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Point of Impact

(Bob Lee Swagger #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  15,063 ratings  ·  731 reviews
He was one the best Marine snipers in Vietnam. Today, twenty years later, disgruntled hero of an unheroic war, all Bob Lee Swagger wants to be left alone and to leave the killing behind.

But with consummate psychological skill, a shadowy military organization seduces Bob into leaving his beloved Arkansas hills for one last mission for his country, unaware until too late tha
Paperback, 528 pages
Published March 6th 2003 by Arrow (first published February 1st 1993)
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Alsweider Many details are left out or changed in the film. Toponyms, the dog's names, terrains, motives, parts of the background story etc. They removed or red…moreMany details are left out or changed in the film. Toponyms, the dog's names, terrains, motives, parts of the background story etc. They removed or reduced the roles of important supporting characters such as Dr. Dobbler and Sam Vincent. There is more fireworks and walking away without looking at explosions. The structure of the main plot and the character roles are basically the same as in the book. The film is rather mediocre, the book is much better and more nuanced, in my opinion.(less)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action
I like this book. There are things in it that bug me a bit, but on the whole nothing that really requires comment.

Bob Lee Swagger is a solitary man who lives alone in the Arkansas hills with his dog and his rifles. He loves to shoot though he doesn't hunt for meat anymore as since the war, he's lost his taste for the kill (something I've come to share. Maybe it's an age thing to?). Bob is part of the (so called) gun culture. He reads gun books, he loads his own ammunition and works at accuracy.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Done as motion picture, "The Shooter." And if you liked it as I did, you'll be pleased to know the novel is even better. 10 of 10 stars!
Benjamin Thomas
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had read the novel Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter several years ago and had been pleasantly suprised by the quality of the work. And then, about a year later I saw the movie, "Shooter" starring Mark Wahlberg and once again, came away pleasantly surprised. I realized that the movie was based on the novel, "Point of Impact" also by Stephen Hunter but beyond that I discovered the two were related in a unique way. The main character in "Hot Springs" was Earl Swagger (with at least three books in th ...more
Mike French
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
3 Things not to do:

Tug on Superman's cape
Spit into the wind
Mess with Bob Lee Swagger

A wild ride from start to finish. Make sure your seatbelts are fastened and your hands are inside the vehicle at all times! I thought J Carson Black's Cyril Landry was tough, but he is a wimp compared to Bob Lee! A must read for fans of Thrillers!
Jane Stewart
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
4 ½ stars. Last half is good action suspense.

For the first 240 pages (42%) I was depressed and stressed. I had trouble sleeping at night. It was too much hopeless helpless victim feel because innocent man Bob Lee was framed for murder and on the run. THEN it changed and the rest of the book was exciting and hard to put down. Bob Lee was on a mission of retribution -- revenge. The bad guys were worried. There was a happy ending for the good guys which I liked. But I did not like one thing at the
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
POINT OF IMPACT by Stephen Hunter is the first novel in the 'Bob Lee Swagger' series that has produced both the movie and series named "Shooter".

Bob Lee Swagger is a former sniper for the military who has gone out of his way to live a quiet life in solitude until his peaceful existence is shattered by a visit from a man who claims to be military and convinces him to help them nail an elusive sniper who reportedly plans to shoot a political figure.

Anyone who's seen the "Shooter" movie or the seri
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bob Lee Swagger is a tough, unforgettable character. The action, settings & plot are all plausible. If you like conspiracy theories, guns & snipers, it's a great read. Well written & thought out.

