Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pale Horse Coming - Book Review

Next in Stephen Hunter's Earl Swagger is Pale Horse Coming and it's a doozy.

The bare bones plot borrows from the real life events of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male (per Wikipedia. Click through that link if you want a synopsis of the entire plot.)  See, there's this prison in the deepest, darkest reaches of, uh, Mississippi, and Earl's friend has been wrongfully taken prisoner.  There's a break out, a capture, much misery, another break out, a break in and then it's all Apocalypse now with the world ending in fire and flood and whole lot of shooting thrown in for good measure.

Long and thrilling, Hunter is clearly having fun with his series and when an artist is having fun great things happen and no doubt Hunter is an artist in this genre.  For shooting fans, there's the usual gun lore to be found and for movie fans Hunter borrows from his day job as a movie reviewer and pays homage to those movies where a group of guys (and a girl!) go up against impossible odds and prevail.   Sure, it's all preposterous.  So?  It's also epic and could very well be Hunter's masterpiece of his series.

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