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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great action story that avoids all the tired cliches.
This was the first Stephen Hunter novel I read and it immediately made me go out and get as many of his other books as I could find. This is a riveting story that thrills and entertains without falling into the usual cliches so many other authors resort to.
There is a razor sharp line that divides the good guys from the bad guys. At times you don't know who to root...
Published on November 15, 2002 by T. King

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Stephen Hunter Piece
Suspend the sense that somehow Bud Pewtie is indestructible. Hunter explains it all. Nice touch on steel shot being less prone to causing infection than lead. Was this Hunter's shotgun book? Another interesting book placing firearms, particularly (in this one) handguns, in an important role. A .357 Magnum in the hands of Richard seemed like a bit much. Why was Bud...
Published on September 13, 2010 by W. Speers


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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great action story that avoids all the tired cliches., November 15, 2002
By 
T. King (Brooklyn, N.Y. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
This was the first Stephen Hunter novel I read and it immediately made me go out and get as many of his other books as I could find. This is a riveting story that thrills and entertains without falling into the usual cliches so many other authors resort to.
There is a razor sharp line that divides the good guys from the bad guys. At times you don't know who to root for. If you are new to Stephen Hunter, I envy you. Although his books are good enough to read more than once, there is nothing quite like reading a great book for the first time.
Let me give you a bit of advice: some of Hunter's earlier works were very disappointing. I guess he was still trying to find his voice. Avoid TAPESTRY OF SPIES. THE SECOND SALADIN and THE MASTER SNIPER are good but don't compare to his later work. The DAY BEFORE MIDNIGHT was very good and I highly reccomend it. I suggest reading the following in this order: DIRTY WHITE BOYS, POINT OF IMPACT, BLACK LIGHT, A TIME TO HUNT. Enjoy!!
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Boys" keeps you on the edge of your seat!, June 20, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
"Dirty White Boys", technically the second novel in Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger epic, keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Although reader's will not fully understand the novel without first enjoying Hunter's "Point of Impact", it is still a wonderfull storyline simply to read on it's own. Although extremely graphic and violent, the book kept me spellbound until reading the final page. One of the greatest aspects of Hunter's style is his outright refusal to make any of his villians completely morally bankrupt and his unwillingness to make any hero without faults. Lamar Pye is a complete criminal, perfectly psychotic and inherently violent. Still and all, you cannot bring yourself to condemn him completely, from the life he wishes he could lead to his loyalty and allegance to his band of killers. Also, the lawman Bud Pewtie is himself faulted, and is simply trying to do the right thing by bringing the escaped convicts to justice. I would recommend "Dirty White Boys" to any serious reader, but should first say you should start with "Point of Impact", read "Boys" and then finish with "Black Light". The novels are all masterfully interwoven, although each has their own characters to assist the plot and make the storylines all the more masterful. For a wonderful and wild ride, read all of these books. Stephen Hunter never dissapoints.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of a winning literary trifecta, March 3, 2007
By 
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid thriller with moments of greatness, February 4, 2001
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Stephen Hunter book & I read it because Stephen King listed it in "On Writing" among the best books he'd read over the last three or four years. "Dirty White Boys" is grippingly paced, best read in one or two sittings to get the full effect of the fast-paced action. Lamar Pye, Bud Pewtie and Richard Peed are extremely well drawn for such a fast-paced book. I found Odell unconvincing, even a bit silly. Among the lesser characters, I especially liked Lt. C.D. Henderson. What bothered me about an otherwise fine violent action thriller was having my willing suspension of disbelief so exploited at times, especially over the issue of Bud Pewtie's considerable injuries & his repeated ability to get back up & plunge into another fight, which reminded me of bad horror movies where the bad guy keeps getting back up again and again every time we think he's dead. That said, the book is thoroughly entertaining if you don't mind violent sociopathy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerhouse, rock hard, non-stop slam banger, July 26, 2002
By 
LGwriter "SharpWitGuy" (Astoria, N.Y. United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
Crime fiction at its best.
This is a tough as nails thriller that defines contemporary noir like few other recent novels do. You know d**n well this is gonna be a rough ride when the story opens with a description of Lamar as having biggest organ of any white guy in his prison. Set in the Oklahoma-Texas region, it pulls no punches as it tells of the vicious, violent and voracious Lamar Pye and his idiot cousin Odell who, along with pansy genius Richard Peed--saved from prison gang-banging by Lamar because of Richard's amazing artistic talent--escape from the pen and stage a Denny's holdup, a raid on an old farmer's homestead, and an astounding, suspense-filled wrap up that does not disappoint.
It also tells of Bud Pewtie, a seasoned, 48-year old Oklahoma State Trooper who goes after Lamar relentlessly, and Bud's family troubles. Lamar himself yearns for a family and picks up Ruta Beth Tull, a scrawny, half-deranged woman with a horrific crime in her past. She latches onto Lamar like a flea on a big dog and lets him enjoy her whenever he wants.
This ain't no cozy mystery--not by a long shot. Those of you who long for Agatha Christie, pack up your bags and head out 'cause this is so far removed from little old ladies and genteel polite tea-sipping ninnies and nannies, it'll curl your hair and then some to read it if that's what you need in your life.
Hunter's done his homework. He knows guns inside out, backwards and forwards, up and down. Guns figure large here; it's what Bud knows better than anything else, and what Lamar needs to do his dirty work. Guns not only kill people here; their wielders kill hope for a good life in this rock hard piece of writing. Dirty White Boys is a more than fitting title for a tale of low class lowlifes who steal and kill because that's what they know, and of lawmen who have to descend just as low because that's what they expect to encounter in their work.
And it is true--once started, this is really, really difficult to stop reading. Don't take my word for it. Start reading and see what happens.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal story packs a powerful punch, October 19, 2005
By 
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Hardcover)
While they share a certain brutal lack of empathy, the three convicts who set in motion the events of Hunter's seventh novel couldn't be more different.

