Thursday, September 25, 2008

Night of Thunder

If you are fan of Stephen Hunter's books, all you need to know is that Night of Thunder is out, and that's it's another ex-sniper Bob Lee Swagger adventure.

Hunter's previous novel, The 47th Samurai, also a Bob the Nailer outing, came out about a year ago, and I reviewed it here.

Hunter has also written books about Bob's dad, Earl, who was a Marine Medal of Honor winner and a kick-ass dude as well.

This time, Hunter does NASCAR, and with his usual aplomb. The story is a mystery, full of guns and shooters, and if you are paying attention, figuring out whodunnit isn't a problem -- he utililzes Chekhov's Rule in the best way. If you are car culture kinda guy, you will be in hog heaven. If you don't know a piston from a pretzel, Hunter explains as he goes so that keeping up is not a problem.

Hunter also gets the gun stuff right, which is also a bonus for me.

Bob Lee is getting a bit long in the tooth, beat-up from all his adventures, gone gray and limping, and would just as soon avoid this kind of stuff these days, but it concerns his daughter and he really doesn't have any choice. He's tough, but he's also lucky, and that's a nasty combination for bad guys who get in his way.

(Couple summers back, they made a movie based on Hunter's character Bob Lee, called Shooter. It was okay, not a patch on the novels, but there were a few memorable scenes. One concerned an old cracker gunsmith, Mr. Rate, played by Levon Helm, that stole the movie; the other was when Swaggert, who had been shot, had fallen out of a building, nearly-drowned and half-dead, is being questioned as to why he didn't give up going after the bad guys. "I don't think you understand," he says. "These people killed my dog.")

The reluctant and self-effacing hero is a classic character, and nobody does him any better than Stephen Hunter.


B. Smith said...

I'd heard some bad things about The 47th Samurai so I skipped that one. I'll definitely pick this one up.

Did you read Hunter's nonfiction book American Gunfight? I've been meaning to pick that one up as well.

Steve Perry said...

Haven't read the one about the attempted assassination of Harry Truman -- missed it, somehow, I'll have to look for it.

As for Samurai, I enjoyed it, and Hunter at least offers a reasonable explanation for how one might beat a master swordsman at his game that I thought was passing clever.

In Pale Horse Coming, an Earl adventure, there is an in-joke that only serious gun folks will get -- all of the old guys in Earl's posse are well-known gun guys.

steve-vh said...

Loved the 47th Samurai! Took a genre that had been much abused and did it well. Thanks for the heads up!
Listening to Terry Brooks latest "the gypsy Morph" right now. Awesome trilogy.
Have Kira Salak's "The White Mary" after that.
Should be able to get this right about then.
If not, Mushtaq gave me the rest of the Reacher Novels too.