David's Reviews > Night of Thunder

Night of Thunder by Stephen Hunter
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's review
Oct 09, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: completed
Read in October, 2010

Bob Lee Swagger is one tough fellow. If you saw the film "Shooter" then you know that he is an expert sharpshooter from a long line of action heroes.

Bob's daughter, Nikki, is an investigative reporter. She winds up in an auto accident that is suspicious in nature.. and from there, Bob Lee comes in and starts his own investigation.. slowly uncovering... ????

Okay.. I'll stop there, excpet to remind you that the cover of the book shows a Nascar racing car and that becomes the setting for the book.

This is not one of Hunter's best. Personally, I liked the books that featured Bob Lee's father, Earl Swagger. An interesting enigma surrounds a group meeting at a Baptist camp and Mark 2:11.

As a Baptist minister, I thought that the author was going out of his way to paint preachers in general in a negative light. I am not one of those folks who see every use of a devout Christian or minister as a bad guy as some sort of attack on Christianity in general. However, for awhile, it seemed that Hunter was going overboard with the religious hypocrisy of one of the villains. At one point the author refers to the crazed minister as an "omnisexual" meaning he'll have relations, however perverted, with just about anything regardless of sex, age, or species. Also, Hunter mentioned another minister who had previously run the camp who had been a child molestor. On this side of the seesaw, the author seems to have an axe to grind against men of the cloth. Then, he abruptly switches gears by having Bob Lee seek out a Baptist minister to get help with solving the Mark 2:11 puzzle. This minister is portrayed as a calm and righteous man. However, it doesn't bring about a good balance. Okay, having the minister villain alternating between curses, blasphemy, and quoting Scriptures gives us a more fully developed character and is done to show the warped mindset of the preacher bad guy-- but the author seems to indicate by his usage that the majority of preachers are hypocrites and perverts, especially those who work with young folks. I have to admit-- this may be a hypersensitivity to my own calling and ministry --- I just felt that by metioning other hypocrites/fallen ministers he wasn't just trying to create especially wicked characters.

Okay, fallen ministers ARE realistic! I know of a number of ministers who have made wrong choices and clearly stepped from God's will. Jimmy Swaggart and Hal Lindsey, are two famous examples of men who had affairs or became involved in sexual sin.

Anyway-- It is almost accidental that Bob Lee is able to do anyting to stop the big crime...

In regards to the "big boss"-- The author drops some misleading signals, but he plays fair, he drops some real clues, too. It isn't a big shock when we find out who it is. If you read this and are shocked, let me say that you are no Sherlock Holmes because it became obvious to me early on and there was no real shock there.

So what do we have in the final analysis? An action packed book that has some mysterious moments and a reasonable conclusion. A great book? Far from it!


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