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Dead Zero: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel | [Stephen Hunter]

Dead Zero: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel

A marine sniper team on a mission in tribal territories on the Afghan-Pakistan border, Whiskey 2-2 is ambushed by professionals using the latest high-tech shooting gear. Badly wounded, the team’s sole survivor, Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz, aka “the Cruise Missile,” is determined to finish his job. He almost succeeds when a mystery blast terminates his enterprise....
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Publisher's Summary

Who killed Whiskey 2-2? And why won’t it stay dead?

A marine sniper team on a mission in tribal territories on the Afghan-Pakistan border, Whiskey 2-2 is ambushed by professionals using the latest high-tech shooting gear. Badly wounded, the team’s sole survivor, Gunnery Sergeant Ray Cruz, aka “the Cruise Missile”, is determined to finish his job. He almost succeeds when a mystery blast terminates his enterprise, leaving a 30-foot crater where a building used to be — and where Sergeant Cruz was meant to be hiding.

Months pass. Ray’s target, an Afghan warlord named Ibrahim Zarzi, sometimes called “The Beheader”, becomes an American asset in the region and beyond, beloved by State, the Administration, and the Agency. He arrives in Washington for consecration as Our Man in Kabul. But so does a mysterious radio transmission, in last year’s code. It’s from Whiskey 2-2: MISSION WILL BE COMPLETED. CONFIDENCE IS HIGH.

Is Ray Cruz back? Has he gone rogue, is he insane, or just insanely angry? Will he succeed, though his antagonists now include the CIA, the FBI, and the same crew of bad boys that nearly killed him in Zabol province? Not to mention Bob Lee Swagger and a beautiful CIA agent named Susan Okada who gives Swagger more than just a patriotic reason to take the case.

Swagger, the legendary hero of seven of Hunter’s novels, is recruited by the FBI to stop the Cruise Missile from reaching his target. The problem is that the more Swagger learns about what happened in Zabol, the more he questions the U.S. government’s support of Zarzi and the more he identifies with Cruz as hunter instead of prey.

With its hallmark accuracy on modern killing technologies, Dead Zero features an older, more contemplative Swagger, but never lets up on the razor-sharp dialogue, vivid characterizations, extraordinary action scenes, and dazzling prose that define Hunter’s landmark series.

Take another thrill ride with Bob Lee Swagger.

©2010 Stephen Hunter (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (306 )
5 star
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4.3 (184 )
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  •  
    Jesse Lovettsville, Va United States 01-19-11
    Jesse Lovettsville, Va United States 01-19-11 Member Since 2002

    Long commutes have turned me into a dedicated Audible fan. Looking at my stats I can't believe I have 825 titles in my Library.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some issues with places and people"

    Much of the action that takes place near Camp Lejeune is described as taking place in SOUTH CAROLINA!??? What's up with that Mr. Hunter? ---

    As Marine centric as all your stories are I would have thought you'd get that right. Glaring error. Camp Lejune and Jacksonville not "Jackson" is in North Carolina on the coast. Just north of Wilmington. Some other place names are referred to as in SC also although they are only a few miles off base. ---

    You also refer to former Marines as "ex-Marines", a big no no as you should know. ---

    The antagonists in this story are cartoon clowns and not the professional hitman one would expect Bob Lee to have to overcome and defeat. Seems like you're just pumping out BLS stories for the heck of it without any real attempt at a good story. ---

    Also tell Buck Schirner to cut back to a pack a day. He often runs out of breath trying to finish sentences or say certain words and sounds like a smoker who doesn't have full lung capacity. ---

    Hate to do this because I'm a fan of all your previous stories, but only 3 stars for this one. ---

    - Jesse in Virginia.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Minnetonka, MN, United States 01-20-11
    Tom Minnetonka, MN, United States 01-20-11
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    "Disappointing"

    Like Jesse I enjoyed Hunter's previous work but this one wasn't up to par. The characters were obscured by a storm of details that read like a military training manual. As Jesse pointed out not all the details were fact. The 6th Air Force operated in the Panama Canal Zone and South America during WWII and not Europe. A Marine would NEVER refer to a Gunnery Sergeant as simply sergeant it would be Gunny or Gunnery Sergeant .. aqnything else would be a demotion. I'll admit these are trivial objections but it does make me wonder about all the other esoteric facts in the book.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Hooper Kansas City, MO USA 01-23-11
    G. Hooper Kansas City, MO USA 01-23-11 Member Since 2007

    Big Band jazz lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing effort."

