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Soft Target

(Ray Cruz #2)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,572 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Black Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00 P.M. 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 amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The other ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,572 ratings  ·  274 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
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
May 20, 2012 rated it it was ok

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
Dec 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
True Confessions: I love Stephen Hunter. While I'm a gun control advocate (and Canadian, big surprise), his books are basically modern Westerns, with good guys, bad guys and shootouts. I don't know why I like reading about this, but I do. He's a terrific thriller writer. His better novels are ver tightly written. And while not all are that good (the last few before this one have been quite so-so), Pale Horse Coming is perhaps one of the finest thrillers I've ever read: it's about retribution, go ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller, fiction

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
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Ann Keller
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
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
Alain Burrese
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"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
Scott Holstad
Aug 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
If I wanted to read right wing politics, I'd pick up Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, etc., but not Stephen Hunter. Yet under the guise of a "thriller," we have Hunter's view of Obama and the left and it's not pretty. Int his tale of a Somali terrorist takeover of the Mall of America in Minnesota, where they kill people at random and have about 1,000 hostages, we have the beginnings of an interesting story. Until we get to Colonel Douglas Obobo. I'm not making that last name up. He's a charismatic b ...more
Paul Pessolano
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
“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
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While trying to finish the Stephen Hunter books this one happened to be next. Remarkably finishing it today was appropriate because the terrorist disasters in Paris and San Bernadino, California are fresh in our minds from the past several weeks. This book written four years ago evokes such a similar event that it is unreal. Without going into detail about the plot Hunter wrote this novel almost like these events had occured prior. In any case, a typical fast moving story combining a mixed cast ...more
Nannie Bittinger
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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.
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was like fast food: strangely inviting, goes down fast, somewhat satisfying, not particularly good for you.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published in 2011 by Brilliance Audio.
Read by Phil Gigante.
Duration: 7 hours, 56 minutes.

The premise of this book is pretty simple: The Bruce Willis movie Die Hard meets Minnesota's The Mall of America, except in this book it is called America: The Mall.

It's Black Friday, the biggest shopping day in the biggest shopping mall in America. Suddenly, Islamic terrorists throw off their disguises, shoot the mall Santa between the eyes and take a thousand people ho
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, it's hard not to be intrigued by a book that starts off like this one does. Nothing like having Santa Clause getting shot in the face in the first sentence to get a reader's attention. Terrorists have taken over one of America's biggest malls during the Christmas shopping season and are holding a thousand hostages until certain prisoners are released. This one comes from the author of the Bob Lee Swagger series and the protagonist is Ray Cruz, Bob Lee's son, who is a former Marine and is t ...more
Judy at NewEnglandGardenAndThread
I like Stephen Hunter's writing style, and I liked the cast of characters in this book. Since, I also enjoyed all of the Die Hard movies, I enjoyed 90% of this book. The 10% that almost had me pulling out my hair was the 'political spin doctor.' I like reading fiction, especially mysteries, and usually the good guy comes out on top even if he doesn't 'win' the game. There is a character in this book that you love to hate, and I was waiting for the floor to drop out and bury him, but instead he p ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it

I've always enjoyed Hunter's work, and this was pretty much what I expected. Lots of action, a small twist in the end which isn't overly surprising, and some macho marine talk that somehow feels a bit contrived and just a touch too much. Still, the novel reads quickly, and is good for some intense moments and shocking turns.
John Boyda
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Stephen Hunter is a pretty good author but I was not impressed with his stereotypical characters in this novel. He says that it is an allegorical tale - I think it's a bit far fetched. While I do agree that radicals have a great target of opportunity in attacking a shopping mall, I thought the premise of this book was weak.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bob Lee Swagger's illegitimate son is also a master sniper, and master snipes TF out of mallbound bad guys. Family businesses falter as the generations pass, and this franchise was a lot better earlier on.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Thrill ride. Fast paced, action filled - exactly what a thriller should be.
John Cates
Scary real world plot, but the protagonist is a bit to much of a "one shot hero" - for donation to a Little Library
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book reads way to realistically. The political and media savvy winning over the brave. The techno-nerd and the extremists all resonate as possible.
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
not Hunter's best effort
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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.

Other books in the series

Ray Cruz (2 books)
  • Dead Zero (Bob Lee Swagger, #7; Ray Cruz, #1)
“I would advise you never to use the W-word today. The W-word is why. Sometimes there is no why, and if you get hung up on why, you lose your effectiveness. I’ve seen it happen. The men who die are the men who can’t believe they’re in a fight and can’t believe that someone is trying to kill them. It seems so unfair to them and they’re so busy feeling sorry for themselves, they don’t seek cover, they don’t return fire, they don’t scan the horizon, they forget how to use their expensive equipment. The men who live get it right away; they understand they’re in a different world and they have to deal with exactly what is before them with maximum concentration.” 1 likes
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