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Randal

Randal

Hunter's Jumped The Shark!

G-Man - Stephen Hunter

Years ago, I was a huge fan of the author's "Bob Lee Swagger" series of books. I can remember my father-in-law and I devouring them, and having spirited discussions about them. Then, along about the time Hunter began the "Earl Swagger" series, the author's plot lines devolved, and his verbiage became unbearable. So many obscure descriptions and dialogue that, rather than adding to the story, instead overwhelmed them. So I took a break from the author.
Enter his latest novel, "G-Man". I wanted to like it. I really tried. I made it halfway through the book, before becoming so exasperated that I had to quit. It had the thinnest of plot, based around crazy, imaginary encounters of an entire whos-who of 1930's era gangsters, and the shoehorning in of the main character. And, where I thought Hunter had gone overboard in his verbiage in the past, he takes it to an entirely different level here. So much unnecessary language! What possible reason is there to spend a page detailing a minor character's choice of soft drinks? Or the color of a woman's dress? It just went on and on. At the end, I thought that perhaps it was just me, that my tastes had changed. So I read a bit to my wife. She looked at me like I was insane. "Why would you and my father read such drivel?" she asked. "It sounds like someone trying to pad a school paper with words to meet the teacher's minimum standard".
At that point, I had to realize. Hunter has jumped the shark. He has taken a wonderful character in Bob Lee Swagger, and ruined it. That's it for me. No more Stephen Hunter!