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The Day Before Midnight
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The Day Before Midnight

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,458 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Paramilitary terrorists who have taken over a top-secret nuclear complex kidnap Maryland welder Jack Hummel and force him to cut through a half-ton titanium block that conceals the launch button.
ebook, 432 pages
Published October 21st 2009 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1989)
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Jan 09, 2014 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Stephen Hunter, fans of military thrillers
For several years leading up to The Day Before Midnight Stephen Hunter had written some fair, but not outstanding novels. The one constant throughout the early novels was an attention to detail when it came to firearms. However to me the earlier novels felt like Hunter was trying too hard. That he wanted to be "literary" instead of just a novelist of entertaining thrillers.

The Day Before Midnight changed all that. I read it when it was released as a paperback in the late eighties and it blew me
Jonathan Briggs
Stephen Hunter needs to sue somebody's ass. What we have here is a prototype for the TV show "24" (tho this is more like "17," and someone forgot 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. in all the excitement). Each chapter is an hour, and the clock is ticking while the heroes race to avert global catastrophe. In this case, terrorist commandos have taken over a nuclear missile silo in rural Maryland, and a band of scientists, feds, Delta badasses, Vietnam vets and clutzy National Guardsmen try to prevent World War II ...more
Danielle Tremblay
This is "just an airport novel" only in the sense that Die Hard (the first one) was "just another action movie." In other words, you have here a familiar genre and set-up (here, the "countdown to Armageddon") being taken to a peak level by expert craftsmanship.

A large part of the book's success is that it's a fascinating, deeply-researched book that refuses to settle on just technical jargon... or even get by on its tightly-woven, brilliant plotting or technicolor-vivid prose. Instead, Hunter co
This 25 year old '89 Hunter story is typical of the post cold war time period that saw the Soviets finish second. More sacrifices than necessary were made. 4 of 10 stars
Tucker Elliot
This is an old school Stephen Hunter thriller that grabs you from the opening pages and takes you on a frenetic race that never lets up until it reaches a tense, dramatic conclusion.

A family is taken hostage and the father – a welder – is coerced into doing a treacherous job; a professor stumbles through a lecture as he tries to find some semblance of order in his life after a messy break-up with his wife; a Vietnam veteran is now imprisoned in solitary confinement; and a bungling Soviet spy who
Raegan Butcher
Another great read from Stephen Hunter, better known as film critic for the Baltimore Sun. No wonder his novels read like blueprints for excellent screenplays. This one is about insane Russians who take over a nuclear missile silo and the disparate group of character who have to stop them before they start WWIII.
Bob Ryan
I've read a number of Mr. Hunter's books and enjoyed them all. He's developed a great character in Bob Lee Swagger and has several very entertaining books about sniper warfare. I'm also convinced he's solved the JFK assassination in his novel, The Third Bullet.

This book starts a little slow (for the first 20 pages) and then takes off like a rocket, a nuclear rocket, for the next 380. The book is divided into hourly chapters, like the 24 TV show. Each chapter is packed with action, suspense and
Roberto Scarlato
I'm probably the only one who will say this but when it comes to this novel, which I give props to the author for creating suspense, it is just too long and drawn out. I think I was at page 350 when I finally couldn't take it anymore and threw the book at the wall. It is good to build up suspense in a novel but, after reading this one, now I know that there is such a thing as too much suspense. As a writer's gimmick, you have to gradually give little hints and problematic, somewhat inescapable e ...more
A really entertaining book, action is fast paced, has different point of views that change really fast. Only problem with it was the format, at least twice i had to reread before realizing that the author has changed to another character's POV, because at first the writing didn't make sense at all. But it was probably a Kindle format problem, as there was no separation in those POV changes.

