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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Stephen Hunter returns with his most riveting Bob Lee Swagger volume to date. The stakes are high - and personal - because this time, Swagger's daughter's life is at stake. Forced off the road and into a crash that leaves her clinging to life in a coma, Nikki Swagger had begun to peel back the onion of a Southern Fried scandal.

Corrupt constabulary, meth lab crackers, and deranged evangelicals rear their ugly heads and when Swagger picks up where Nikki left off, his swift sword of justice is let loose. All of it is set against the backdrop of the excitement and insanity that only a weeklong NASCAR event can bring to the backwoods of a town as seemingly sleepy as Bristol, VA. A master at the top of his game, Hunter provides a host of riveting new reasons to read as fast as we can. Stephen Hunter is the best-selling author of The 47th Samurai, Havana, and Pale Horse Coming, among other titles.

©2008 Stephen Hunter (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    155
  • 4 Stars
    118
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    35
  • 2 Stars
    4
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    7

Performance

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    144
  • 4 Stars
    43
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    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
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    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    111
  • 4 Stars
    69
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    27
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    2
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Let Bob Lee Swagger Retire

Hunter retired from the Washington Post last July. This book feels like it was dashed off from notes found in the bottom drawer while cleaning out his desk. There are glaring editorial mistakes (e.g., in the first paragraph, the gun is knocked from the bad guy's hand and lands several feet away; in the next paragraph, the officer takes the same gun out of the bad guy's hand). Since I do not have a hard copy of this book, I cannot tell for certain whether this reading is truly unabridged. At several points the plot skips, or characters disappear without explanation, never to return. As a result, the book sounds like a poor abridgement. Of course, it may just be poor editing. This book has none of the immediacy or sharply-drawn characters of Hunter's best work, "Point of Impact" and "Black Light." The Bob Lee Swagger of this book is but a faint, false apparition of the BLS in "Point of Impact." Read POI and see whether you can imagine that character hanging out at a NASCAR race. Hunter should have allowed BLS to retire after "Time to Hunt" and invented new characters or continued to flesh-out Earl Swagger instead of subjecting the noble BLS to such humiliation. Buck Shirner was the wrong choice to read this book. I do not know Shirner's ethnicity, but his voice has a distinctly Native American intonation and cadence inappropriate for southern good ol' boys like BLS and the Grumleys. This is not intended as a criticism of Shirner as a reader. His voice is mismatched to the material. (Imagine, say, Burt Reynolds reading Patrick O'Brian.) Will Patton or Jay O. Sanders would have improved the listening experience, but neither could have saved this book from itself. It pains me to criticize Hunter's work so harshly; he has been one of my favorite authors and I have all of his books. This one should never have been released.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • joseph
  • venice, ca, United States
  • 10-08-08

earlier books were better

read all of stephen hunter's earlier books and found this one unsatisfying. started off well, and the initial premise
kept me going, but the story diverted. i started tuning out
at the end. got tired of the reader. a little too folksy for me.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Millburn, NJ, USA
  • 10-24-08

Take a pass

This book was horrible. I have enjoyed other Stephen Hunter novels, but I couldn't finish this one. I listen or read the Swagger series because I enjoy the sniper aspect, and have always seen Hunter as the Clancy of sniper novels, but this one was like watching the Silver Surfer on a boogie board. The narrator made me think he would break out at any moment and say "Looks like them Duke boys have gotten themselves into a mess again." Wow this book sucked.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible book; stupidly, unrealistic dialogue;

What disappointed you about Night of Thunder?

Story is bad; characters are not believable; dialogue is third grade; protagonist is unrealistic

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen Hunter again?

Not sure; I enjoyed some of his other books but this one was terrible. It is like he decided he could make money putting just any junk out and sell them just based on his reputation.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

none

Any additional comments?

want my money back on this one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not the best Hunter novel.

Would you try another book from Stephen Hunter and/or Buck Schirner?

Yes, I had and I will again. I love the Lee Swagger character and the almost-Eastwood nature of Schirner's rendition, which is perfect for the role. However, I couldn't keep my attention on the story line and I was disappointed by the Hollywood style ending.

Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen Hunter? Why or why not?

Yes, but I will select with caution.

Have you listened to any of Buck Schirner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Good as always.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Not at all.

Any additional comments?

This seems like a script for a cheesy blow-em-up movie, Hunter can do better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You go, Bob Lee!!!

We love Bob Lee Swagger. Despite his age, he still gets his man or should we say men. Devoted to his family - and tough as nails on top of it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Another great Swagger story

Would you consider the audio edition of Night of Thunder to be better than the print version?

I don’t know. I haven’t read it in print. But Buck Schirner does bring the book to life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bob Lee Swagger of course. I enjoyed Bob’s down home “aw shucks” exterior, while those who didn’t know him thought him a doddering old guy, while Bob remained very vigilant and retained his training.

Which character – as performed by Buck Schirner – was your favorite?

Again, Bob Lee Swagger. Schirner’s voice and affect really bring Bob to life as I imagine Bob to be.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Don’t underestimate Bob Lee Swagger!

Any additional comments?

A few notes on this book. First, it isn’t really connected to the initial tight cluster of inter-connected Earl and Bob Lee Swagger books. This takes Bob Lee and puts him in a stand alone adventure. Second, there are many parts in the book that aren’t really believable but it’s an adventure story. And third, the villains are a bit silly and campy, but it does make for an enjoyable read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

From a fan..... Hunter NAILS it.

As a lifelong NASCAR fan I can attest, Hunter absolutely nailed piecing these two worlds together. His description and use of Bristol Motor Speedway couldn't be better. It made the reading/listening to this book much more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. Thusly, I'm grateful to Stephen Hunter. ...and 'Bob Lee Swagger'.

Well written, well narrated, very well received.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the Best Bob Lee stories

I have long since been a big fan of Bob Lee and his Father and look forward to every next book. After 47th Samari I was not sure if Hunter had anything else left (it was such a far stretch) but this book was fantastic. Bob Lee at his best and in his environment. Bob kicks butt even if he is getting old.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful