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Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter
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Pale Horse Coming (original 2001; edition 2008)

by Stephen Hunter

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Member:SRHarbin
Title:Pale Horse Coming
Authors:Stephen Hunter
Info:Pocket Star (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Currently reading
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter (2001)

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Showing 5 of 5
It's 1951, and the last place a man wishes to visit is Thebes State Penal Farm (colored) in Mississippi. Up a dark river, surrounded by swamps and impenetrable piney woods, it's the Old South at its most brutal. but in that year, two men will come to Thebes, first is Sam Vincent, the former prosecuting attorney of Polk County, Arkansas. Second is earl Swagger, a Marine hero on Iwo Jima and now a sergeant of the Arkansas State Police. ( )
  Gatorhater | Jun 26, 2013 |
Stephen Hunter's "Pale Horse Coming" starts out with a bang, and the author builds suspense as Earl Swagger saves his buddy but endures torture like no man should. But the end of the book is strangely anti-climatic, lacking suspense. Swagger gains his revenge too easily.

I love Hunter's books, especially "Point of Impact." But this one petered out at the end. ( )
  Stevejm51 | Jul 30, 2009 |
I have to say that this book was a stunner for me. Full of violence and
delicious retribution, tightly written and peopled with characters that come
to life before your eyes. This would make a hell of a movie, and I couldn't
help but cast it in my head as I went along. This isn't the sort
of book I ordinarily pick up to read, but I'm very glad I did, and I'm going
to be looking for some more books by Mr. Hunter, including one called "Hot
Springs," in which he introduces the amazing character of Earl Swagger. ( )
1 vote madamejeanie | Sep 21, 2008 |
The first book I read by Stephen Hunter was extremly good, a lot of suspense, I could not put it down. So I had equally high expectations for this one. It is an almost classic tale of vengeance. Our hero Earl Swagger goes down south to a penal farm, to find a friend that has disappeared while investigating the whereabouts of a client. I don’t want to give too much away of the storyline…. He barely gets away, with his life and sanity intact…just…. And swears to come back to give them hell. He gatheres some tough and trigger happy gunmen around him and they go back…. So far so good. I really liked the first half of the book, up to the point when he escapes from the penal farm. But then it gets pretty weird. The gun fighters are just too over the top and I think he tries too hard to make them all these unusual characters. But what puts me off the most is probably the style the book is written in. It is set in the 1950’s and written like that. Fair enough, he tries to create the correct athmosphere. I just don’t like it, it keeps me dropping out of the story because it feels so unrealisitc to me. So basically a good book, but just a bit too weird to be really great. ( )
  cathepsut | Mar 14, 2007 |
First, a bit of background about this series of novels. Stephen Hunter has two main characters: Earl Swagger, a veteran of WWII, a state trooper, tough, quiet, capable, tormented. Earl has a son, Bob Lee, who follows in his father's footsteps in most things. In Vietnam, Bob Lee (trained as a sniper) is known as Bob the Nailer. The first novel in the Bob Lee series starts twenty years later, when he is reluctantly drawn out of retirement.

Here's the challenge: Hunter jumps around in time, and back and forth between related storylines. My strong advice is to read the novels in the order you see here, although it will seem at first that Dirty White Boys doesn't belong where I've put it. It does. You won't see why until Black Light, and you won't appreciate Black Light unless you read Dirty White Boys first. Unfortunately there's almost no indication of this when you pick up on the books in a bookstore, and you might somehow miss what can only be called a near-classical tragedy if certain things don't happen in order. So I'm telling you. My suggestion would also be to read the Earl Swagger books before the Bob Lee books. But that's not strictly necessary.

Bob Lee Swagger
1. Point of Impact (1993)
2. Dirty White Boys (1994)
3. Black Light (1996)
4. Time to Hunt (1998)

Earl Swagger
1. Hot Springs (2000)
2. Pale Horse Coming (2001)
3. Havana (2003)

So you've got two interrelated series of books about a father and a son, jumping around in time. Why bother? Because when Hunter is on top of his game, these are fantastic stories. Bob Lee and Earl are both fascinating, frustrating, engaging, over the top and believable at the same time. Earl's difficult boyhood (which makes for some of the best reading in the series) shores up what might otherwise feel like Hunter's fraught characterization.

However. The novels are not all equal (and how could they be?) Pale Horse Coming is probably my favorite, and I like it for the same reasons I like Lee Child's Die Trying -- the story of one strong man going up against a cabal of bad guys. A weakness of mine, I admit.
1 vote rosinalippi | Apr 1, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Epigraph
The belief in a supernatural source of evil
is not necessary; men alone are quite capable
of every wickedness.
- Joseph Conrad
The human target element always stimulates
interest.
- Ed McGivern
...and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell
followed with him.
- Revelation 6:8
Dedication
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The Swaggers: a family shaped by the American century and crime.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671035460, Mass Market Paperback)

Medal of Honor winner Earl Swagger returns in a hard-hitting sequel to Stephen Hunter's best-selling Hot Springs, this time compelled by duty and friendship to follow his best friend, former Arkansas prosecutor Sam Vincent, to the most dangerous place in Mississippi. Sam has gone to Thebes, a prison for violent African American criminals, on a mission for a client. What he finds there is not only a travesty of justice, but a place where the inhumanity of the jailers is matched by the horrific secret research being carried out on helpless prisoners. Captured and tortured himself, Earl manages to escape, but in short order he's back, along with a hand-picked posse of aging sharpshooters who are eager to prove they've still got what it takes. They're also as intent as Earl is on unmasking the conspiracy and destroying the real criminals. Bloody, bullet-ridden, and brilliantly paced, this is Hunter at his explosive best. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 1951, the disappearance of Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor assigned to investigate a prison for violent African-American convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, draws his old friend Earl Swagger into a dangerous confrontation with a town that guards itself from strangers with a private army.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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