Overall it's really entertaining, there are moments when you feel like you're in the middle of it and think
Peter BP
I see this is on a list of "Manfiction." That would be an accurate description for this book. I'm a sucker for "Die Hard"-like scenarios and this book fits that mold. Lots of action here, though unfortunately we are not meant to care about many of the characters in this book--and many are disposable. Mildly entertaining.
Kurt Fasulo Jr.
Fast paced action

First of all, one of the protagonists is named Dick Puller. Dick. Puller. If that's not reason enough to read it, then I would say that the suspense is. Hunter does a pretty nice job of keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the story. Thus far, my favorite of his early books.
Earl Baugh
A book my Dad recommended. One of the few that he recommended. We had been reading Clancy books (I got him started, and he'd read them as he worked Security at the Cape during the midnight shift). Someone gave him this one, and it was one of few that he thought was good enough to pass to me.
I wasn't sure how this novel would be, knowing that it did not feature Hunter's old friend, Bob Lee Swagger. In the end, it was a fine novel for escapist fiction, pretty much what I want from a novel. Like some other reviewers, I thought it was a bit too long and drawn out. It could have been tightened up a little, but probably not too much. On the other hand, I was unhappy with a few minor dangling threads. For example, I would have liked one last scene reuniting the welder with his kids. Also, ...more
Andrew Cormier
I found this to be an excellent, fast-paced novel with a great set of characters and plot. It held my attention throughout the entire story and I was eager to pick it up each night to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this book.
I couldn't stop reading this book. My experience with Stephen Hunter before this was limited to his Bob Lee Swagger series, so I wasn't sure what to expect from a book without good ole' Gunny. But whatever expectations I had, Hunter blew them away. The story was masterfully woven together from the different characters' points of view, and all of those stories contributed perfectly to the whole. The characters were likable, the pace was good... I just can't say enough good things about this book. ...more
Easily one of my favorite fiction books. Excellent plot, exciting, harsh, and gripping writing. I've read this book half a dozen times and it still captivates me.
Rick Andrews
Not much good to say about this yarn or Stephen Hunter for that matter, but you have to love the lead military character's name...Dick Puller.
Aug 13, 2015 Tess marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommendations
Lua from Le Happy: This book was actually recommended by my dad because he’s a bookworm and I really can’t stress enough how good it is.
Pankaj Verma
plot start fast but over the pages gets slow and climax is good. but not of the expectation it build from start.
overall a good read
Mike H
Excellent race against time thriller. Quite a bit of killing so be ready..... Hunter is a top story teller.
Written in 1989 and it hasn't aged that well.
Todd Stanley
The first 100 or so pages of the book started off very slow. If you can get past that, it gets much better quickly.
I always like this book. More for the scenario and descriptions of South Mountain that for any brilliance of the prose. It's an interesting story set during the cold war, and doesn't reach real far out for technology or justification. Most of the characters are shallow-ish, but they don't all need to be "character of ultimate depth" for you to enjoy the read.
David Lucero
This page-turning, action-packed novel was an inspiration for me to write THE SANDMAN, my first novel. The whole story takes place in one day, with realistic action scenes, tongue-in-cheek writing, and characters that leave you cheering, and jeering. I read this book in three days! And have since read it twice. Definitely one of Stephen Hunter's best!
Nuclear thriller. Once again the professionals outsmart themselves and real people save the day. I like Hunter's writing style. The characters jump off the page. I not only can see them and hear the pitch of their voice, but I can understand their motivation, almost feel their emotions. Good story, too. A real page turner.
Awesome. Perfect beach reading: Brilliant plotting, effortless characterization, and possibly the most head-spinning use of parallel narrative ever deployed. There are times when I suspect there's really nothing better than very, very good genre fiction, and Hunter's book strongly suggest that's true.
I remember reading this book as a child and really liking it. Fast paced, with likable characters and gripping action, I read this book in a day during the summer. But, who knows? I was just a dumb kid, this book probably sucks.
Steve Davis
This one keep me turning pages. Could not put this military/terrorist thriller down. If you like action and adventure this is one you have to read. Hunter knows his weapons and military facts down cold.
A departure from Hunter's usual oeuvre of sniper-lore, this is a book with a fairly convincing Doomsday scenario and some epic Special Forces assault craft. Worth a read for Hunter fans.
This was my first Stephen Hunter "thriller" and I really enjoyed it. I kept thinking I was reading an action movie. I rate 3.7, and will read some of his others.
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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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“The Americans, he laughed drunkenly. They build more cars than anybody in the world, and take them out and dump them in terrible traffic jams. The only thing crazier than the Americans were the Russians, who never had traffic jams because they didn’t have cars.” 0 likes
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