Polish, trying to get by, with large families depending on their three jobs, and the hypocrisy of a movement dedicated to the people that shot down two of the people was not lost on the public. Jack and Mitzi were never formally tied to this event, because the bank surveillance film, recovered by the police, was stolen from a processing lab and never recovered. Otherwise, it was said, they’d be up on capital murder charges and have a one-way to the big chair with all the wires attached, as Massachusetts dispatched its bad ones in those days.

A few years passed; times changed; the war ended, or at least the American part of it. Jack and Mitzi hired a wired lawyer who brokered a deal, and then it came out that in its efforts to apprehend them, the police and federal agencies had broken nearly as many laws as the famous couple had. In the end, rather than expose their own excesses to the public, the various authorities agreed to let it all slip. They were “guilty as hell, free as a bird,” as Jack had proclaimed on the event, and able to rejoin society.

The academy beckoned. Each, with a solid academic background, found employment and ultimately tenure in Chicago higher ed. Jack taught education and achieved a professorship at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus; Mitzi, who’d graduated from the University of Michigan law school, came to rest at Northwestern’s law school. The two bought a house in Hyde Park and spent the next years preaching rather than practicing radicalism. It seemed an extraordinary American saga, yet it ended, just like Dillinger’s, in a Chi-town alley in pools of blood.

“Someone,” said Mitch Greene, holding up a copy of that day’s Plain Dealer with its blaring head police, feds hunt clues in protest slayings, “please tell Mark Felt I don’t wanna play anymore.” He got some laughter from the few before him who knew that Mark Felt had been the FBI’s black bag guy long before he became Woodward’s Deep Throat, during the wild years when Mitch Greene was running hard and starring in his own one-man show, “Mitch Greene v. America: the Comedy.” Among its brighter ideas: a wishathon by which America’s kids would will the planes full of soldiers to return to California. And the bit where he petitioned the Disney Company to open a “Vietnamland,” where you could chuck phosphorous grenades into tunnels and animatronic screaming yellow flamers would pop out and perish in the foliage? Wonderful stuff. Alas, more of his audience remained mute, these being the slack-faced, mouth-breathing tattoo and pin exhibits called “the kids” who now made up his crowds in larger and larger percentages. Forget Felt; did they even know who Mitch was? Doubtful. They just knew he wrote Uncle Mitch Explains, a series of lighthearted history essays that preached Mitch’s crazed lefto-tilt version of American history with a great deal of the ex-rad’s charm and wit and had become, astonishingly, consistent best sellers.

So here he was, another town, another gig. The town was Cleveland, the gig was The Gilded Age: Peasants for Dinner Again, Amanda? Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gould, those guys, the usual suspects, the data mined quickly for outrageous anecdotes, the dates at least right courtesy of a long-suffering research assistant (“Mitch, you can’t really say that.” “Oh yeah, watch me.”) Another mild best seller, though it annoyed him the Times BR no longer listed his books in the adult section but only in its monthly kid section.

“Mr. Felt,” he ad-libbed, “please don’t have me killed. I ain’t a-marching anymore.”

Again, the laughter was limited to those few who saw the allusion to the famous Phil Ochs anthem of the sixties protest generation. Still, it was a pretty good crowd for a weeknight in Cleveland, in a nice Borders out in the burbs. He saw faces and books and the blackness of the sheet glass window, and he had a nice hotel room, who knows, maybe he could get laid, judging by the number of women with undyed gray hair knotted into ponytails above their muumuus and their Birkenstocks, and his plane to Houston wasn’t at a brain-dead early morning hour.

But then someone hollered, “Mark Felt is dead.”

Mitch replied, “Tell this guy!” holding up the front page even higher.

That got a good laugh—even most of the kids caught it. He was quick, when he was on the road, to adapt the latest developments into his shtick. His real gift was for stand-up and he’d even tried it for a few years in the eighties, though with not much success. A typically lighthearted op-ed piece in the Daily News had attracted an editor at one of the big, classy midtown houses, and the next thing you know, he was a success again, in his second career, after the first, which consisted of overthrowing the government and stopping the war in Vietnam. The only problem with the writing, he often remarked, not originally, was the paperwork.

Was Mitch Greene funny because he looked funny, or did he look funny because he was funny? Good question, no answer, not even after all these years. He had one of those big faces—big eyes, big nose, big jaw, big bones all the way around, big ears, big Adam’s apple—all of it set off by a big frizz of reddish-gold-turning-to-gray hair, a kind of Chia Pet gone berserk. When he smiled, he had big teeth and a big tongue.

“Anyhow, boys and girls,” he said, “and that includes all you grandpas and grandmas, because if you haven’t checked lately, you still are divided into boys and girls, not that it matters at our—oops, I mean, your age—this psycho thing we have going on now, with some berserk redneck dressed in camouflage and a ‘Bring Back Bush’ bumper sticker on his pickup, is a reminder of one thing: you may want to ignore history, but unfortunately history will not ignore you. Who said that originally? Ten points and I’ll only charge you ten bucks for an autograph.”

