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Dirty White Boys

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,430 ratings  ·  289 reviews
They busted out of McAlester State Penitentiary--three escaped convicts going to ground in a world unprepared for anything like them....

Lamar Pye is prince of the Dirty White Boys. With a lion in his soul, he roars--for he is the meanest, deadliest animal on the loose....
Odell is Lamar's cousin, a hulking manchild with unfeeling eyes. He lives for daddy Lamar. Surely he wi
Paperback, 1st U.S. Paperback Edition, 496 pages
Published November 5th 1995 by Dell (first published 1994)
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Russty You referring just to this book? His major character in the majority of his books has the last name Swagger...

Just getting to this one. The "Pye" name…more
You referring just to this book? His major character in the majority of his books has the last name Swagger...

Just getting to this one. The "Pye" name appears in the Swagger series of books, yet this one is not listed as one in that series.?.?.? (less)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,430 ratings  ·  289 reviews

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Chris Berko
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just as fun as the first time I read it. This guy does great characters, dialog, and story lines. If you like 1980's and 1990's action movies by guys like Walter Hill you'll love this guy's books. ...more
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is in my top five of cop versus bad dude. Pure pulp. Super violence. Warning: NOT FOR THE SENSITIVE.

Rosina Lippi
First, a bit of background about this series of novels. Stephen Hunter has two main characters: Earl Swagger, a veteran of WWII, a state trooper, tough, quiet, capable, tormented. Earl has a son, Bob Lee, who follows in his father's footsteps in most things. In Vietnam, Bob Lee (trained as a sniper) is known as Bob the Nailer. The first novel in the Bob Lee series starts twenty years later, when he is reluctantly drawn out of retirement.

Here's the challenge: Hunter jumps around in time, and back
Lessons Learned: How to get the readers FULL attention in the first sentence!
Lily Vagabond
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
However you define this book or Stephen Hunter's writing, all anyone needs to know is Dirty White Boys is storytelling at its' best. Stephen Hunter has been in the game for a number of years, but I hadn't heard of the author until he was recently recommended to me by a friend. And I fell in love.

I adore face-paced thrillers where every loose end is nicely tied by the end, and that's exactly what I got. On the surface, Dirty White Boys sounds like a macho read, full of testerone. And it is, but a
I would have to agree with other posters. Dirty White Boys, is a pulp fiction crime novel. A throwback to the tough, two fisted "mens" action novels of the 50's and 60's. Well almost. It's better written then many of those old novels and not so formulaic.

It has several nicely staged gunfights in it and the dialogue is right out of a short story in Argosy magazine circa 1955. The criminals are bad and the cop is flawed, but heroic. Despite his flaws he pushes on and does his job.

I suspect that
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter is a dark, gritty, and at times very intense piece of modern day pulp. It’s not for the easily offended or squeamish! It contains violence, crude and rude dialogue, racial slurs, an abundance of cursing, and a lot of devious and abhorrent behavior that will not endear it to polite society. You’ll know from the very first sentence whether this is something you will want to read or not...and from that very first sentence the story is off and running.

For what it
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Pure pulp. Ultra-violent. One hell of a crime novel. Hunter is that rare breed of writer that is both highly literate and a fan of the genre.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-thriller
Dirty White Boys (1994) is a stand-alone novel by Stephen Hunter, who has fifteen novels about the lives, tribulations, and triumphs of Arkansas’ Swagger family: the first in the excellent (though variable) Swagger series was Point of Impact (1993). Even including the Swagger books, this is one of Hunter’s strongest novels. It is powerful and well-paced, its characters are despicable but very interesting, and each page grabs your attention.

This is a very gritty tale about prison life, escape and
Tim Warner
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
May be the best crime book I ever read from certainly the best writer of this genre. My palms were literally sweating and my heart racing at certain points.I haven't found anyone better, nor as good and am willing to settle for someone almost as good as Stephen Hunter. I wouldn't read this one first if you decide to delve into the master, Hunter. Probably best to go back to the earlier Earl Swagger books, not necessarily published in chronilogical order. You won't believe what a pleasure you wil ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Tough, nasty tale of some very bad-ass rednecks escaping from prison and causing tons of havoc. I passed this around the cell-block and it was quite a hit with the convicts.
Leon Aldrich
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you read much in this genre at all, then this novel deserves a place on your reading stack.

Jim Thomsen
Dec 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“You watch, Trooper. I’m gonna cut a path across this state nobody won’t never forget. A hunnert years from now, daddies’ll scare their young kids to sleep with tales of mean old Lamar Pye, the he-lion of Oklahoma."

Stephen Hunter's DIRTY WHITE BOYS is hard, heavy, high-blooded and hot as an Oklahoma haymow in high summer. It rips and snorts and hoots and screams across the Sooner State like a deranged demolition derby, leaving a sun-blasted swamp of blood and bullet casings in its smoking wake.
Carol Storm
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My friend Katie asked me to review this book to explain why I'm always raving about it. The problem is, the appeal of this book is very hard to define. On the one hand, it's a repulsive stew of all the worst features of redneck culture and toxic masculinity. This is an author who revels in hatred of blacks, fear of women, worship of guns and all forms of violence. When Stephen Hunter writes about guns you can actually picture him fondling them while he writes, like Hugh Hefner pawing Playmates a ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-in-print
Talk about a high-speed train ride through the minds of madness. I've never really gotten into crime novels or cop dramas, but I've been a big fan of Stephen Hunter for many years and finally got around to reading this one. Wow. Aside from some of the dialogue now and then, it was a strangely realistic view from every side; whether it was the hardass cop with his own personal drama spiraling out of control, Lamar's criminally intelligent rampaging, or Richard's pseudo-psychotic constant fear, th ...more
Nate Hendrix
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is great. Three guys escape from prison, one reluctantly, and go on a rampage. One cop ends up tracking them down. The characters were engaging the action was intense and the story not entirely predictable. Not a story for the faint of heart, but I loved it. A friend at work recomended it and I will be reading everything that he has written. I discovered that he wrote another of my favorite books, American Gun Fight: The Plot to Kill President Truman and the Shoot-ou That Stopped It. ...more
M.J. Allaire
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I usually like reading a longer book than this one, but I really liked the story. I'm an author as well as an artist and this story really struck a chord in me. I listened to it on audio book and will definitely be listening to it again... ...more
Chris DiLeo
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is solid, "manly" fiction. It's cops and robbers with lots of vulgarity, violence, and sex. The story might drag a bit in the middle, and get a bit melodramatic, but the characters are fresh, dynamic, and interesting.

