Soft Target

Soft Target

Book - 2011 | 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
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New York Timesbestselling author Stephen Hunter is back with a breakneck thriller brimming with his trademark action and masterful plotting, as ex-Marine sniper Ray Cruz confronts a group of murderous terrorists who've laid siege to the Mall of America.

It starts out as a simple shopping trip with his fiancÉe. But suddenly, retired marine sergeant Ray Cruz, whom we met in Hunter's last bestseller,Dead Zero, is in the middle of the softest target of all, a huge emporium outside Minneapolis where a self-styled "Mumbai Brigade" has come to bring massive death to the heartland.

Hunter flashes over the events as if in real time: the assembly of the killer team composed of terrorists from one of the world's hellholes, but led by a nihilistic insider who knows the mall backwards and forwards and has taken over the security software as well as the vast building and 1,000 hostages; the politics of SWAT as officials argue over tactics outside while the killing goes on inside; the panic in the halls of the death zone, as hostages are herded to an amusement park. As the clock ticks on, the terrorists begin to execute their captives. But they don't know Ray Cruz is in the building…

With a nail-biting premise and singular hero who exhibits heart as well as guts,Soft Targetis everything a thriller should be--timely, shocking, and full of high-stakes drama.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, 2011
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439138700
Branch Call Number: F HUN
Characteristics: 256 p. ; 25 cm


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Jul 22, 2015

After reading Dead Zero last week, this novel was quite a disappointment. I have to agree with the earlier commenter who suggested it probably only took Hunter a week to write. I did enjoy the metaphorical Colonel Obobo character though, who "...hadn't really done anything." "His career was primarily a phenomenon of showing up, giving speeches, accepting awards, then moving up to the next level..." I just can't put my finger on which present day political figure he bears resemblance to!

Dec 24, 2014

Terrorists take over a mall in Minnesota creating a hostage situation with Ray Cruz is trapped inside. The latest Swagger family member takes it on himself to take out the bad guys. Stephen Hunter’s usual twists, turns, and gun details are present. There’s no shortage of action and a thundering climax. The way that the hostage situation is handled is a metaphor for how the US is being run at present. I don’t think President Obama would like this novel.

Jun 21, 2013

Stephen Hunter has written several good female characters in this novel, in answer to previous critiques about his lack of them. Lavelva Oates is as brave as they come and it's terrific that she learned strategy from action video games. Nikki Swagger is outstanding; observant, quick-thinking and funny. Molly Chan will be a good match for Ray Cruz - bright, resourceful and cool in a crisis. The best one of all is Molly's hmong mother who has lived through so much brutality that nothing surprises or scares her anymore. I got several good laughs out of this story, such as, "what kind of a McGyver stunt is this ?" and "what kind of ancestors do you have to answer to ? Are they from China ?" "No, worse, from Arkansas."

abkeller Dec 02, 2012

This novel grips the reader by the throat from the very first page and holds him on a mind bending razor’s edge until the final page is turned. We are asked to delve into the mind of the smart criminal, perhaps the most difficult assailant to predict and understand.

Disgruntled Andrew Nicks has been bailed out of school after school by his wealthy father. With his father’s prestige and power, young Nicks can have virtually anything he asks for - and they allow him his excesses. Despite their efforts, however, Nicks seems fascinated with violence. Somehow, he manages to get a job in a game store in America, the Mall, one of the largest collections of stores and shops under one roof. This puts him in contact with the Imam, a young man who dreams of the jihad, his one way ticket to Allah, where he will enjoy the ultimate pleasures of the universe, forever.

Together, Andrew and the Imam manage to smuggle twelve Somali warriors into the U.S. through Canada and equip them with enough weapons to begin a small war. They spring their trap on Black Friday, when the Mall is filled with bargain hungry shoppers. While Christmas music drifts delightfully in the festive air, the Somalis first kill Santa and then open fire on the shoppers. In panic, the crowds flee for the exits, but over a thousand people are still trapped inside the complex, being held at gunpoint.

One of the shoppers trapped on the upper level is retired Marine Sergeant Ray Cruz, one of the best snipers in his field. Bravely, Ray ventures out to assess the situation and finds an unlikely partner in Lavelva, a large African American woman used to dealing with street toughs in all shapes and sizes.

While the police and FBI battle for jurisdiction outside and politics war with Emmy award-driven press eager for a scoop, snipers take positions on the roof of the huge complex. What are the group’s demands? If they accede to their wishes, all will be well and the hostages might be freed without any further bloodshed. What a political coup that would be! The only trouble is, Andrew Nicks isn’t interested in having his demands met and freeing any hostages. He’s in it for the joy of the Game!

This is one of the most fast-paced and frightening books I’ve ever read. It’s also delightfully studded with great characters, the kind any reader can really sink his teeth into. Every twist and turn yields a new line of thinking, another aspect of the twisted mind of this killer. So come, open the cover and jump into the game.

barefootboy Nov 07, 2012

Stephen Hunter has written some good books. Unfortunately this is not one of them. A big disappointment and waste of time.

Jun 21, 2012

A very topical and scary novel !
Everyone who loves big malls should read this - this scenario is inevitable in today's terrorist infected world ! --( Sure, Ray Cruz is not 'Bob the Nailer', but every book can't be about one hero or we'd soon get bored. )

Jun 10, 2012

Continued excellence by Hunter!

May 22, 2012

Weak storyline, weak characters, and probably took a week to write.

jdeank Mar 01, 2012

Good...just can't seem to get as intrested in Ray Cruz as Bob Lee and Earl Swagger. Maybe because their stories cover more geographic area than this one.., different generations...

Feb 12, 2012

This is his first disappointing novel. Not fresh in any way.

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