The two followers are Odell Pye, a profoundly retarded hulk of childlike appetite and terrifying rages and Richard Peed, an artist whose pathetic life is ruled by fears. Lamar Pye is the leader, a man of ruthless cunning and a chess master's ability to think ahead.

When Lamar kills a black inmate at McAlester State Penitentiary in Oklahoma he knows he's signed his own death warrant. His only chance of survival is escape, a course he embarks on immediately, taking with him his cousin Odell and the man whose lion drawings exert a strange fascination for him, Richard.

Their flight begins with the casual murders of two men - the guard coerced into helping them and the driver of the truck they commandeer. With a few choice passages, Hunter moves his characters beyond viciousness to a black hole where another's death is the simplest of expediencies.

Enter state trooper Bud Pewtie, who stumbles on the trio and meets his fate. Only Pewtie doesn't die. Beset by demons of his own - his unfaithfulness has become more complicated than he ever intended - Pewtie's persistent pursuit of the convicts has more to do with running from his own conscience than it has to do with revenge or justice.

Hunter's novel is a chase, but a brilliantly written chase. His succinct, visceral prose jumps off the page and grabs the reader by the throat. Lamar, the most off-hand of killers, thrums with life and energetic intelligence. Richard shivers in a maelstrom of terror, clinging desperately to self-preservation. Odell's delight in simple pleasures is as touching as his blind devotion to his cousin is horrifying. And Pewtie, the civilized man, squirms on a hook of his own making.

Hunter moves back and forth over events, showing them from the vantage points of his various characters. He makes liberal use of irony but never belabors it, except perhaps in an ending that is as cynical as it is inevitable. A powerhouse read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hunter writes with authority, September 20, 2004
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
This novel is placed in Oklahoma and Texas. It is the story of a vicious convict, Lamar Pye, incarcerated in McAlester Penitentiary, just outside of Oklahoma City, his mentally defective cousin, Odell, and an ineffectual individual named Richard, whom they include in their prison break and the ensuing violent terrorization of the area in their two-state crime spree.

The book is very well-written, and will hold you in its grip until you finish the last page. Guaranteed.

This is not the first Stephen Hunter novel I've been caught up in. He often uses characters from his earlier novels in his later ones, for example Bob Lee Swagger. I note that that particular surname, Swagger, is the name of one of Hunter's friends and resources. What that has to do with anything, I don't know.

Hunter obviously knows a great deal about much of his subject matter, which is probably one reason why he writes with such authority. He certainly writes knowledgeably about firearms.

After twenty years of experience working in Oregon prisons, however, I can only say that, if his description of Oklahoma's system is remotely accurate, it must be one of the most poorly run systems in the country. I suspect that, rather than that, it is due to the author's overactive imagination. Such violence and lack of control over the inmate population certainly would not be tolerated in Oregon's system.

However, this should not be construed as a criticism of Mr. Hunter's writing. This is, after all, a work of fiction, and generally the research is excellent.

The language used, and the graphic descriptions of violence the book despicts makes it unsuitable reading for immature, sqeamish or sensitive minds. In fact, in prison I forbade the convicts under my supervision to use some of the words and phrases used in this book. But, if you are inured to coarse, gutter language, it gets the point across. These days, it's no worse than you hear routinely on cable television.

Stephen Hunter is, apparently, one of the more popular writers in this genre. He writes very well.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre

author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance

and other books
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Hunter I have read, so far..., February 21, 2000
By 
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This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the fourth Stephen Hunter novel I have read, and this one is the best. Dirty White Boys is an example of stripping down the "thriller" genre, trimming away all of the fat that surrounds the meat of most thriller novels: the violence. There are no apologies for this novel, it is a deliberate, direct, full thrust adrenaline shot through the sternum. Hunter uses this novel to shine a light on facts that most of us would rather leave in the dark corners of our mind. The facts: violence, as horrible and shocking as it may be, is alluring; the violent predator, as repulsive as he may be in his actions, often draws misguided respect and admiration for his cold confidence and narrow focus. The perfect contrast to this novel would be the thriller that presents the polished hit man as a charismatic, redeemable character, whose only flaw is, once in awhile he kills someone for money. Hunter doesn't buy into that nonsense, and presents killers as what they are: frightening, violent, bottom feeders that select victims as quickly as someone gets in their way. With Dirty White Boys, Hunter says: Here it is..violent and horrible...but you know you love it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monster -Convict versus the World, January 25, 2006
By 
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is aptly titled; the character of Lamar Pye is like Max Cady crossed with Captain Ahab; I did time with some mean, crazy, hard dudes and he reminds me of several of them all rolled into one scary-as-hell ball of white trash malevolence. This is another of Stephen Hunter's books that is just begging for a big screen adaptation. It features some truly wicked action set pieces, the highlight of which, for me, is an insane-o shoot out in a DENNY's restaurant. If you like tightly plotted thrillers with memorable characters and just the kind of books in general that zip thru you compulsively once you pick them up, you can do no better than DIRTY WHITE BOYS.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ol' american cops and robber yarn, October 3, 1999
This review is from: Dirty White Boys (Mass Market Paperback)
What fun!! A book you either love or hate and I loved it. Borrowed it off a mate and didn't give it back (must be the Lamar in me). The characters are two dimensional but not dull, the bad guys care for no one and are burning a one way track straight to hell. The cop is a gun totin, hat wearin, tobacco chewin, good ol' American boy from the deep south. They're on a collision course and heaven help anyone who gets in the way. Read it but remove your brain and put it on the coffee table before you do.
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Dirty White Boys
Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter (Mass Market Paperback - November 5, 1995)
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