TIME TO HUNT by Stephen Hunter
In TIME TO HUNT, which again features the tough, sniper-eyed hero, Bob Swagger he is deep in the jungle of Vietnam. Bob's main concern is to make sure his buddy and comrade in arms, Donny Fenn makes it back safely to base camp. It is Donny's last mission. He will have served his tour of duty. The mission proves uneventful until Bob picks up a May Day call from Team Arizona base camp. Team Arizona are taking heavy incoming fire and are trapped. Due to the appalling weather there is little chance of being air lifted out. Bob sets off to go to their aid. Donny, determined not to leave his buddy without back up cover goes with him. So begins a game of cat and mouse, in which Bob, using his deadly-eyed sniper talents, gradually begins to undermine the platoon of crack Viet Cong troops on their way to eliminate the Arizona base camp.
Preceding this part of the story, Stephen Hunter sets the basis of his novel, (it is a really chunky novel at 595 bullet stopping pages - hence my amazon rating of four instead of the full five points) at the Parade Deck, Washington DC, in which the character of Donny becomes established against the background of civil unrest and anti Vietnam war marches
So the story moves on away from the jungles of Vietnam, ......... to the current day. Bob has completed his tour of duty. It is here that to my mind the most suspenseful part of the story begins. Bob finds that he is he being targeted by an ace sniper who was connected to that same campaign in Vietnam, in which Bob and Donny played such a deadly and active part. Not only does Bob realise that his own life is once again on the line, but also the lives of his wife and child.
What establishes this novel is the detail in which the author gives his readers, about the precision required by a sniper and the difficulties encountered in hitting a target hundreds of yard away. It takes into account the angle of elevation, wind speed factor as well as weather conditions. I found this engrossing.
But to say it is entirely a novel devoted to guns and warfare would be given the wrong impression. It also, towards the second half of the novel, creates a family involvement In which the loyalty and character of Bob's wife is put to the test.
To sum up, if you like a tough-shooting-action- packed-suspense thriller, THE HUNTER, hits the target.