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Stephen Hunter fans...

Discussion in 'The Book Rack' started by CAK, Aug 12, 2004.

  1. CAK

    CAK

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    ...what are your other favorite authors?

    I am looking for authors of the same genre that have the same attention to detail and realistic portrayal of firearms. I can't stand it when an author writes that his character "thumbed back the hammer and cocked his Glock".

    What are your suggestions?
     
  2. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Lifetime Member Millennium Member

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    S.M Stirling, The Peshawar Lancers. It's an alternative history novel, 1880s and 1890s technology mostly, but he gets all the bullet-and-blade stuff very right. Set in India. If you like running people through with sabers, whacking them with .455 Webleys and Lee-Metfords, try this one. For $6 it's a very good read. Read the index at the back first or you'll be clueless at first. :) I didn't and 80 pages into the book I finally said, "Oh!"
     

  3. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head Staff Member Admin Silver Member

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    I am reading a bunch of books on writing and one of them had a bio on Stephen Hunter. It turns out that he was in The Old Guard, the same unit in the Army I was in. Small world. Eric
     
  4. Leonard

    Leonard

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    Check out J.C.Polleck
     
  5. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Some Stephen Hunter books are good and some are rather cheesy. Palehorse Coming (I think that's the title) was on the cheesy side, what's with Audie Murphy (under pseudonym) wielding an MP-44, Elmer Keith, Ernest Hemingway and who was that old timer FBI agent who was a hell of a double-action revolver shooter? All under pseudonym.

    I suppose it's Hunter's homage to the gunfighters, but the story was too cheesy for me. Dirty White Boys was good though.
     
  6. kels

    kels

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    His Marine Corp series is very good.
     
  7. Cali-Glock

    Cali-Glock Mountain Man

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    Pale Horse Comming did not even come into the ballpark of quality of Hunter's other work; and in that way it was disapointing, but I had fun with it anyway. Anyone read his latest? I could not bring myself to buy the hardback - still waiting for the paperbound.
     
  8. CAK

    CAK

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    JC Pollock is a very good author that hasn't had anything out recently...too bad.

    I was not too thrilled with Hunter's latest work- Havana. Maybe that's because I prefer present day timelines as opposed to more historical periods.

    Kenneth Goddard had a few good books - check out Balefire and Cheater.
     
  9. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell Cross Member CLM

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    I think hunter went the route that a lot of writers go. They believe, and rightly so, that once they sell people will read anything they write. Hunter did good with the sniper series, and Bob Lee Swagger was not too shabby. Dirty White Boys was as raw as an open sore, but good. I think he started picking characters out of thin air and trying to write a story around them.
     
  10. Spyder Teeth

    Spyder Teeth Southern Gent

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    Not so much picking characters out of thin air. He writes about folks we already "know". And in so doing, he's trapped. He wants to write about Earl but has to stay within the boundries he painted for himself in Point of Impact and Black Light. No matter what, Earl has to stay a "war hero turned state trooper" so he can fit the profile already laid out for him in the "future" books already written. I also read an interview with Hunter in a gunzine (I think it was American Handgunner) where he said he frames entire books around certain firearms. For example, Point of Impact was about the Model 70 Winchester and the full size Colt Gov't. Dirty White Boys of course featured the same gun in .38 Super. Hot Springs was the Tommy Gun/Colt National Match novel. Etcetera etcetera...

    As much as I like Hunter as an author I think he readily traps himself with this *retro* style of writing about characters whose ultimate fates are already known from previous books. For example, when starting Pale Horse we KNOW Earl doesn't die, we KNOW Sam Vincent doesn't die. Hunter is trapped from page one forward. This may not seem like a big deal but it really is. In Point of Impact we had no idea from page to page how it was going to turn out. That novel is at the top of Hunter fan's favorite lists for a reason. It was a heck of a book for one thing. For another thing the outcome was a mystery. We had no idea where it was going. There was no boundries to consider. Makes a difference.

    Hunter is among my favorite fiction authors but let's face facts here. The Earl and Bob Lee story line is played out. It was fun while it lasted but its over.
     
  11. jbewley

    jbewley Member

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    I mostly agree.. I loved all of Stephen Hunter's books until Pale Horse Coming. I understand the whole 'homage to the shooting greats' idea, especially given that a significant portion of his readers are gun enthusiasts. From his perspective, I'm sure it was fun to do.

    Here's the problem. When he did that, he lost that element of hard, often dark, reality that appeals to me. It struck me as a bad comic book plot instead of a decent plot for a novel. Which might have been okay if he wasn't using characters from his series (i.e. Earl Swagger). It somehow retroactively polluted my whole image of the characters.

    I don't think that Stephen Hunter believes that his readers will read whatever he writes. I think he writes a certain way, and it gets harder and harder for him to write unique novels. He doesn't want to deviate from the Swagger series (i.e. Don't mess with a winning streak), but it's getting harder and harder for him to come up with new topics. Earl tries to kill Castro? Give me a break.