There is plenty of action in this tale of a prison escapee and the aging cop out to catch him. The last third moves at a fast pace and pays off well.

Be warned, however: this book is not for anyone easily offended by bad words, cruel thoughts, and bloodshed.
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Another good Hunter book. I lent it out and never got it back.
Trevor Pearson
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"There is a paradox at the core of penology, and from it derives the thousand ills and afflictions of the prison system. It is that not only the worst of the young are sent to prison, but the best—that is, the proudest, the bravest, the most daring, the most enterprising and the most undefeated of the poor. There starts the horror. —Norman Mailer’s introduction to In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Henry Abbott No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man.”

Lamar Pye carries a big stick arou
Apr 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crimedetnoir
A crime thriller that is not too thrilling, really. The book begins with the prison shower room killing of an inmate by the antagonist, Lamar Pye. Lamar has to escape from prison because of the murder. According to Stephen Hunter, it's pretty easy to get out of a maximum security prison. Lamar, his retarded cousin, Odell (who Hunter has talking all 'retarded' throughout the novel--very irritating) and their wimpy cellmate Richard (Odell calls him "Wi--Chud") hop the joint. The prison scenes and ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Ok, Dirty White Boys is a great title - not like, "whoa man, amazing way cool." But it is provocative. Got a catchy beat. I'd rate it a 75 cause I can dance to it - and if you weren't around to watch American Bandstand way back in the day that comment won't mean a damn thing. Lately I've been finding when I reference things from my past in front of my younger straight-outta-high-school students they just look at me with these blank expressions. Some shit just doesn't translate any longer. Stuff ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, this review will be a little shorter than my last one for it seeing as Goodreads junked my review because I had the nerve to click outside the white popup window by accident.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the book when I was ready to put it down after the first chapter and the continual prison rape motif the author seems to be fixating on. No, we don't need pages of text about how big a penis Lamar has, it really doesn't add anything to the story - no I don't need to hear the contin
Karen B.
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I found out that some people in our group were choosing not to read it because of some profanity. Boy am I glad I decided to go with it! This was an exciting story about the escape from prison of three men, the girl they met up with later and the man determined to bring them down. It was full of tension and excitement. Lamar is a very intelligent criminal who brings along on his escape his cousin, who is brawny, strong but has problems speaking ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing read from Stephen Hunter. This is my 4th book by this author and I'll definitely keep on going with them. I had read Black Light a couple of months ago and was a little miffed to learn that it was a follow-on to this one so I had to go back and read this one pretty quickly thereafter. While this isn't a "Swagger" book per se, it does involve overlapping characters with both the Earl Swagger series and the Bob Lee Swagger series.

Action-packed and filled with drama, I always apprec
Three men at McAlester State Penitentiary had larger penises than Lamar Pye, but all were black and therefore, by Lamar’s own figuring, hardly human at all. His was the largest penis ever seen on a white man in that prison or any of the others in which Lamar had spent so much of his adult life. It was a monster, a snake, a ropey, veiny thing that hardly looked at all like what it was but rather like some form of rubber tubing.

This was one of those special books that grabbed my attention with the
Matthew Eisenberg
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Here's the thing---I'm a bit of a literary snob. So when I read a book like Dirty White Boys---a book that is unabashedly bereft of depth, meaning, significance, or artistry---the best possible rating I'm going to give it is 3 stars.

Dirty White Boys absolutely fulfills its purpose, which is to entertain. It's got escaped convicts, the cop trying to chase them down, and lots of gunfights. The characters are not cliched---the bad guy has appealing characteristics, and the good guy has loathsome c
David B
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A highway patrolman becomes enmeshed in the bloody career of a trio of escaped convicts.

Stephen Hunter writes a hell of a story, fast paced, brutal, and captivating. He delivers exactly what I want from a story like this--a number of big, bloody action set pieces strung together with intelligent plotting and smooth, accomplished prose. His characters, such as the lawman having an affair with his partner's wife and the hulking criminal with the mind of a child, may appear to be the stuff of pure
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-fun
Good solid fun read. I'd say Hunter is becoming a favorite of mine for crime fiction. He may not have the ear for dialog that Elmore Leonard has, but who does? He creates a solid cast of characters, and unlike too many stories, his villain is a person, not some stereotype of "evil." A few too many coincidences in it, too many "close calls," for my tastes. But again his solid research holds the novel on steady ground and makes for a good time. ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Hunter is a fav author and his writing is enjoyable. This is one of his best. The weaving of the story and the character. This is a perfect example of a balance of the protagonist and antagonist. And at times its difficult to tell who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Both of the them are flawed and dealing with demons. Still it’s a roller coaster ride to the end and a must read.
I rarely give five stars but this novel is perfect.
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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.

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