Soft Target: A Thriller
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Soft Target: A Thriller (Ray Cruz #2)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,170 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Another action-packed thriller from Stephen Hunter, this time starring Ray Cruz, the son of ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, who was introduced in Hunter’s previous bestseller, Dead Zero.

Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall—a giant Rubik’s Cube of a structure with its own am...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
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Mike (the Paladin)
This book is the "logical continuation" of the Bob Lee Swagger series of books...but it's not a Bob Lee book. Bob you see has gotten a little...long in the tooth. He was 64 years old in his last outing. Luckily for us however Bob discovered a long lost son! In this book the "saga" continues with Bob Lee's son, Ray Cruz.

The plot is one that I've been sort of dreading hearing of in real life... Terrorists decide to hit one of America's largest malls on "Black Friday".

Of course things aren't that s...more
Cheryl

Ray Cruz was a Marine. He is trying to adjust to cilivan life. It is Christmas time. Ray and his friend, Molly are shopping. So are tons of other people on this day. People ae in a jolly mood and children are having fun sitting n Santa's lap, telling him their wish list. Suddenly, a shot is fired. Santa's brains go splattering. Soon people start to realize what has happened and panic arupts. People go screaming. More shots are fired. Terrorists come out from every direction. They gather people u...more
Wesley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin
Man, this was a real let down. Let me first state that I am a huge Stephen Hunter fan. After reading my first Hunter book a couple of years ago I have devoured all he has written. I anxiously await when I new one comes out. I was on a waiting list to get this book from the library and was excited when it came in for me. Quickly I felt the disappointment in this story. Way too much going on, too many semi main characters, little side stories that didn't pan out worthwhile at the end and the uneve...more
Nick Brett
I have enjoyed most of the author’s books to varying degrees, but this is without doubt the worst of his output.

The flaws and problems are many, in what is basically Die Hard in a shopping mall and Ray Cruz being the man in the spotlight to stop an attack. There is very little that is ‘right’ with it, so let me focus on the downside: It’s short, about 250 pages so quite expensive for a slim volume, it has an observational style of narrative that is annoying, the dialogue is utterly woeful and th...more
Rick Fisher
I am a huge fan of Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger novels. Bob Lee is the epitome of everyday man, of American man, of hero. This being said, he does not appear in "Soft Target". Bad news. His son Ray Cruz does though. Good news. (Also, his daughter has several cameo appearances as well.) With Ray appearing in his own novel, I wonder if Mr Hunter is prepared to retire Bob Lee. Fans, such as myself, can only hope not. I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the character of Ray, just not as well as his...more
Jeffrey
Taut short thriller.

When terrorists take over the America Mall and hold 1000 hostages, what will the police and FBI do to stop the carnage.

Ray Cruz, a former marine sniper, and his girlfriend are in the Mall shopping for gifts for Christmas when the action starts.

The police are led by a bureaucrat more interested in spin then dealing with the terrorists, who seem to have only one demand before they free the hostages.

Cruz goes on the hunt for terrorists in the Mall with the help of one of the sn...more
Mark

I suddenly wanted mind candy, I suddenly got mind candy. In this terrorism, malcontent against the world thriller, former Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter creates a massive hostage incident at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

One day, Somali gunmen emerge in the mall, start firing and killing shoppers and herd them toward the amusement park in the center. In the meantime, Ray Cruz (hereinafter, Our Hero), former Marine sniper, happens to be in the mall, and is of course destined to be...more
Paul Pessolano
“Soft Target” by Stephen Hunter, published by Simon & Schuster.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

In Stephen Hunter’s last book we were introduced to Ray Cruz. Ray is an ex-Marine sniper who is the son of Bob Lee Swagger. Bob Lee is also an ex-Marine sniper and has appeared in most of Hunter’s other novels.

At 3pm on Black Friday in America’s largest shopping mall, America, the Mall in suburban Minneapolis (not to be confused with The Mall of America) a potential massacre is about to take place.