    Dirty White Boys was his best novel, IMHO.

    He needs to take a step back and write a fresh novel from scratch.. Stick to what he does well (capture rural communities and tell good stories), not overfocus on the gun crowds, and completely break from the Swaggers.

    As far as other gun-knowledgable authors, checking out Marcus Wynne's first novel (No Other Option)is worthwhile.. but I liked his second novel much less. I haven't even picked up his third, and probably won't. But I really liked the first one.

    While definitely not as gun-centric as Hunter, Ace Atkins novels are great reads (mainly centering around the blues and the South), and his attention to detail is wonderful.

    As a gun enthusiast, I enjoy reading books by authors who know guns. But it's a delicate line to balance. If they go too far, then the novel just becomes some Mack Bolan novel (i.e. a crappy template-ish book filled with guys machinegunning everyone on every page).

    I think a lot of publishers would actually be better off searching and replacing 99% of their non-gun-savvy authors' descriptive gun phrases with words like "pistol" instead of "Smith and Wesson 380 Special Automatic". When someone flips the safety off of their pistol, I move on with the story. When they flip the safety off on their Glock (or their revolver), I go ballistic. In this case, using "pistol" instead of "Glock" actually makes the book more accurate. Or less inaccurate. Which is probably good enough.
    :)
     
  12. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell Cross Member CLM

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    Picking characters out of thin air was a bad choice of words. The characters were there, but not deserving of a story, and they got one anyway.

    William Johnstone did it with the mountain man series. A character, meant to be temporary, would get a lot of fan mail, and he got a book, deserved or not.
     
  13. Bill Powell

    Bill Powell Cross Member CLM

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    I've got no problem with authors not being really knowledgeable about guns, cause usually it doesn't attract my attention enough to detract from the story, but when Steven King starts talking about picking up the revolver and inserting the clip; that's a bit much.
     
  14. jbewley

    jbewley Member

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    Exactly! I don't expect authors to know a thing about guns, I just expect them to know their own limits.

    I'm pretty sure we wouldn't find mainstream novels being published where the protagonist climbed in the trunk to drive a car, or hopped into a motorcycle and drove off. :)
     
  15. unit 900

    unit 900

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    Take a read at Lizardskin by Carsten Stroud. I enjoy Hunter and Stroud has many similarities. Lizardskin was a great read and gun savvy.
     
  16. jbewley

    jbewley Member

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    Wow.. I thought I'd read all of Carsten Stroud's books, but I completely missed Lizardskin. I'll go find a copy tomorrow!

    For anyone that hasn't read his stuff, "Deadly Force" is a great nonfiction book (about the US Marshals), and "Cuba Strait", "Black Water Transit" and "Cobraville" were all good reads as well.
     
  17. CAK

    CAK

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    I agree that Stroud's "Deadly Force" was a great read on the USMS. I just started reading his "Cuba Strait" and it is a very good book as well.
     
  18. Az Stealth

    Az Stealth

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    In "Time to Hunt," we knew Bob Lee wasn't going to die during those Viet Nam flashbacks. But it was still some of the best writing I've ever read!

    Bob Lee Swagger is by far my favorite American Hero. I hope Hunter writes several more books around him. Bob Lee spent a lot of time in Nam, so coming up with more flashbacks should be easy. And in the present tense, he is moving into the future, so it won't be necessary to tediously weave everything that happens into an already established "past."
     
  19. Wayne D

    Wayne D

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    I would like to see Hunter move the Bob Lee story line forward instead of backward. He would only be in his fifties, still young enough to be dangerous. Memphis and Dobbler are still out there and one of them could require some "help" from Bob. Memphis is still in the FBI and Dobbler's shady past opens all kinds of possibilities for stories.

    If he does write any more "Bob Lee" books I hope he does a better job than "Havana". "Havana" had so much potential. The characters were great, especially Frenchy and the Russian. He had enough sub-plots going to give Tom Clancy a headache but he didn't develop them. The book seemed rushed, like Hunter had all these great ideas and only one weekend to put them all together. "We're leaving for the beach Monday, better get this damn book finished tonight."

    I'm sorry to be so critical but after "Point of Impact" and "Dirty White Boys", I don't expect good books from Hunter, I expect great books .
     
  20. sdakota

    sdakota senior member

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    I really enjoyed "A Flash of Red", "A Whisper of Black" and "Dwelling in the Gray" by Clay Harvey.

    He's got a really great hero in the Tyler Vance character - Bob Lee Swagger and Ty would get along just fine.

    Harvey knows his guns (his nonfiction includes "The Hunter's Rifle") and he can tell a story, too.

    He's one of the few authors I've read that I would recommend to Stephen Hunter fans.

    Anyone else read these ?