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4.4 out of 5 stars
Black Light (Bob Lee Swagger)
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
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!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed the book. Typical of Stephen Hunter books, I read it in essentially two 'sittings' which means that I stayed up and read almost all night. If I have anything to offer as a complaint it would be that I like to read a series through from beginning to end, The charachters and situations develop and build upon the previous books but I can't find anything like a chronilogical listing for the Bob Lee Swagger series and other than short mentions hadn't read any of the Earl Swagger series but this book really fits into both with a lot of the 'time' spent in the past developing(?) the character of Earl (Bob's father for those who haven't read any of the books - this is not a spoiler, knowing that won't spoil any suspense). For anyone who is not OCD about chronography like me, pick up this or anyone of Hunter's books and enjoy! I'd welcome anyone who could offer a propper chronology of the novels, date of writing doesn't seem to relate to when in Bob's life the story takes place.
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