The biggest surprise to me was that when I tried to re-read the books maybe 5 years later, I couldn't get back into it. I didn't think of it as a read-once book. It's better than that. Maybe a little too good & I remembered it too well to make a re-read worth it. Usually my memory is worse than that.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Bobby Lee Swagger is a loner. He likes things simple, just him, his dog and the cold silence of the north. He also has a talent...not to sing or dance, but to shoot and kill. He was a sniper for Uncle Sam, one of the best in the world. But when the government comes calling and presses on Bobby Lee's I love my country button, he must heed the call. But thanks to his daddy's teachings and how Uncle Sam has treated Bobby in the past, he takes no chances and takes steps to ensure that he is protecte ...more
David Graham
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A series of books that I would like to recommend is Stephen Hunter’s first three books of the Bob Lee Swagger series (Point of Impact, Black Light and Time to Hunt). I have only read one of the later books in the series and they seem to be more straight-forward action-thrillers but the first three books had the most wonderful plots and some of the best twists I have ever read. Hunter took what could have been a very one-dimensional character in Marine sniper Swagger and made him intensely intere ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up a 5x7 paperback not expecting too much but I became so engrossed in this character and the clear writing that I ended up reading this book in a day.
The author is just as skilled as Bob Lee Swagger...lines up the story, checks the wind, loads the right ammo in the form of words and gets to the point...BAM! Suddenly you're hit by a story that tells you everything you want to know but still feel mystified by the protagonist. Very, very good read. Never fel
Tom Swift
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Marine snipers get used by a Secret CIA black ops unit....Exciting read.
Paul Falk
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, fiction
The author told us of Swagger's self-imposed isolation as a result of the Vietnam War but he couldn't convey to us why, simply, because he didn't really know why. Not many do. For that, he would've had to have had his own pair of jungle boots on the ground. Then he would have had to endure a nightmare that seemed to had gone on forever.

There's a side of Swagger that won't be found in this book. It's a side of him that yearns to share with others how we felt about his time over there. If only he
May 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel by Stephen Hunter that I've read, and while it doesn't quite hit the cartoonishly hypertrophic heights of Dirty White Boys , it's more tightly focused and plotted. This is both good and bad, since after the first 100 or 200 pages it feels as if the characters are all slaves to the plot, which is unfortunate, since they actually had the potential to be pretty interesting people. On the plus side, the technical details of marksmanship and rifles are all pretty interesti ...more
Asghar Abbas
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the THE best thrillers ever. A real one. Joyous to read from start to finish
It's an absolute shame that it is not more well known.
Character of Swagger is A celebration of Hunter's skills.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding beginning to the Bob Lee Swagger series.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Point of impact
Almost perfect. Definitely more than my normal 5 stars.
For those, who like me, came to this book because they liked or loved the movie Shooter, the book is better, much better.
This is a book (first published in 1993) about a sniper and guns and it is not surprising that people involved with gun culture like it. This makes me conclude that the novel is authentic in its depictions and details.
However, I think it is even more enjoyable for people who have never been involved with gu
Aug 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
I finally gave up reading this book on page 270. Which honestly was hard for me to do because I've never given up on a book before. Well, I gave up reading FAST FOOD NATION but that was different. Anyway, reading this book was an uphill battle only because Hollywood had recently turned it into a movie --a bad movie and although I never saw it, the mere thought of it shied me away from reading it. However, I decided to put my best foot forward and read the book and then see the movie and then dra ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bob-lee-swagger
This book is a classic action story, but the way Stephen Hunter writes from a strong foundation of knowledge about firearms and shooter culture gives it an authenticity that other authors cannot come close to. And Bob Lee Swagger is the ultimate hero.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Point of Impact is a fast-paced, shoot-em-up, viscous, smart, captivating, and an unconventional thriller about an equally unorthodox sniper and war-hero, who lives as a recluse from the world, alone with his magnificent weapons, particularly sniper rifles. Bob Lee Swagger is an unorthodox protagonist in the action-thriller genre, due to his ruggedness and crude way of life, having struggled from a dark spiral into alcoholism and a dark past of abuse within marriage. I say he is unorthodox becau ...more
Jonathan Briggs
Master sniper Bob Lee Swagger, "Bob the Nailer," has sworn to kill no more. He's withdrawn from society into the mountains of Arkansas to nurse his wounds, physical and spiritual, from Vietnam. Bob won't even kill deer, his rifle set on stun. But his bloodlust is reawakened by a chance for payback: A shady colonel visits Bob's cabin and offers him the opportunity to take down the Russian sniper who blew Bob's hip off and killed his protege in Vietnam. The commie rat is out to kill "the great man ...more
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-reads
PROTAGONIST: Bob Lee Swagger

Bob Lee Swagger is pretty much living the life of a hermit in the mountains of Arkansas. His life revolves around guns; he has a huge cache, which he fine tunes and cares for but never uses for killing. He doesn't need much in his life. He's got a loyal dog and plenty of room to roam, and that suits him fine.