    While no marine, I agree with the other reviewers; this novel just isn't up to par. Lots of attempts at humor were lame and the story line just doesn't work. I didn't even finish this one. If someone were to suggest that Mr Hunter didn't write this I wouldn't necessarily disagree (and would actually be pleased to know it wasn't Mr Hunter's work). Kind of seems as though the point was to churn out another novel regardless of quality. I'll be back for the next novel, hoping that it mirrors earlier efforts.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Huntington, WV, United States 02-16-11
    Thomas Huntington, WV, United States 02-16-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Not even close..."

    I liked Hunter's earlier Bob Lee books, but the past couple have been disappointing. There's something I just can't put my finger on when it comes to the dialogue, but it doesn't come across as real. Some of it's sing-songy, and some of it is just inserted to wet the whistles of the gear nuts. Real operators don't talk to each other about the way Hunter has them talking. Another example is the way Hunter has Swagger talking about himself. (Clint Eastwood voice) "I'm just a loner.", "I'm a simple man." Blah, blah. It's contrived and sounds fake. Maybe it's just the way the narrator is reading it, but I don't think so. Basically, I think Hunter has just run out of ways to come up with a story that can include a sniper and his gear and so we've ended up with these past couple of books. Give it a pass.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cletus van Damme Edmond, OK, United States 03-11-11
    Cletus van Damme Edmond, OK, United States 03-11-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wildly Uneven"

    Hunter still has the touch and proves it in the first chapter. Then he needlessly brings back Bob Lee Swagger, hero of earlier novels, turns him into a hillbilly detective, bores the reader to tears with gumshoe work, and finally ends with an implausible conspiracy and shoot-out. This book is all over the board, some good, some dull. Bob Lee Swagger is dead-weight. I am worried that revelations about Bob's previously unmentioned career in SOG may portend future books about the young Swagger in Vietnam. I say let Bob retire and give us more "Cruz Missile"!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    candace jupiter, florida, United States 06-06-12
    candace jupiter, florida, United States 06-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Dead Zero: A new Bob Lee Swagger"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dead Zero to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version of this story, but cannot imagine it could be better than the audible version. My reason behind this is the narrator, Buck Schirner. He is absolutely the best narrator I have ever heard. I could just see him, dressed in khakis, a cigar clenched in his teeth, he just sounds like I imagine Bob Lee would sound!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the new, older version of Bob Lee. Just as tough and wiry as ever, but now he is acting as more of a consultant, someone who has been there, and done that many times and as such is a great help to all the agencies with which he deals.


    What does Buck Schirner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well, I guess I already answered that question. He really brings the military aspect of Bob Lee out. He also sounds older than the previous narrators, so he really fits the part.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it was a little more multi-layered, so I prefered listening for 45 to 60 minutes, and then thinking about what I heard and letting it sink in.


    Any additional comments?

    A great book! Keep them coming Mr. Hunter

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Elkridge, MD, United States 11-18-12
    Gary Elkridge, MD, United States 11-18-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Disappointing an shallow listen"

    There are a doen authors who can catpure your attention far more effective than Hunter.
    The storyline has potential, but seems very contrived and unnatrual. Character development lacks setup and its like watching a quicky TV show than a real novel.
    The story is superficial at best, I'm afraid.
    The reader just doesn't have that interesting voice to capture my attention.

    This was a recommended read, but I say stick with the real writers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. J. Roth St. Louis, MO 11-02-12
    M. J. Roth St. Louis, MO 11-02-12 Member Since 2006

    Tool User

    ratings
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    Story
    "Errors, detail, narration obscure the story"

    This is a typical Stephen Hunter/Bob Lee Swagger story with plenty of twists and turns. And like the other stories of the series it is peppered liberally with unnecessary detail about the firearms and ammunition while getting some basic facts wrong. Others have noted the South Carolina/North Carolina problem; let me remind Mr. Hunter that a brick wall does not provide cover from a .50 cal round. The bigger problem, though, is Buck Schirner's narration. Schirner has the perfect gravel voice for Bob Lee Swagger. But that's the extent of his value. He can't do accents or dialects well or consistently but he constantly tries to do them, and he has problems pronouncing some less common words in the English language. He also has a problem with phrases that break across lines, leading to odd inflections in many cases. He needs an editor or producer to smooth over these issues with his delivery, and Mr. Hunter needs to focus on telling the story and not on educating his readers - many of whom are probably more familiar with firearms than he is -- about guns and ammo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian D Schleif PEARLAND, TX, US 09-24-12
    Brian D Schleif PEARLAND, TX, US 09-24-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "warning! cussing and swearing!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It is a good story, from what I could stand to listen to. I couldn't finish the book, the cussing and swearing got unbearable to continue


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    dissapointment with the language!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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