The Bullet Garden is the new book by Stephen Hunter. I think everyone knows Hunter by his ongoing novels about Bob Lee Swagger. This one is actually about his Dad, Eal Swagger. That makes it the 4th Earl Swagger novel.
Hunter promised a couple of years ago that the next book would be about Earl in the Pacific during WW2. Well, it isn’t. Hunter cooked up a way to put Earl on loan from the USMC to solve a sniper problem in the ETO right before the breakout from the Bocage. Sigh…
Earl has to figure out how a team of Germans are sniping USGIs at night. The front lines are terrified that the Germans have some new tech that lets them see at night and for some reason, the brass thinks Earl, a USMC Sgt would be the guy to figure this out while giving him the cover of being a US Army Major in the OSS. Not Hunter’s best concept in my opinion.
We know Earl will prevail since its a prequel to the other 3 books and we know Earl dies in 1955 anyway According to Black Light so there are no real stakes here.
Hunter has unfortunately gotten to the point he is repeating himself a bit. A Swagger has to stop something, he uses his ability to investigate and figure it out way beyond the abilities of an Arkansas born USMC no matter how smart he may be. A third party works against the effort via internal intrigue etc etc. It has all the beats of his last 3-4 novels. It’s enjoyable and everything and I do think you should buy it. But it is not some action packed masterpiece like Point Of Impact or Pale Horse Coming. At least it isn’t a ode to how great the FBI is like some of his recent stuff. I’d rate it 3 out of 5.
Pale Horse Coming. Now that was a helluva story!
I have a few of Hunters books. Might be time to read them again.