The Third Bullet: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel Hardcover – 8 Jan 2013
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“The Swagger novel we've all been waiting for, and the Swagger novel Stephen Hunter was born to write . . . a magnificent thriller—and it might even be true.” (Lee Child #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Wanted Man and The Affair)
“Like an elite sniper, Stephen Hunter zeroes in on one of the most infamous shots ever fired and delivers a mind-bending thriller that answers the question ‘What if?’ in astonishingly plausible detail. The Third Bullet is his best Bob Lee Swagger thriller yet.” (Vince Flynn #1 New York Times bestselling author of Kill Shot)
“Former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger tackles the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories—the 1963 Kennedy assassination—in his latest adventure. . . . The author’s obsessive attention to the events of Nov. 22 yields a stunningly plausible theory that will have readers holding the book in one hand and Googling satellite photos of Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository with the other.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Hunter is extremely well-versed on guns and ballistics, and Swagger is nothing short of a legend. . . . it’ll be catnip to conspiracy-minded readers . . . The whole thing ends with a shootout in rural Connecticut that's so tense you'll burn your dinner rather than stop reading.” (Washington Post)
“Hunter’s action-packed new thriller, The Third Bullet . . . introduces a shockingly plausible alternative to the Lee Harvey Oswald-‘lone gunman’ explanation.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
“For nearly 50 years, the world has been obsessing over the assassination of JFK, from grassy knolls to magic bullets. Finally, though, there’s somebody on the case who likes to act more than talk: Bob Lee Swagger. . . . like Stephen King in 11/22/63, Hunter has used the assassination to forge a terrific thriller.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Bestseller Hunter’s solid eighth thriller featuring master sniper Bob Lee Swagger . . . plunges into the byzantine world of conspiracy theory. Hunter develops some new angles on the JFK assassination.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Some of Hunter’s best writing can be found here, along with new revelations about Swagger . . . . Then, of course, there is the investigation into Kennedy’s death on that fateful day in Dallas and its conclusions. Hunter raises some thought-provoking questions, and while the ‘who’ in the equation may still be in doubt, the answers to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ may be contained in this work, which is labeled as ‘fiction’ but could be much more.” (Bookreporter.com)
“The Third Bullet is as riveting as it is ambitious. It's Stephen Hunter's best so far.” (Michael Connelly #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Drop and The Black Box)
“Stephen Hunter is the bullseye ace of the modern thriller, a cerebral mix of mystery, blood, brutality, treachery and suspense. The Third Bullet is Hunter at the absolute apex of his art. Come on—it's time to hunt!” (Stephen Coonts New York Times bestselling author of The Disciple)
“One of the hardest things for a writer to do is establish an identity, but there is no mistaking Stephen Hunter’s thrillers. They have a unique insight into what it takes to be a hero, combined with an unequaled lyrical, even poetic approach to the ballistics, tactics, and firearms of a gunfight. Hunter’s novels (what a great last name, given his themes) combine authenticity with fascinating, compelling, real-feeling characters, and in The Third Bullet, he even adds a further dimension, experimenting with structure while embedding literary quotations. To me, he's a model of what a thriller author can be.” (David Morrell New York Times bestselling author of First Blood)
“Only Stephen Hunter, with his brilliant knowledge of firearms, could have produced The Third Bullet and offered up a plausible explanation for one of our nation’s greatest mysteries. Despite the explosive subject matter, there is a jauntiness approaching pure joy in both the reading and the storytelling. This book will be huge.” (C.J. Box New York Times bestselling author of Force of Nature)
“Mr. Hunter, as adept at spinning a yarn as Swagger is at hitting a bull’s-eye, has had the freedom to not only theorize, but also to create characters and situations designed to answer most of the questions raised by skeptics over the years. This transparency permits his clever, smartly constructed, and well-researched plot to fit the known bits and pieces of what happened on that dark day in Dallas into a completed jigsaw puzzle that shows readers precisely why the crime was committed—and who did it. No big surprise: It’s not Lee Harvey Oswald. . . . Ever since Swagger’s first appearance in Point of Impact (1993), the author has provided his hero with antagonists worthy of the name. Meachum is a cut above the usual, not merely aristocratic, arrogant, powerful and resourceful, but unexpectedly humane, at times whimsical and sentimental and, for much of the book, surprisingly compassionate—especially when considering the enormity of his crime. In short, to modify the Tom Wolfe title, he is a villain in full.” (Dick Lochte New York Journal of Books)
“Stephen Hunter’s novel on the assassination of JFK is captivating, compelling, and thoroughly engrossing. The history has been painstakingly researched. The plot is classic Hunter: twisty, gritty, and fast-paced but tempered by the humanity of Bob Lee Swagger. In short, The Third Bullet is riveting storytelling for fans of fiction or non.” (Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Low Pressure)
“Hunter is at the top of the list when it comes to modern thriller writers.” (Breitbart.com)
About the Author
Stephen Hunter is the bestselling author of The Third Bullet, Dead Zero, Point of Impact, and many other 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It takes real skill to 're-imagine' such a famous event in a new light, yet Hunter manages to blend factual events into his fictional world so you can't possibly see the joins. He also brings a unique flavour to the Swagger novels, the smell of machine oil, the rasp and clunk of heavy weaponry, the subtlety of the long-distance shooter. Few writers can bring technical descriptions to chilling life with such authority - and succeed in making them an integral part of the plot.
