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Black Light (Bob Lee Swagger) Mass Market Paperback – April 7, 1997
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Forty years ago, Bob Lee Swagger's father, a state trooper, was killed by two robbers in an Arkansas shoot-out. Now a young writer has arrived at Swagger's door with some penetrating and troubling questions. What really happened that long-ago Arkansas night? The powers that be don't want that question answered, but Swagger, to his surprise, finds that he does -- even if it means having to use his long-abandoned combat skills and cunning to find out. Like the infrared "black light" that exposes a sniper's target in the night, Swagger homes in on the shadowy figures desperate to keep the secret of his father's murder buried. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
With a flourish of authorial prestidigitation, through this action-packed tale of revenge Hunter transforms the seemingly unrelated Point of Impact and Dirty White Boys, his most recent-and most critically acclaimed-novels, into parts one and two of a trilogy. In the process, Hunter confirms his status as one of the most skilled hands in the thriller business. Former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger has put his past behind him until he meets Russell Pewtie, who wants to write a book about Bob Lee's father, Earl, a state trooper who died in a shoot-out in Blue Eye, Ark., in 1955. The link between Pewtie and Bob Lee, which ties the three novels together, is that Lamar Pye, the escaped con who almost killed Pewtie's father in Dirty White Boys, turns out to be the son of one of the men who killed Earl. Behind that death, it's revealed here, lies a 40-year-old conspiracy that is somehow tied to the brutal murder of a young black girl that Earl was investigating on the day he died. The plot is fast-paced, well-constructed and builds to a pulse-pounding night ambush that echoes the finale of Point of Impact but that stands on its own as a classic one-on-one confrontation. Other echoes of the earlier novels sound as well, giving this one the feel of a recapitulation, or a farewell. But then Hunter has set a high standard for himself-and while this novel doesn't match the escalating craziness of Dirty White Boys or the stone-cold efficiency of Point of Impact, it should seal his reputation as an author who not only can write bestselling thrillers, but write them exceedingly well. Literary Guild main selection; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
These stories remind me those by Vince Flynn, David Baldacci's "Hit Men" series, but only in the "Sniper", "old boy from Arkansas" mode. Great Action, and if you aren't turned off by the graphic detail on various weapons by the author, you will love these books.
Another Stephen Hunter with Swagger in as much as a source of sniper information is one I would give 6 out of 5 stars: "Snipers Honor."
In Black Light, Hunter's hero--Bob Lee Swagger-- is helping the search for clues regarding his father's death. (His father is ANOTHER S. Hunter major character, Earl Swagger). This journey bounces the reader from 1955 to the 1990s effortlessly, telling two stories at once and builds an excellent little mystery while keeping action junkies on the edge of their kindle.
As he so often does, and does so well, Hunter reprises characters from past novels. It's like running into old friends (or enemies, as the case may be), but knowing these recurring characters is NOT a prerequisite for enjoying any of the Hunter novels.
The plot? It's the 1990s, and a young reporter sets out to find who, back in 1955, murdered Arkansas State Trooper (and national celebrity) Earl Swagger. And WHY? The would-be author enlists the help of Earl's son Bob Lee, and from there... the action doesn't stop until the last page.
At the risk of sounding sexist, this IS a "guys book." It has guns (lots of them), violence and much bloodshed. And, yes, it IS as predictable as any action novel or film. But is that always bad? The PLOT isn't predictable, there were plenty of twists and turns. But the genre itself is surely lends itself to predictability.
One negative review called Black Light "racist." It isn't. It might upset our sensibilities to hear even the good guys use racist language from the 1950s, but that's just the REALITY of the times, location and the folks with whom we are dealing.
Can't deny it...I thoroughly enjoyed this Bob Lee Swagger outing. But then, I've enjoyed all the adventures Hunter has taken me on. If you're a first time Stephen Hunter reader, many will recommend "Point of Impact", but I started with Hunter's 'stand alone' novel "Dirty White Boys"...which, as it turns out, is more tied into Bob and Earl Swagger than meets the eye.
Predictable, violent, down and dirty. Stephen Hunter may not be great literature, but he can write some damned entertaining books that men will love.
Outstanding, any way you slice it.
I found the second half of the book somewhat easier to follow, either because it was indeed easier or because I had done sufficient sorting out in the first half. However, the two main plots of the book, Bobby Lee's investigations of his father Earl's killing and both Earl and Bobby's investigation of a woman's murder occurring shortly before Earl's death, continue to be entangled with several subplots also occurring in both eras. The interweaving of these subplots with the main two plots, all of them present in both timeframes, continues to challenge the reader.
This obfuscation hampers Hunter's usually superb, action-packed writing, making this book considerably more complicated than the others in Hunter's highly entertaining "Bob Lee Swagger" series. And, because of these difficulties, I'll have to give this one 3 instead of 5 stars.