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Publisher's Summary

It’s 1951. The Thebes State Penal Farm in Mississippi is up a dark river, surrounded by swamps and impenetrable piney woods. It’s the Old South at its most brutal - a place of violence, racial terror, and even more horrific rumors. Of the few who make the journey, black or white, even fewer return.

But in that year, two men will come to Thebes. The first is Sam Vincent, the former prosecuting attorney of Polk County, Arkansas who, with great misgivings, accepts a job to investigate a disappearance. Before he leaves on this dangerous trip, he confesses his fears to his former investigator Earl Swagger, now a sergeant of the Arkansas State Police. Earl pledges that if Sam is not back by a certain time, he will come looking for him.

What they encounter there is something beyond their wildest imagining of evil. The dying black town is ruled by white deputies on horseback who are more like an occupying army and the only escape is over the wild currents of the dark river that drowns as many people as it liberates. But nothing in town compares to the prison. Run by an aging madman with insane theories of racial purity, it is administered by a brutal sergeant known as Bigboy. The convicts call him The Whip Man - he can take a man’s soul with his nine feet of braided catgut.

Both Sam and Earl will be challenged to the limits of their strength by this place and will struggle not only for their own survival, but with the question: What does a man do when confronted with evil?

©2008 Stephen Hunter (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story with Strong Characters

The story will keep you interested. It is a little slow in the middle of the book, but it picks up well and finishes strong. Characters are very well-developed. The narrator is fantastic!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 07-11-18

Historical detective novel (1950ish)

Set in Mississippi around 1950 the racist aspects of PALE HORSE COMING may be realistic but the use of the N-word is excessive, offensive, and tiring to the point of angering me. The story is okay, but nothing special. I usually like this author's works. Eric G. Dove's narration is excellent.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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excellent read

excellent book love all the swagger books Stephen hunter knows how to tell a great story and keep you enterained

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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spell binding and captivating!

I loved it. great story line and awesome narrator. Stephen Hunter's books are ingenious. Thanks

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story! Great narration!

Great story! This book held my attention from beginning to end. The book was made even better by the outstanding narration!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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More Earl Swagger, love him or hate him

What did you love best about Pale Horse Coming?

Was a great fix of more cowboy lawman. Wish Hunter would have continued in this vain rather that the sniper series.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pale Horse Coming?

Still looking for another "cowboy lawman" to follow.

Have you listened to any of Eric G. Dove’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Goes on in some detail about the science of ballistics, take it or leave it?

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

Nothing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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These are fantastic books!

Loved every second! E.G. Dove performance is second to none!
You can't put them down! Start with Hot Springs and listen or read them all!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best of the series.

I've read all of the books in the series and this is my favorite. Great.

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FANTASTIC!

Wow! The second installment of the Earl Swagger series is top notch! Fantastic story and narration! I love the 1940's time period, and the story catches the era perfectly.

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  • candace
  • jupiter, florida, United States
  • 02-20-13

My first Earl Swagger audible, and it's first rate

What made the experience of listening to Pale Horse Coming the most enjoyable?

The way the author pulled me right into the middle of the action.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes. I know a lot of authors leave you hanging at the end of a chapter to keep you reading, but this author has truly mastered it! Twice I had to leave the character of Sam Vincent hanging by a thread, I actually felt guilty about leaving him hanging there. And he was not the only character left hanging.

Which character – as performed by Eric G. Dove – was your favorite?

This is a tough one, all the characters were good. But Sam Vincent was outstanding, he was always struggling with his legal ethics but unwilling to leave Earl Swagger in a bad situation. The author never wavers from the characters personality traits. Sam was a lawyer through and through all the way through the story. The only thing that surprised me about him was his "girlfriend"! Of course, friends only, not a mistress. That would have been outside the envelope.

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

Yes, because there were only seven men (and one great female chacter) going up against so many evil characters. I also wanted to get to the reasoning behind the doctor, why he would do such evil things.

Any additional comments?

This was my first Earl Swagger novel, I have already read all the Bob Lee Swagger novels and frankly, I couldn't believe they could keep up with the action and characters of the Bob Lee stories. They sure did. On to the next! Thanks to Stephen Hunter for such fine entertainment.