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Dead Zero: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel Mass Market Paperback – August 23, 2011
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*Starred Review* The idea that Stephen Hunter could write a Bob Lee Swagger novel in which the legendary Vietnam sniper doesn’t pull a single trigger seems inconceivable. Not that there isn’t plenty of trigger-pulling by others in this tale of a contemporary marine sniper gone rogue. Swagger, now in his 60s, is drafted by the FBI to find Sergeant Roy Cruz, who was presumed dead after his attempted assassination of an Afghan warlord went awry. The warlord has now changed sides and is being groomed as “our man in Kabul,” but the resurfaced Cruz isn’t buying the conversion and appears determined to finish his original mission. Swagger, charged with stopping any attempt on the Afghan leader’s life, soon finds himself sympathizing with his fellow sniper and convinced that CIA generals are behind a secret program to ramp up the war on terror. It’s a juicy premise, which Hunter admits adapting from Patrick Alexander’s 1977 Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal; transformed to a contemporary setting, it evokes the government-treachery themes of 24 but does so with less cartoony derring-do and a considerably more nuanced exploration of the psychology of the soldier. Only the revelation of a connection between Swagger and Cruz seems a bit artificial, but this is a top-notch thriller all the same, showing that Bob the Nailer is just as (well, almost as) compelling a hero without his guns. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: I, Sniper, Hunter’s previous Swagger novel (85,000 hardcovers in print), remained on the New York Times best-seller list longer than any of his previous novels, and this one will ride the same wave. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“[A] juicy premise, which Hunter admits adapting from Patrick Alexander’s 1977 "Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal"; transformed to a contemporary setting, it evokes the government-treachery themes of ‘24’ but does so with less cartoony derring-do and a considerably more nuanced exploration of the psychology of the soldier. . . . A top-notch thriller.”
—Booklist (starred review)
"Stephen Hunter's brilliantly realized action tale "Dead Zero" sets a sniper to catch a sniper. And it should come as no surprise that the sniper doing the catching is none other than Hunter's seminal series hero Bob Lee Swagger. . . . Once again Swagger hits the bull's-eye and so does Hunter. Master of the modern gunfighter tale, he isn't just the best action writer of this generation, but the best of any."--"The Providence Journal"
"It's probably no accident that the hero of Stephen Hunter's "Dead Zero" is named Bob Lee Swagger. Few authors, of any genre, write with as much swagger and verve as film-critic-turned-thriller-bestseller Hunter. . . . As expected, Hunter once again writes with a brutal beauty."--"Ft. Worth Star Telegram"
"Reading a Bob Lee Swagger novel is like visiting your favorite uncle, the one with the mysterious limp, the locked gun safe, and whose wild tales are often truncated by your concerned parents...It's a complicated story with the usual twists and spinouts and double-crosses, but what lifts it above the fray is its smarts and its broad cast of decently drawn characters."--"Chicago Sun-Times"
"Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger is getting to be almost as popular as James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux or Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. This 'old coot, ' as Swagger calls himself, has a staying power that won't quit. . . . Bob Lee Swagger and his marine hero dad Earl are super soldiers in the world of fiction. . . . In "Dead Zero", Swagger uncharacteristically hunts with the pack. And he doesn't like it one bit. There's a marine sniper out there who just won't die. He mirrors Swagger in his talent and intensity. His name is Ray Cruz . . . "Dead Zero" is packed with Hunter's patented action sequences, great character studies and sinister villains working on their doctorate in Power. Here's hoping we see more of the unstoppable Ray Cruz. He'd make a fitting successor in Hunter's army elite."--Madison County Herald.com
"Hunter, 64, is the longtime (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) film critic for "The Baltimore Sun" and "The Washington Post", and the Swaggers--Bob and his father, Earl--are his most memorable creations. . . . As the latest adventure opens, Ray Cruz--a much younger and equally gifted Marine sniper--is tracking Ibrahim Zarzi, a corrupt Afghan politician nicknamed "The Beheader" . . . Armed with his SR-25, Cruz is inventive, charismatic and, in short, everything Bob the Nailer used to be. "Dead Zero" is at its best when Hunter has Cruz in the novel's crosshairs." . . . I can only hope it's the novel that finally convinces Hunter to flesh out the history of a new sniper and allow Bob the Nailer the retirement he so richly deserves."--"The Oregonian"
"Despite overwhelming critical acclaim for his seven-book Bob Lee Swagger series, Stephen Hunter and his novels seem to stay under the general readership radar. . . . The books are so well-crafted and expertly written that it's easy to forget they're adventure-thrillers."--"Sacramento Bee"
"The only book better than a new Jack Reacher novel is a new Bob Lee Swagger adventure. "Dead Zero", with a dynamite plot and riveting characters, is everything any action fan could want as Swagger, now hitting Senior Citizenhood, pits his wits against a man who could be a younger version of himself"."--Toronto Globe and Mail "
"[A] juicy premise, which Hunter admits adapting from Patrick Alexander's 1977 "Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal"; transformed to a contemporary setting, it evokes the government-treachery themes of '24' but does so with less cartoony derring-do and a considerably more nuanced exploration of the psychology of the soldier. . . . A top-notch thriller."--Booklist (starred review)
"Stellar . . . Solid characterization complements the tight, fast-moving plot."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
"In Hunter's latest, Bob Lee Swagger stalks Bob Lee Swagger. Well, just about. If anyone could be more valorous, more skilled and resourceful, more uncompromisingly upright, and at the same time more downright deadly than Bob Lee Swagger, it would have to be Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz. . . . [An] intricate, interchanging game of predator to prey and prey to predator."--"Kirkus Reviews"
Top customer reviews
Another story that could come out of today's headlines,
as no one really knows, just who they can trust any more.
