Reviews for Third Bullet
Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
*Starred Review* For nearly 50 years, the world has been obsessing over the assassination of JFK, from grassy knolls to magic bullets. Finally, though, there's somebody on the case who likes to act more than talk: Bob Lee Swagger, former Vietnam sniper and the man you want on your side when it comes down to "straight killing time." When the wife of a murdered thriller writer (with a bio very like Hunter's own) asks Bob Lee to find her husband's killer--and mentions that the writer was working on a book about the assassination (a book very like this one)--it's no surprise that Swagger, who has no interest in who killed JFK, says no thanks. But then the widow tells him that an overcoat that her husband found in a building across the way from the Texas Book Depository had a peculiar stain on the back, as if a bicycle had run over it, and suddenly Bob Lee is very interested indeed. It takes nearly 500 pages before Hunter explains what it all means--with the narrative jumping between 1963 and the present--and while assassination fanatics will likely find all kinds of problems with the scenario he constructs (naturally, it hinges on ballistics, Bob Lee's area of expertise), the rest of us will have no problem willingly suspending disbelief. Best of all, though, the novel isn't just about what happened in Dallas 50 years ago; connected to the unraveling of the JFK story is a contemporary manhunt that takes Bob Lee first to Russia and then to the Connecticut countryside, where, finally, it's straight killing time yet again. Who knows (or cares, really) if Hunter's hypothesis is accurate, but, like Stephen King in 11/22/63 (2011), he has used the assassination to forge a terrific thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Bob Lee Swagger wipes the floor with all the usual suspects connected to the death of JFK--now there's a premise for the ages! Hunter does his subject proud, and the marketing campaign to support the launch will do the book just as proud. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #2
Bob Lee Swagger comes out of retirement to solve the murder of John F. Kennedy. Lots of people are killed in hit-and-run accidents, but Jean Marquez isn't so sure that her husband was one of them. In the weeks before his untimely death, James Aptapton, an alcoholic writer and gun fanatic whose hero, Billy Don Trueheart, will surely ring a bell for fans of Hunter (Soft Target, 2011, etc.), had been bitten by the JFK conspiracy bug, and his widow has come to Idaho to ask Swagger what he thinks. He thinks he'll pass until she drops one last detail: The ancient raincoat found in an elevator mechanism compartment in the Dal-Tex Building, just yards from the Texas Book Depository, showed signs of being run over by a bicycle. Hunter is at his best in unmasking problems with the evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman--why did the third bullet he allegedly fired at the president explode without leaving any recognizable traces? Why did Oswald cock his rifle once more after the kill shot? Why, after shooting Officer J.D. Tippit three times, did he stop to administer an unnecessary coup de grace?--and proposing an alternative scenario that provides logical answers. But neither the conspiracy he invents nor the people who act it out, from Russian gangsters and oligarchs to a rogue CIA officer determined to protect the nation from Kennedy's policies and the tight little crew he gathers around him, are credible for a moment, and his decision to alternate sections of the chief conspirator's tell-all journals with Swagger's dogged pursuit of him produces less tension than bemusement. If it weren't for the promised firepower at the showdown, all but the staunchest conspiracy buffs would give up midway. An uneven thriller that's unpersuasive as revisionist history but has its points as a hard-knuckled critique of conventional wisdom on the assassination and a portrait of the hapless Oswald. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 September #2
Bob Lee Swagger (Dead Zero) was 17 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but now he has the opportunity to find out what really happened that terrible day in Dallas. Though he's become a cranky old man, he remains a cunning, lethal adversary. When a woman claims that her husband was killed because he was writing a book about JFK, Swagger doesn't believe her. But when someone tries to kill Swagger using the same MO, the chase is on. Swagger investigates and realizes there might have been a second shooter, but who was he and why did he do it? VERDICT A fresh take on JFK's assassination makes for the ultimate thriller, and Hunter writes with great skill. Although maybe a little too meticulous and technical for many, it is still highly recommended for JFK fans, conspiracy theorists, and anybody who likes good writing and a engaging thriller. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/12; 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.--Ed.]--Robert Conroy, Warren, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #4
In bestseller Hunter's solid eighth thriller featuring master sniper Bob Lee Swagger (after 2010's Dead Zero), Swagger is living an isolated existence in a small Idaho town, where a widow seeking justice for her husband seeks him out. Novelist James Aptapton was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Baltimore, but his journalist wife, Jean Marquez, suspects the killing was intentional. For motive, she points to recent research Aptapton conducted in Dallas, where he was following up on reports that a coat stained with gun-cleaning fluid was found hidden in the Dal-Tex Building next door to the infamous Texas Book Depository. On November 22, 1963, that building could have housed a sniper other than Oswald. After accepting Marquez's request for help, Swagger plunges into the byzantine world of conspiracy theory. Hunter develops some new angles on the JFK assassination, and as usual keeps the details about ballistics and weaponry accessible. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC