Stephen Hunter – Pale Horse Coming

Stephen Hunter - Pale Horse Coming

There’s usually a government conspiracy at the bottom in Stephen Hunter’s novels.  He’s that kind of thriller writer.  The conspiracies sometimes stretch over generations, something Hunter can pull off because the two main characters in his universe are father and son Swagger, shooting it out with the powers that be in their respective eras: The post-war years and the 1990’s present.  One novel had a timeline in Vietnam as well, making it three separate eras where the strings are pulled by the (same) men in black.  Now that’s a powerful conspiracy.

And then these badass Swagger characters come in and shoot it all up.  That’s so much fun.  I’ve described Hunter’s novels earlier as trash, and they are, in the positive sense of easily readable palate cleansers.  I don’t mean that they’re unimaginative.  That doesn’t work for me.  What I mean is that he’s found a sweet spot in the balance between being readable and being interesting.

So whenever I want to remind myself of why I love to read, I pick up a Stephen Hunter novel, and gobble it down like back when I had just discovered books and could think of nothing more wonderful than spending an evening in a chair reading some amazing adventure story.  And then I forget the story and move on.  But the experience – so much fun!

Oh, and the story: A 1950’s Mississippi penal colony for blacks is a modern heart of darkness.  There’s a conspiracy.  And lots of shooting and general badassery.

One Response to Stephen Hunter – Pale Horse Coming

  1. I also love Stephen Hunter’s novels, and for all the reasons you mention. He’s just a great storyteller. I’ve read all the Bob Lee/Earl Swagger books leading up to this one, so this is next on my to-read list.

    The last one I read was actually outside of the “Swaggerverse,” his first — “The Master Sniper” — which I thought was pretty good, too.

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