Caution: Not for the faint of heart. Stephen Hunter's Pale Horse Coming is a dark tale of murder, cruelty, and raw ambition largely designed to conceal a secret project being undertaken in the swamps of darkest Mississippi. Until now I'd pretty much given top honors on my 'gruesome scale' to Thomas Harris' scene in which Hannibal Lecter and Clarise Starling dine on Paul Krendler's brain; but as unpalatable (sorry) as that scene was the psychopathic brutality displayed by the officials of the Thebes Penal Farm (Colored) comes very close to topping it. When attorney Sam Vincent fails to return from a mission to the penal farm in search of documentation his friend, former Marine and Arkansas State Police Sergeant Earl Swagger, sets out to investigate. What follows is a gripping tale of incarceration, escape, revenge, and retribution that will set the hairs on your neck to tingling. Hunter nicely pairs off his characters to provide lots of both internal and external tension, and cleverly doles out revelations about the true nature of things all the way to the end of the tale to keep those pages turning.
I would describe this book as the movies Missing in Action, The Pelican Brief and the Magnificent Seven all rolled into one fantastic story. I picked this book up at a thrift store because it looked interesting. I was greatly surprised. This is a terrific book, with well developed characters. I really liked the fact that Hunter used biographies of real life, well-known gunmen of the 20th century. He changed the last names Elmer Kieth aka: Elmer McKay, Jack O'Conner aka: Jack O'Brien and Audie Murphy aka: Audie Ryan. What a great twist. I actually knew Elmer Keith when I was a young lad. He is from my home town of Salmon, Idaho. Jack OConner also lived in Northern Idaho.
This was a great book. I couldnt put it down, and was never board with it. Stephen Hunter writes in a way that puts you inside the story and paints vivid scenes in your minds eye. I would recomend this book to anyone who loves action, and suspence.
a wild ride this is hunter at his visceral best hunter is a marvelous story teller
Solid Stephen Hunter. Lots of guns, strong men, hate and heroism.
This is a great story. Not your typical Hunter - I love his spy and sharpshooter type stories - this one is about a prison in the deep south where few men come out of...
This was my first exposure to Hunter. This is a really fun book to read. Its definitely a man's book full of testosterone. Swagger (and son in other books) is a memorable character. And the best part of Hunter's book, they can be stand-alone. In fact he wrote them in a wacky order. Read this book.
Great read, Modern cowboy and Indians, good over evil at all costs.
Mississippi 1951: The last place any sane man wants to visit is Thebes Sate Penal Farm. Of the few who make the journey there, even fewer return.
But when an old friend disappears inside Thebes, ex-marine and Arkansas State Police Sgt. Earl Swagger takes a personal interest int he case. As he infiltrates the prison, what he experiences difies his wildest nightmares - a savage world where death is the only salvation. As tough as hi is, Swagger barely escapes with his life - and his mind - intact. But he's not going to stay away for long. Recruiting six of the hardest, deadliest gunmen ever known, bloody vengeance is soon at hand. Because Earl Swagger is going back to Thebes.
AND HELL FOLLOWS WITH HIM...
When his old friend disappears inside Thebes, a notorious prison for blacks, ex-marine and Arkansas State Police, Earl Swaggart goes to find him. He finds a world left behind in the last century in terms of savagery and viciousness. Although he frees his friend, he is taken prisoner must then endure the horrible torture and viciousness of the place. He decides that the only way to survive is to escape.
Thrilling action which leaves you biting your nails and turning the pages...
All the Earl Swagger stories are raw, real & reliably thrilling
Excellent read, hard to put down. All of Hunter's books have a tie to each other, even though each is a stand alone story. It is worth the effort to read in sequence.