My friend Stephen Hunter is one of my favorite authors.  My two favorite novels of his are “Dirty White Boys” and “Pale Horse Coming.”  Well, let me introduce you to “Great Read Coming”: Steve’s newest book, “Targeted,” becomes available this coming January 18, and is available on pre-order now: about $29 in hardcover and $15 on Kindle.

“Targeted” is the latest in his Bob Lee Swagger series, featuring a Vietnam era sniper who is now past retirement age but still getting involved in adventures which require his core skills. 

Steve’s books are best-sellers across the spectrum of readership, but particularly popular among us gun people. He is One Of Us, a serious shooter, and unlike so many other fiction writers he gets the gun stuff – and the fighting stuff – right.

Stephen Hunter also has a sense of humor about as dry as James Bond’s martini. In “Pale Horse Coming,” he made characters out of the great gun writers past, gathered for adventurous rescue.  He knew those guys well enough to amplify their character traits just enough to give a laugh here and there while still remaining true to their legacies.

There is a touch of that in the new “Targeted.”  Recovering from wounds received in a heroic gun duel with a jihadist sniper in his last outing, Swagger becomes the target of certain politicians who want to make anti-gun statements by getting him sent to prison. (Torn from today’s headlines, ya think?)  You’ll recognize some of those politicians despite their fictitious names, and Hunter satirizes them mercilessly without doing so grotesquely.

I won’t spoil it for you by divulging the plot. I will tell you that he introduces a new character I expect to see resurface in his future novels.  This dude is the personification of “tacticool,” with the right exotic guns and gear, Tier One skills, and split times between pistol shots that are downright preternatural.

Like all Stephen Hunter novels, this one is a great ride and a fun read.  If you are a gun geezer like me, you’ll root for the protagonist with his aches, pains, hip replacements and general “get off my lawn” geezertude.

If you already like Stephen Hunter’s work, you’ll like “Targeted.”  If you haven’t seen his prior novels but enjoy this blog, well, I’m guessing you’ll still like “Targeted.”


  1. i did enjoy Dirty White Boys and Hot Springs. It’s been so long since I read a Bob Lee Swagger book I don’t remember which ones I’ve read but I know I enjoyed them. I’m going to pick up Pale Horse Coming today. Now that I’m retired, I have more time to read. I should read the works of skilled novelists instead of Facebook.

  2. Friends and foes alike of the 6.5 should laugh out loud at one passage in Targeted – and yet I can hear it in my mind’s ear being said.

    • Friend clark+e+myers, just wondering if the aforementioned 6.5 is a 6.5mm Carcano, a 6.5mm Japanese, a 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser, a 6.5mmx54 Mannlicher Schoenauer, a 6.5mm Remington Magnum. a 6.5mm Creedmoor, a 6.5mm Grendel, or other. I am sure that I will read the new book by Stephen Hunter, but probably only after it hits the libraries. I owned a 6.5mm Swedish Mauser, but was moved to sell it at a modest profit. I have been interested in 6.5mm after reading “Under a Lucky Star” (1943) by the famous hunter and explorer Roy Chapman Andrews. The a mail-order Carcano’s suspected role in the JFK assassination had previously given me some pause. I know a gunsmith in Colorado who is a big proponent of the sniping accuracy of the Mannlicher cartridge over the slightly higher-powder-capacity Swedish. Well worth noting. The Grendel’s U.S. military potential is said to be promising. Karamojo (Walter Dalrymple Maitland) Bell (Whew!) is famous for knocking off scads of poor elephants for their ivory with his .256 Jeffery, but wrote of moving to ever-increasingly powerful calibers after eventual bullet failures from light rounds. “Tembo Bwana!,” have surely been the last words heard from peashooter-bearers by many wannabe-Karamojoes. If I were hunting in Africa, I might borrow at least a .400 Jeffery from a lucky owner whom I know, rather than using a 6.5 for a primary Big Five weapon.

  3. Don’t know how I managed to miss him as an author. I’m definitely going to be perusing the pages of his books in the near future.


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