cover image Night of Thunder: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel

Night of Thunder: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel

Stephen Hunter, . . Simon & Schuster, $26 (290pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-6511-6

Near the start of Hunter's cartoonish fifth Bob Lee Swagger thriller (after The 47th Samurai ), Nikki Swagger, the series hero's journalist daughter, is seriously injured when a hit man runs her car off the road in Tennessee hill country. Despite Swagger's fears that the legion of enemies he's made over the years are responsible for the attack, the former marine leaves Nikki vulnerable to another attempt on her life in the hospital where she's being treated—an attempt foiled only by chance in the nick of time. Such plot-driven implausibilities are rampant as Swagger investigates his daughter's recent assignments, which lead him to drug-running along the Tennessee-Virginia border and to a NASCAR event. At the violence-filled conclusion, one of the supporting characters, in keeping with the book's overall arms-length relationship with realism, says, “In some perverted way, I think everybody who didn't die or lose their business kind of enjoyed it.” Hunter fans may feel similarly. (Sept.)