Ray a...more
Ann Keller
This novel grips the reader by the throat from the very first page and holds him on a mind bending razor’s edge until the final page is turned. We are asked to delve into the mind of the smart criminal, perhaps the most difficult assailant to predict and understand.

Disgruntled Andrew Nicks has been bailed out of school after school by his wealthy father. With his father’s prestige and power, young Nicks can have virtually anything he asks for - and they allow him his excesses. Despite their effo...more
Alan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alain Burrese
"Soft Target" by Stephen Hunter is a fun action yarn, that if you wanted to sum up in a few words, could be called, "Die Hard" in a mall. Something that Hunter himself, I believe, also thought, especially with the little tongue-in-cheek reference to the 1988 action movie starring Bruce Willis, that along with Lethal Weapon really set standards for action movies to follow.

I'll admit, I enjoyed Hunter's previous books about Bob Lee Swagger more than this one, even though this book featured Swagger...more
Kristin
While this is one book in a series involving ex-military sniper Cruz, it was the first I read, drawn to the plot of terrorists taking siege of the largest mall in the USA. Of the 3 books I read with this similar plot, I'd say it falls in between Ridley Pearson's 'Hidden Charges', by far the best, and Alex Kava's 'Black Friday'.
Hunter definitely pulls readers in right away by having the shooters kill the in-mall Santa Claus on Black Friday in the book's very first line. From there, Hunter covers...more
Nannie Bittinger
Soft Target is definitely an exciting book. Set in a fictionalized Mall of America on Black Friday, the timing and location was perfect since my copy of the book which I won through Goodreads arrived in the mail on Black Friday and I live in Minnesota. Interesting characters and fast action. I'm not sure why the author chose to change the name of the mall after locating it in the Minneapolis metro area (like there is more than one???) but his description of the fictional 'America the Mall' was v...more
Monnie
Soft Target is the first book by Stephen Hunter I've read, and it certainly won't be the last -- definitely a fast-paced page-turner from the git-go! In part because the plot involves terrorists, I suppose, it reminded me of a cross between a Brad Thor novel (that's a good thing) without the political commentary and a "Die Hard" movie. Although it's tough for a non-computer gamer like me to believe what happens in the book could happen in the real world, Hunter makes it plausible enough to convi...more
Todd
Another technothriller time killer.

Not a bad premise, jihadis taking over the Mall of America in Minnesota.. but I think Hunter really shortchanged us readers. This story could have been so much more developed and he really blew the opportunity to develop some of the more interesting martyrs themselves, as well as our protaganist.

It killed a night drinking pinot noir in front of a nice fire, so I give it an extra star for that.
Melissa Laird
I won an advanced copy of this book for goodreads. This is the first book for Stephen Hunter that I have ever read it was pretty good and I really enjoyed Ray's charecter and I even liked Lavelva's charecter but I had a hard time with all the jumping around it did.
Cathy
Feb 02, 2012 Cathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: To all who enjoy a good suspense
I could not put this book down! Scary because of the actual possibility of this happening. Pick it up, you'll get a very very good read.
Michael
It was like fast food: strangely inviting, goes down fast, somewhat satisfying, not particularly good for you.
Bill
Holy cow is this a bad book.

I've never read any Stephen Hunter before and I'm not sure I will, although a few reviewers here make some positive recommendations.

These are the three most important things I've learned from this book (I don't believe these are SPOILERS, but I supposed they could be, so read on at your own peril):

Stephen Hunter really finds Somali boys attractive. I mean he *really* finds them beautiful. He finds a way to work in this opinion on at least three or four occasions.

The w...more
Dtt
This is neither Stephen Hunter's finest or his worst work -- which puts it in a solid 3-star category. SOFT TARGET is basically a retelling of Bruce Willis' DIE HARD, with the Mall of the Americas replacing the Nakatomi building. Instead of "Euro-trash" thieves, we have updated bad guys in the form of Somali jihadi terrorists and a genius first-person shoot-em-up gamer.