“Trotsky,” came the call.

“Give the man a joint,” said Mitch. “Anyhow, to be serious for just a second, we have a nutcase killer playing sniper wannabe shooting down some of my cohorts who gave it up to stop the war in Vietnam all those years ago. You little peasants weren’t even born then, that’s how long ago it was. Anyhow, these folks really gave it up for peace and to bring our boys—your dads—home in one piece. Since you’re all here, you can see it worked. Now some guy is playing get even with the commies, because that’s the way his mind works. No good deed goes unpunished, just like the man says. But history, guys and gals, it could kill you. And until it does, you may as well have a laugh or two at history’s expense, which is why I worked for at least seven, no, maybe as many as eleven days on the book, which gives you a sense of where it started: with the wretched excesses of capital, of men with so much money they couldn’t spend it, and after the fifth mansion, housing lost its charm, so they—”

The bullet hit him in the mouth. It actually flew between his two big sets of choppers and plowed through the rear of the throat to the spine, which it all but vaporized into thin pink mist on the exit. His head did not explode like Jack’s and Mitzi’s, as the cranio-ocular vault had not been compromised with an injection of velocity, energy, and hydraulic pressure. The bullet flew on through and hit a wall. But with the bisection of Mitch’s spine, animal death was instantaneous, though Mitch’s knees hadn’t got the message and they fought to keep him upright, even fought through the collapse of all that weight, so instead of tumbling he sat down and happened to find his chair with a thud, almost as if he’d finally gotten sick of hearing his own voice. No one got it. Attention was also claimed by an oddity of sound—the nearly unspellable sound of something shearing through glass, a kind of grindy, high-pitched scronk that announced that a gossamer of fracture, like a spider’s delicate web, had suddenly been flung across the large front window a hundred feet beyond Mitch at his lectern, and that at its asymmetrical center a small, round, actual hole had been drilled in the glass, which, though grievously damaged, held. As no loud report was registered, no thought of “gun” or “bullet” occurred to anyone for at least three full seconds, just the weird confluence of the bizarre: Mitch sitting down, shutting up, the window going all smeary. Hmm, what could this mean? But then Mitch’s head, still intact, lolled forward and his mouth and nose began to issue blood vomitus in nauseating amounts.

That’s when the jumping, screaming, shouting, hopping, and cell phone photoing began, and soon enough the police-FBI Fellini movie would begin its new run in Cleveland.

© 2009 Stephen Hunter

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 268 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 274 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good fun, lots of cool tech stuff about weaponry.

    Exciting from start to finish, I,Sniper has hero Bob Lee Swagger in great form. Amazingly, Stephen Hunter's almost 70 year old Bob Lee is still a vital and unforgettable character. (Think Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino") Tough as nails, but honor and duty bound, he wades through the bad guys with little difficulty. Not even torture can keep him down. Great entertainment all around.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2010

    Good Book - Embarrassing Gaffe for Publisher on First Page

    On the very first page, there is an obvious typo which casts a pall over the book, which otherwise reads very well. The book, entitled "I, Sniper", is very clearly, in large print titled "I, Snipper". No, I am not kidding! I am so tired of publisher mistakes such as this and wish I could get my money back like I could for other damaged materials. This leaves a bad taste for the rest of the book, which is really very good and better than the other previous Hunter books have been. I ordered this in the Nook version, so perhaps it is different in the printed version - I certainly hope so. As it is, I really would like to see publishers and book sellers start standing behind their products, especially for blatant errors such as this!

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    Great Read

    I'd certainly give the leftie who put this book down a quarter for his copy; in fact I'd give him the full asking price. Like every other Swagger book I couldn't put this one down. It was obvious who the bad guy was from almost the get go but it was enjoyable to witness his demise. Long live B. L. Swagger!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good book, but ...

    I, Sniper is a good read. The plot moves right along without the wandering verbiage so many mystery writers seem to fall into. We don't need 30 pages of character building, thanks very much.

    Hunter provides the usual cast of characters, well done, good dialog.

    I would quibble that the plot is a re-run of one of his earlier novels (evil forces conspire to muddy the name of a hero and Swagger must defeat them) But it is so well done that it is worth the read.

    If you like Hunter, you'll like this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2010

    Won't pick up Hunter again.

    It pains me to write this review of a favorite author. In "I, Sniper" it is obvious that Stephen Hunter has given up on caring about the little things that make a novel great. He seems dead set on making a political statement; bashing the "Liberal Media" in Glenn Beck fashion, exposing the arrogant elitists for the moral deviants he believes them to be. Everyone hates the poor Marine sniper and loves the Hollywood star. I can get this rubbish on Drudge without paying twenty-six dollars for it.
    Here are some flaws in the story that finally caused me to put the novel down:

    Strike 1. On page 119, Swagger is receiving a report from agent Chandler about sniper trainer Anto Grogan. Her report is professional and filled with the military lingo of an experienced veteran, but when Swagger ends the conversation with "Out here," Chandler reverts to being a (paraphrasing) "Dumb girl".

