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Soft Target: A Thriller (Ray Cruz #2)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,253 Ratings  ·  268 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 amusement park located in the sp
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Pocket Books (first published December 6th 2011)
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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  ·  review of another edition

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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller

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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Pessolano
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nannie Bittinger
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was like fast food: strangely inviting, goes down fast, somewhat satisfying, not particularly good for you.
John Boyda
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.
Phil Hill
Not one his best but then again it's Stephen Hunter. A surreal story about terrorists taking over the largest mall in America with killings, politics, it was kind of messy but with Bobby Lee Swaggers son, it at least kept one reading until the end.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
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.
Christopher Yard
Sep 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Stephen Hunter's books, but this one was just unreadable
Alex Gherzo
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Thots so far - can't quite decide if the author is 'anti-right wing' or if he's just very good at writing about people who are. I do get tired of liberals being portrayed as 'the saviors of the world' when they tend to have their head in the sand when it comes to how 'the world really works' and how American conservatives are anathema and evil. It does get old.

So a group of Muslim terrorists have taken over the Mall of America, I mean, America, the Mall. We'll see how this turns out. Thot it was
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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 twelve have come to kill. Stephen Hunter's hyper-drive, eighth-gear new thriller, "Soft Target, "chronicles the day when the

Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
"I clonked his ass with a eight iron"..."I hope they ain't mad I bust it"
I have no clue concerning the emotional landscape going on behind that sentence, actually I have no idea of how the character got in a position to do the clonking it was just very fortunate that they did.

There are rather too many moments in the book where I was left with those questions.

The heroes sidekick stretches credibility beyond breaking point. The scenario at its most basic might seem "all too real ", the rest is pur
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Ray Cruz (2 books)
  • Dead Zero (Bob Lee Swagger, #7; Ray Cruz, #1)

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