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Books for Gun Owners | Targeted by Stephen Hunter

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Every thriller author wants to create a character who transcends culture. The character should ideally be a norm-smashing hero who, somehow believably, manages what few can as they carry readers, almost tearing at pages for more, from book to book. When this action hero also knows guns—as its author knows both guns and America’s amorphous gun culture—then we really have something, as the author can then lightly play with the nuances of this key part of an action hero’s tools without being preachy, condescending or dishonest. This brings us to Stephen Hunter’s leading man, Bob Lee Swagger. Now in his 12th book (Targeted), Swagger is dragged from quiet retirement and pushed in front of that hyperbolic, sound-bite-generating, modern American political show known as a U.S. Senate hearing. Now, putting Swagger in front of such a committee, and CSPAN’s cameras, is like letting a Roman gladiator loose on the set for “Downton Abbey.” As you can imagine, the plot explodes fast and in unexpected directions. I won’t try to outline the plot, as that does a disservice to any good thriller—movie or book—as character drives plot in these moving explosions, but I will say this one does move with the urgency of a frightened rabbit’s heartbeat. And Swagger is an American character we can love, or at times loathe, as he is a hardboiled and deceptively smart rascal of a law man; still, he is always a hero we want to watch. So yes, Targeted is another must-read from Stephen Hunter, a master of the American thriller.


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