Sniper team, code name Whiskey 2-2, is sent to take out
a HVT, High Value Target, a Afghan Warlord named Ibrahim
Zarzi, aka The Beheader, the name saying it all.
But, things have changed, as you will see, and the HVT, is
now not to be harmed.
This is unknown to Sniper, Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz, aka
The Cruise Missile, aka Whiskey 2-2, who is also unaware that
a 3 man hit team is tracking his team, with orders to see that the
fore mentioned HVT stays alive.
The reason being, The Beheader, now seems to be friends with the
President of the US, and the new, "go to man" in Kabul.
Yes, the same Kabul, where 3 American Contractors, were killed at the
airport, in real life, a few weeks ago.
Ray Cruz is wounded, and "in the wind", the FBI brings in Bob Lee Swagger,
to try to track Cruz down, as he attempts to complete his mission.
Now, you must read the story, to find out what happens.........but watch out,
for the Hit Team, that is now hunting both Swagger and Cruz.
Ray Cruz is a marine Sgt. A sniper. One hell of a sniper. A guy who will get the job done no matter what. He has honor and duty in every vein. He's one hell of a guy. A well liked guy. A guy that his commanders pick for the tough jobs. He will get it done.
Ray and his spotter are in Afghanistan. They are headed for a city to make a hit on "The Beheader."
This guy has taken the heads of quite a few people one of whom was a reporter.
Cruz and Skelton are disguised as goat herders. They are taking goats to the goat market in that city. Once inside they will make the hit and get the hell out.
What they don't know is that their mission has been compromised and mercs are on the way to stop them.
Skelton is hit with a .50 caliber bullet and all but torn in half. Cruz is grazed on the leg. Cruz has no choice but to leave Skelton. A Skelton who telling him to go. A Skelton who is hit a second time and killed. Cruz gets away and makes it to that city. Once there he proceeds to try for the hit. He will try to complete his mission.
So begins one great read.
This one has mercs, murder, conspiracy, Nick Memphis, the FBI, the Secret Service, the CIA and Bob Lee Swagger in the middle of the whole thing. A Bob Lee Swagger that learns about a son he never knew he had and a Ray Cruz trying to get it done.
One great read and well worth those five stars.
Cruz, a Marine sniper in Afghanistan, finds himself betrayed on a mission - with first his spotter taken out by a shooter Cruz suspects is no jihadi, and then a drone strike nearly on top of him as he prepares to kill his target, a notorious warlord.
Skilled in the arts of sneaking around and vanishing, Cruz disappears. But he pops up once in more in the United States when the warlord emerges as the U.S. government's choice as the next president of Afghanistan.
Cruz lets his superiors know he intends to complete his mission. And the government brings in Bob Lee Swagger to advise them, as a sniper, how to stop another one, and a damn good one. Meanwhile, a hit team is still after Cruz - and Swagger wants to know who they are and who they work for.
I thought the premise here was a tad shaky. Hunter notes he borrowed it from a British novel published a few decades ago. But the rest of the book I liked and has some great twists and turns in it. The action is good. Swagger's thinking is always two steps ahead. Cruz is as resourceful as Swagger.