Don't expect all-out fast-paced action-adventure. This is a psychological investigation; a battle of the mind between men who can't see each other, can't even be certain that their opponent even exists.
As such, it's a brilliant interpretation of the life of a sniper.
Great to see SH back on form...
Hunter is and remains the genius savant of intelligent action-thrillers - and a great writer to-boot.
The Third Bullet starts with an interesting premise (the JFK assassination) that is very appropriate to the well-established Bob Lee Swagger character, and you know that Hunter will bring an imaginative, well-informed, thoughtful and perceptive eye to the affair. Which he does. The book is ingenious, and it's worth a read.
Yet unlike most of Hunter's previous work, I won't be re-reading this. There are a couple of reasons. First, the plot is simply too similar to that of a previous novel -- I won't say more for fear of spoilers, but let's say that what should be rewarding surprises are instead disappointing let-downs. Second, the action sequences are written as if Hunteris aware of this repetition) and cannot really be troubled to bring himself to compose the action with his trademark gifts of immersion, immediacy, visceral detail and rich atmosphere. Instead, he seems to be saying "Ho hum, you know what's gonna happen anyway, I'll just sketch it out".
Now Hunter is still damn good, and possibly this book will be more satisfying to a new reader than it has been to this old one, and the premise and resolution are still smart enough to deserve three stars.
But I think it may be time for Bob Lee to retire to his porch with a bottle of (non-alcoholic) Coke, and watch the sun go down over his horses.
"... in all the years and against all investigation and attempts to comprehend, in all the theories, in the three-thousand-odd books by clowns of various mispersuasion, no one has ever come close to penetrating our small, tight, highly professional conspiracy. Until now." - Hugh Meachum, a key fictional character in THE THIRD BULLET
"Readers should be assured that I've made a good-faith effort to play fair by the data established in 'The Warren Commission Report' ... In my effort to construct a legitimate alternative narrative to the WC, I alter no known facts in order to make my argument tighter. I do reserve the novelist's right to reinterpret motive and reason." - author Stephen Hunter from "A Note on Method" in THE THIRD BULLET
Author Stephen Hunter is a "gun guy." In this Bob Lee Swagger thriller, Hunter has Swagger, the ultimate gun guy, focus on the third bullet fired during the JFK assassination in Dallas - the bullet that took off the top of the President's head. (See the slowed-down and enhanced Zapruder film on the Web to appreciate the violence of the hit.) It's Swagger's (i.e.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bob Lee Swagger is back, this time hunting the real sniper who shot JFK in Dallas in 1963. With lots of authentic firearms lore, and enough gunfights to keep Swagger fans happy,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by John Pilgrim
Hard work! Read most of Steven's Bob Lee Swagger novels, and enjoyed very much, but struggling with this one!
Sorry Steven!! JDH.
V enjoyable and exciting - also enjoyed looking at You Tube and Google to check the known wisdom of JFK's demise.
I'm going with the Hunter Report version...
I got as far as page 313 then had to stop reading because the thing annoyed me so much. Lazy, trite plotting tricks, a tin ear for dialogue and a central theme so full of holes... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Glamsrv
I did not find this book as good as previous swagger books .It has a very complicated story line ,although an extremely clever an almost believe able plot. Read morePublished 13 months ago by neil farrow
Brilliant alternative take on the who killed JFK conspiracy. First work out how it was done, then you can focus on the who and why? Very readable and a great story.Published 16 months ago by Marty