    Strike 2. On page 171, Swagger was catching up on the news and relates a story of a Wyoming congressman who represents the district where a Hollywood elitist owns a vast ranch. Newsflash: Wyoming has only one member in the House of Representatives who represents the entire state, not any one district.

    Strike 3. On page 183, Nick Memphis's second in command begins a diatribe on how the media creates some false image that the poor republicans are bad and everything Liberal is good. That's fine with me if Stephen Hunter believes such rubish, but he shouldn't try to disguise it as a work of fiction.

    I don't have any more because I put the novel down at Chapter 25. Stephen Hunter, you disappoint me, sir. I have been a Huge fan until now. I will put "I, Sniper" in a trashcan. I would be too embarrassed to sell it for a quarter at my wife's next garage sale.

    4 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Very good

    As a retired military member, 1966 to 1987, I have met my share of soldiers like Bob Lee. Those that volunteered for more than 1 tour in SEA did it for love of country. Sadly, their return to The World caused more pain for them than the war itself. Every one I know from that group is a patriot and a conservative. Hanoi Jane caused the death of 2 prisoners when notes they gave her for their families were given to a guard. It is reasonable to assume that Bob Lee is as conservative as I. I am a proud patriot. God Bless America.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

    Great read for a Conservative minded patriot.

    Along with a great plot, Hunter is extremely accurate when it comes to anything guns. I'm so tired of some idiot Liberal writing something stupid about guns because they haven't researched the subject, or simply hate guns. This author knows guns, and writes realistic TODAY kinds of plots that he has thoroughly researched. A real winner among all of his fine books. Liberal wimps will not enjoy Hunter's writings!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Bored to death. Recommed only if you have trouble sleeping.

    I have read all of the Swagger novels and was anxious to read this one. It was a total disapointment. As a matter of fact, it bored me to death, and for the first time ever it put me to sleep. There was just to much description, which I could have lived without, and did not enhance the story at all. Sad to say this is the first Hunter novel that I just could not finish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Legacy Continues

    Swagger is back! There are definite turning points in the book that will keep you reading late into the night or perhaps long past the start of your favorite TV episode. You will most likely enjoy how this book ends and perhaps even think of the Gunslinger (Dark Tower) series.

    It is difficult to fully appreciate this book without having read the entire Swagger series. Nonetheless, this may be the book that motivates you to mass purchase Stephen Hunter's earlier works and then quickly realize the cheer character development is plenty to keep you wanting more.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    1 of my top 5 all-time thrillers!!!

    This book is absolutely fantastic. Extreme page-turner, very very intelligent plot and writing, wonderful main characters, original plot, extremely satisfying endings to book and other incidents within. I will get all of the other Stephen Hunter books, since this was my first one. What a treat! I've now read a couple more, and they are almost as good - this one tops them all!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    confusing

    unlike some of his early books, this one in attempt to weave a good story, confusing reigns!! in order to "keep" up the attention span, i often would skim several paragraphs in order to follow with an important event, issue and even a character. while i will continue to read his books, i wish he would change his style and givee his readers a story that is rich in characters as well as complexity of events.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Bob Lee Swagger never misses

    All of the Swagger navels have been entertaining, and the writer is very knowlegeble about firearms. In this book,the future of scope technologies is explored. It presents a solution to all of us long range shooters for range and windage compensation. Read it and enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2012

    I'm a Stephen Hunter fan. This is one of the good ones.

    I have now read all of the books in the Bob Lee Swagger Series. In this one, I particularly liked the old Viet Nam combat veteran getting the chance to feel admiration & love from the younger men now in the military.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    Glaring Error

    At the beginning of Chapter 4, Nick is at a press conference in Washington, D.C. On page 34, at the end of the chapter he has Nick saying he can be in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 3 hours and that "It was 9:35 p.m, 10:35 in the Midwest." Last time I looked, Grand Rapids as well as the rest of the state of Michigan was in the same time zone as D.C. Even if Grand Rapids were in a "midwest" time zone, it would be an hour earlier, not later than D.C.

    Also, the dialogue is almost unreadable. I think chapter 4 is all I will finish. He needs a better editor.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I, Gamer

    I, Sniper is a fun read. Yes, there's a lot of killing, but it feels more like a video game than real life. Stephen Hunter does a great job at playing the reader along, tricking and surprising to the end. For me, there were no politics involved, because, as I say, I saw it as entertainment. If you take it too seriously, well, you might get worked up. Life's too short for that.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    Thriller

    Another great thriller with a surprise ending!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    1 Sniper

    First book by this author. However, I will now find the rest of his books and read them. Especially the Bob Lee Swagger Series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    I, sniper

    A very good read although a little to heavy on the techno-babble and a little light on action.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Good. Not the best.

    A bit drawn out, slow starting but decent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Great book

    Vvery good

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