Any novel that opens with crazy jihadists killing jolly old Saint Nick on the first page can’t be too bad.
“Soft Target”. . . manages to be more than just not bad; it’s a modern Western on amphetamines; it’s Tom Clancy if Clancy were a better weaver of the old fashioned good vs. evil yarn; it’s… well, it’s Stephen Hunter all the way. Semper fi and all that. . .
. . .Hunter is famous for going where no other writer will go. He enters the grey. He tells the densely complicated stories other thriller writers shy away from. He throws his noble yet heroic characters into the world of grey and forces them to deem what is black and white, good and evil, and we sit back and enjoy.
Hunter’s novels also appeal because of their visual style, and this one is no different. He manages to keep the pace fast and the narrative swift without sacrificing clarity, because he knows exactly what we want. He feeds us the exact images and verbs our inner beasts need to gobble up in order to be completely consumed by the story. Hunter has perfected the craft of the thriller by keeping his prose simple a la Hemingway and giving us the details other writers shy away from, all while providing these in the context of a visually striking world only a man who reviewed films for decades could give us.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I'm not alone in my Stephen Hunter obsession. Here's part of Zachary Leeman's review of Hunter's latest, Soft Target: