It’s not even a clue. It’s a whisper, a trace, a ghost echo, drifting down through the decades via chance connections so fragile that they would disintegrate in the puff of a breath. But it’s enough to get legendary former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger interested in the events of November 22, 1963, and the third bullet that so decisively ended the life of John F. Kennedy and set the stage for one of the most enduring controversies of our time.
Swagger begins his slow night stalk through a much-traveled landscape. But he’s asking questions that few have asked before: Why did the third bullet explode? Why did Lee Harvey Oswald, about to become the most hunted man on Earth, risk it all by returning to his rooming house to secure a pistol he easily could have brought with him? How could a conspiracy that went unpenetrated for 50 years have been thrown together in the two and a half days between the announcement of the president’s route and the assassination itself?
As Bob investigates, another voice enters the narrative: knowing, ironic, almost familiar, that of a gifted, Yale-educated veteran of the CIA Plans Division. Hugh Meachum has secrets and the means and the will to keep them buried. When weighed against his own legacy, Swagger’s life is an insignificant expense - but to blunt the threat, he’ll first have to ambush the sniper.
As each man hunts the other across today’s globe and through the thickets of history, The Third Bullet builds to an explosive climax that will finally prove what Bob Lee Swagger has always known: It’s never too late for justice.
©2013 Stephen Hunter (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I am a little old lady and love Stephen Hunter and Bob Lee, but we have a problem now. Bob Lee is 66 years old: too old to do what he does best, so the story takes another path. I liked this book as a stand alone story, but it is not about our Bob Lee. Unfortunately the author has tied his books to a timeline and we have gotten to the last stages of Bob Lee's life. I would like to see the author go back and give us more adventures in years past. I did not care for the narrator. He did a decent job, but his voice does not fit my mental scenario that I created when reading all of Mr. Hunter's books through the years. I know Bob Lee is from a humble background, but he is a master, an artist in his field. He is the best. Narrator should be reading Mickey Spillane - needs to be more like Gary Cooper - smoother.
Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
I've read every one of Hunter's Swagger stories (both Bob Lee & Earl). That Hunter is keeping BobLee in real time and aging is sad but, heck, I'm aging too which I often lament. I found this book more about Hugh Meachum than Bob Lee. Bob Lee was secondary to Meachum narrating his memoirs of Nov 1963. I enjoyed Meachum's Yale "snoot" perspective and the narrator's voice for Meachum.
Hey Stephen.... howsabout another story on Earl cleaning up Arkansas in the 50s.
FWIW: my favorite Bob Lee story is Point Of Impact with Behold A Pale Horse as #2.
At first glance, I was less than intrigued. Another JFK story? Having been a fan of Mr. Hunter for many years, I decided I'd give it a shot, pun intended. The opening of the book made me question whether this was indeed a Hunter novel or not. It wasn't written in his usual style, but the departure ends up being one of many enjoyable aspects to this piece.
The reader who is familiar with Mr. Hunter will immediately notice a bit of wit in the opening chapter, and will most likely enjoy the similarities, but that's all I can say for fear of ruining it.
As for the story itself, all I can say is that it is a unique take on the events of that day, and those leading up to it. A credit to Mr. Hunter, as it's not only a unique take, but it's also a highly plausible theory... which only serves to add to the intrigue. At times, I found myself wondering if, perhaps, this wasn't a fictional tale after all.
Our beloved, and respected Bob Lee plays an almost trivial part in the entirety of the story. While he is the main character, his role is made less noticeable in this novel, at least for the first two parts. Sure, he's there, but he takes on more of a investigative role than that of the actionable shooter we so cherish him for being. He's old though, so what do you expect? I did enjoy the overseas action scene with another aged shooter, however.
All things being equal, this is easily one of his 3 or 4 best works. DEFINITE BUY.
I've not heard any of Mr. Schirner's works, but I will be more than happy to purchase more works wherein he narrates. Unlike some of the more notable narrators, such as Scott Brick, Dick Hill, and George Guidall, (though I enjoy them all) Mr. Schirner doesn't go to obviously strained lengths to differentiate between characters in the story. He deftly manages to make clear distinctions between speaking characters, without working so hard at it that it becomes unbelievable.
WOW! I've read all of Stephen Hunter's Earl Swagger and Bob Lee Swagger novels, and I thought for awhile there that he was running out of realistic story lines. But with this latest - The Third Bullet - he has come back stronger than ever.
Some will say that this is an alternative history, but it is not that, because the story doesn't change any history at all, or try to modify the current or future events based on an alternate historical outcome. Without causing any spoilers, it provides some realistically plausible explanations to expand on an actual historical event, that are fictional but really makes you think that they might have really happened differently than what we previously understood, but with the same resultant outcome.
Bob Lee Swagger gets into his usual investigative bumblings that keep you in suspense and makes you wonder if he's going to get to the bottom of things and survive at the same time. I can't honestly say at this time that this is the best of Hunter's works, but only because it's been so long since I've read all of the earlier ones, as I read them as they first come out. Having just this hour finished it, I am left with the feeling, however, that it is the best!
I have a few authors whose books I purchase either in Audible or e-book format as soon as they are available, without even reading the first review. And Stephen Hunter is at the top of my list. And I'll say it again for this one. WOW!
Although the idea of a solution to the many Kennedy assassination theories is intriguing, the story took forever to develop with long periods without the usual Swagger action. I liked it ultimately, but had I known how long it was going to take to get to the final solution, I probably would have passed on this one and listened to something more fast-paced.
Yes, definitely. Overall the Bob Lee Swagger novels are very satisfying.
Bob Lee, of course. His Russian buddy was a close second.
the peformance was flawless, the accents accurate and the timing perfect. The plot moved with enough twists and turns to keep the action going and me guessing. The conspiracy was completely plausible.
A sixty seven year old hero ...nuff said.
this was my first.
When the hero identified his father with the slain officer Tippet.
Montana Leather Crafter -
I've always been horrified by the events of November 22, 1963 - I knew the Warren commission missed the mark on several points. No matter how many documentaries I watched on the assassination, there was always something about that final, fatal event that made me grind my teeth. Something very ugly was lurking beneath the surface, something much more ugly than Lee Harvey Oswald. Stephen Hunter does an excellent job of laying it out - fact or fiction, this story is gripping and stimulating in so many different categories describing events and possibilities that had not occurred to me. After doing my own research and pondering this tragic story for over twenty years, now I know how it COULD have been done. Extremely well written and Buck Schirner was just the right fit to tell the story. Probably the most intriguing and powerful book I have ever been treated to - had to be a massive amount of research that went into this masterpiece. Only one problem . . . . . . . now what? What can I find that can possibly come anywhere near this . . .
Answered a very big burning question that I have had my whole life. How could a conspiracy have been pulled off? Stephen Hunter tells us exactly how it could have been done.
This was my first Buck Shirner book - he is fantastic
Cudos to Stephen Hunter - what an amazing work he has done here
Well, I struggled through most of King's book on this topic (Kennedy assassination), then I saw Bob Lee was tackling it. I love the Bob Lee character and Hunter's writing in general. This one is just interminable, I have tried and tried to get through it, but jeez, I can't take any more LHO stuff. There may be something to the conspiracy stories, but to quote Hilary lately, "what difference does it make?" Bygones! I am a tad older than Bob Lee and retired military and that is what I enjoy hearing about, a little too much ballistic study here and focus on other than our hero. Maybe some time I will come back for part 3.
Ok, till Hugh starts narrating BS. Disappointing . I am a big Hunter fan. But not this one.
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