I don't think there's enough of protagonist Ray Cruz in the story. My subjective sense is that he gets about 30 percent "screen...more
Brandon Collinsworth
Here is the thing, I actually enjoyed this book, but was so upset at the very very very unsatisfactory ending that I can not in good conscience recommend this book to anyone. I have usually come to the conclusion that you can not let the ending ruin a book that had been perfectly enjoyable up to that point, after all the it is about the journey and not the destination. But here is the thing and it is completely unforgivable and unredeemable.

**********************SPOILERS*************************...more
William Bentrim
Soft Target by Stephen Hunter
In the era of jihad the concept of soft targets is sobering. People who wouldn’t recognize democracy if it bit them in the tush would love to enjoy our freedoms while they try and destroy them. This book pits a retired marine sniper against a home grown nut case and some deluded Islamic terrorists.

Ray Cruz is the protagonist in this book. He represents the best of our service people, loathe to leave a job half done and patriotic to a fault. He finds himself thrust in...more
Nancy
Truly enjoyable book. Lots of suspense, (don't like the killing), but plot is intricate, love the police commissioner being a total idiot (but keeps getting promoted -- who hasn't seen that in today's society -- it's not about worth anymore). Also, kids being so messed up and still are functioning in society and they further mess it up. At some point, all this will bite us and the world will be right. Not in my lifetime.......

Black Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00...more
Alex Gherzo
Not one of Stephen Hunter's best, but a great, entertaining adventure nonetheless. A massive mall in middle America is taken hostage on Black Friday. As the authorities argue over how to deal with the crisis, former Marine Corps sniper Ray Cruz navigates the halls of the shopping center trying to take out the terrorists before they massacre a thousand frightened shoppers. Basically, it's the standard Die Hard scenario. It's been done many times and will be done many more. Sometimes it works real...more
Bill Garrison
SOFT TARGET, by Stephen Hunter, is the first novel in years to not feature a Swagger sniping and killing a bunch of bad guys. While his daughter does make an appearance as a journalist, this novel stars Marine Ray Cruz. Ray is shopping with his girlfriend on the day after thanksgiving and America, the Mall, which is basically the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. At the heigth of Black Friday, a terrorist shoots the mall Santa right between the eyes. Then a group of terrorists rounds as...more
Bob
Ray Cruz, ex Marine sniper is in the Mall of America with his girlfriend when someone shoots Santa Claus. Shortly thereafter 12 gunmen with the look of middle eastern terrorists move down the various halls shooting and herding the shoppers towards the center plaza and ride area. While this is going on someone has taken control of the computerized control center of the mall and locked all the exit doors, elevators and stairwells. Once news of what has happened, (from frantic cell phone calls) the...more
Jen A.
Stephen Hunter's Soft Target is about a siege held on America, the Mall in Minnesota. A fan of the first-person shooter game, privileged and white Andrew concocts a scheme to turn a real-life hostage situation in a mall shaped like America into an extremely violent game, pushed to the world via Wikileaks.

Hunter's story flips neatly between the perspectives of different people inside and outside of the Mall, and of those in charge, those taking orders, and those held hostage. His portrayal of th...more
Kathy Reinhart
I've never read a Stephen Hunter novel before so I have nothing to compare the writing of this book to. Many have noted that his earlier stuff was better, but I have not read any of that, so this review is strictly for this book, without reference to his many other works.

The plot was sufferable and predictable in design. Although I liked the Ray character, there were elements that didn't ring true. Agreeing to allow Lavelva to trot along behind him would have been more of a hindrance than a aid...more
Bookstorequeer
This book really wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it would be much more of a mindless action-type, with suspense and adventure and that sort of thing. I was pleasantly surprised by the multiple viewpoints and I think the author really did a great job of combining all the different points of action and events together seamlessly.

I liked the characters and it was easy to cheer for them, growing attached as I went.

I was a little disappointed with the (view spoiler)...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Stephen Hunter is the author of fourteen novels, and a chief film critic at The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
More about Stephen Hunter...
Point of Impact (Bob Lee Swagger, #1) Time To Hunt (Bob Lee Swagger, #3) I, Sniper (Bob Lee Swagger, #6) Black Light (Bob Lee Swagger, #2) Dirty White Boys

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