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Soft Target by Stephen Hunter
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Soft Target (2011)

by Stephen Hunter

Series: Ray Cruz (2)

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A group of terrorists take over the Mall of America in Minnesota during the Christmas rush.

Some see this as an opportunity to advance their careers but Marine sniper, Ray Cruz is one of the few who takes positive action.

Well written and suspenseful. ( )
  mikedraper | Jan 27, 2013 |
Radical Islamic terrorists take over the largest shopping mall in America where Ray Cruz, a retired military sniper, and his fiancee are shopping. They violently hold more than a thousand hostages, and make demands. The leader is ruthlessly cold-blooded with no concern at all for human life, and so are his very young Somalian followers. Yet, not all of it is at it seems.

Cruz is able to hide with a few others, having been separated from those held in hostage. Unbeknown to the terrorist group, he makes his plan to stalk and kill them one-by-one, stealthily, quietly. In the meantime, the police force is outside, unaware of Cruz and what he's up to inside, making attempts at delicate negotiations to peacefully end the standoff with no loss of hostages, and Cruz, unaware of the negotiations, just might ruin it all.

This is a suspenseful, fast-paced read. The unique thing about this book is that the hero is not your ethnically ordinary American and he doesn't seem to be the only hero, although he is the main character hero but room is left for other characters. ( )
  atdCross | Nov 17, 2012 |
I keep reading Stephen Hunter and the only justification I can give is I like his characters. The basis for his stories are good, too, but I think if THAT story had been given to another writer, I would have enjoyed it much more. I was going to say "everyone would have enjoyed it more" but I don't like to include other people's opinions in mine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I keep trying to figure out what it is I don't like about his books and I think it's the dialogue. He seems to write like a 15 year old boy who's jacked up on bang, bang, shoot 'em up. Yes, I know Ray and Bob are heroes. Do we have to keep repeating it? I find myself skipping over multiple paragraphs to get back to the story. I know Bob is a backwoods southerner but geez - the dialogue. I think I have to let Stephen Hunter go. As much as I like his characters and his basic stories, for me - they're ruined by the dialogue the author writes. ( )
  bitsy08 | Jan 27, 2012 |
Stephen Hunter's "Soft Target" is a major disappointment that reads like a novelization of a superficial action film that includes sideline commentary on the state of America's politicians and lawyers. These latter elements make the book more of a satire than the type of action thriller that we have come to expect from Hunter. Yes, I know that characters like Howard "Howdy Duty" Utey from the Swagger series were also meant to personify the bureaucratic mindset in opposition to action men such as Bob Lee Swagger and Nick Memphis, but Colonel Douglas Obobo is an embarrassing right wing-nut/Tea Party inspired projection of, you guessed it, Barack Obama, as self-seeking bureaucrat personified. The hero this time is Ray Cruz who first appeared in Hunter's last book "Dead Zero". Journalist Nikki Swagger makes a cameo appearance and the iconic Bob Lee Swagger only appears via a brief recorded phone message. The villains are a pretty lame cardboard bunch of Somali Islamists some of whom who were coerced into joining the fight and they are led by, get this, a first-person-shooter video game obsessed American turncoat looking to direct and immortalize his own apocalyptic shoot-out. It all goes down in a Mall of America inspired location. Either Hunter has lost interest in writing the sort of thriller fiction that made for a solid core of fans from 1993's "Point of Impact" onwards or, like Tom Clancy, he has stopped writing his own books. I can't imagine that any long-term fans will find much to enjoy in this latest outing. ( )
  alanteder | Dec 14, 2011 |
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A follow-up to "Dead Zero" finds retired marine sergeant Ray Cruz confronting a band of terrorists who have taken over the Mall of America, where they begin to systematically execute more than one thousand hostages.

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