This is book number 8 in the Bob Lee Swagger Novels series.
Bob Lee Swagger is up to his neck in espionage and life threatening danger as he
investigates the death of a man in Baltimore by hit-and-run. Information results in the
man just returning from Dallas asking pointed questions concerning the JFK
assassination. Swagger chooses the same path to see where it will lead and finds
himself inquiring systematically the true magic of bullet number three involved in the
assassination. Designed to penetrate, not fly apart, Swaggers mystery is why the third
bullet exploded and disintegrated on impact considering there was no ballistic principle
for such a thing to happen. Upon looking into Lee Harvey Oswald's troublesome
background Swagger decides to journey to Russia and attempt to uncover a counterplot
involving the notorious Russian mob Izmaylovskaya. Knowing the American Justice
Department would have to approve his allegations along with a task force with
subpoena power, Bob Swagger decides to call his own shots and reveal his findings
and disclose the truth.
Stephen Hunter returns with his latest effort The Third Bullet, which is a Bob Lee Swagger novel. The sniper character of Swagger has now appeared in a little more than a handful of novels for Hunter. Long term fans as well as brand new readers will enjoy this product of mixing strong historical facts with intriguing dangerous fiction. Suspense is the common thread that ties together Hunters knowledge of documented events and his familiarity of weapons. The hard edged characters that are sprinkled throughout set the tone of the novel and maintain the thrill to the very end.
“There is no shortage of books on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but Hunter has done what no one has previously done: supply a breathtaking new angle on the event. While staying true to the underlying facts of the Warren Commission Report, Hunter adds a layer of historical fiction, creating a new theory of the events of that day. Swagger hunts the mastermind behind a second assassin who supplies the third, and fatal, bullet. As Swagger focuses on the shooter and closes in on the mastermind, the mastermind, in turn, hunts him. A heart-pounding thriller!”
— Bill Bauer, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
It's not even a clue. It's a whisper, a trace, a ghost echo, drifting down through the decades via chance connections so fragile that they would disintegrate in the puff of a breath. But it's enough to get legendary former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger interested in the events of November 22, 1963, and the third bullet that so decisively ended the life of John F. Kennedy and set the stage for one of the most enduring controversies of our time.
Swagger begins his slow night stalk through a much-traveled landscape. But he's asking questions that few have asked before: Why did the third bullet explode? Why did Lee Harvey Oswald, about to become the most hunted man on earth, risk it all by returning to his rooming house to secure a pistol he easily could have brought with him? How could a conspiracy that went unpenetrated for fifty years have been thrown together in the two and a half days between the announcement of the president's route and the assassination itself?
As Bob investigates, another voice enters the narrative: knowing, ironic, almost familiar, that of a gifted, Yale-educated veteran of the CIA Plans Division. Hugh Meachum has secrets and the means and the will to keep them buried. When weighed against his own legacy, Swagger's life is an insignificant expense -- but to blunt the threat, he'll first have to ambush the sniper.
As each man hunts the other across today's globe and through the thickets of history, The Third Bullet builds to an explosive climax that will finally prove what Bob Lee Swagger has always known: it's never too late for justice.