When Bob served in Vietnam, he was renowned for his marksmanship; currently, he is one of the top shooters in the United States. In spite of himself, h
Danielle Tremblay
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Memorable and beautfully-drawn characters, in a very complicated plot. Tons of detail about shooting and the sniper's world, delivered in a way that does not get in the way of the action. Keeps you guessing until a perfect and very satisfying ending that ties everything up nicely.

And it's not over when it's over. If you want to find out about some of the things hinted at in "Point of Impact" - how Bob managed to stop an entire NVA battalion with a 2-man sniper team, and the real story about Bob'
Ken Schloman
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent thriller where an ex-sniper who lives a solitary life in the mountains of Arkansas is lured into a complex plot to kill a political figure where he ultimately is targeted to be the patsy. . I loved the development of the Bob Lee Swagger character. Supporting characters are well developed and the settings are described to perfection, particularly when the action moves to the mountains of western Arkansas. I've been in that area many times and --pardon the pun-- the author is ...more
Carol Storm
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Is Bob Lee Swagger really Superman?

Man this book gave me a headache. Stephen Hunter can write great gun battles, and he knows weapons and tactics. But his hero, Bob Lee Swagger, is a boring, monotonous individual. He's not a carefree playboy like James Bond. He's not a family man like Jack Ryan. He's not even a cheerfully amoral mercenary like Conan The Barbarian.

No, Bob Lee Swagger is what Tennessee Williams once called "an ass-aching Puritan." He doesn't smoke, drink, raise hell or chase girl
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent fast-paced action novel from Stephen Hunter. This is the first Bob Lee Swagger novel and it is probably the best! However, I really love all of the Swagger series - both Bob Lee and Earl Swagger. I would recommend reading this book, then "Dirty White Boys" (not a Swagger novel, but some of the same characters appear in other books), and then "Black Light" which ties "Point of Impact" and "Dirty White Boys" together and is a great intro to the Earl Swagger novels. Hunter is super!!
Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. The man's research is phenomenal. This is how to write a thriller. I can read this again anytime.
Rex Fuller
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First rate. I will read all of the Swagger books Hunter ever writes.
Billy Purdue
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had just finished Lee Child's series and my father in law recommended this and even loaned me the entire series. I very much enjoyed this and look forward to the next.
John Bohnert
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this engrossing thriller.
It's the first book in a ten-book series.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Point Of Impact” is the first book that explodes Bob Lee Swagger, a jungle-smart hillbilly and premier sniper into our lives. Bob had served in the Vietnam War and is considered as the crème-de-la-crème of his area of expertise. The book opens with Bob living a quiet life in the Arkansas mountains determined to saving the wild life from the poachers. We find him in the phase where he has sworn not to kill anymore. The environment is serene and Bob enjoys every bit of his loner existence.

A reti
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Nick Memphis as story character 1 4 Nov 14, 2018 10:29AM  
Greeting 1 6 Oct 27, 2016 03:02PM  
Contemporary YA: Shooter Books into TV 2 8 Jul 18, 2016 05:05PM  

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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

Bob Lee Swagger (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Black Light (Bob Lee Swagger, #2)
  • Time to Hunt (Bob Lee Swagger, #3)
  • The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger, #4)
  • Night of Thunder (Bob Lee Swagger, #5)
  • I, Sniper (Bob Lee Swagger, #6)
  • Dead Zero (Bob Lee Swagger, #7; Ray Cruz, #1)
  • The Third Bullet (Bob Lee Swagger, #8)
  • Sniper's Honor (Bob Lee Swagger, #9)
  • G-Man (Bob Lee Swagger, #10)
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