Read Soft Target by Stephen Hunter Online

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Black Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00 P.M. Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall--a giant Rubik's Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The otherBlack Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00 P.M. Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall--a giant Rubik's Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The other twelve have come to kill.Stephen Hunter's hyper-drive, eighth-gear new thriller, "Soft Target, "chronicles the day when the unthinkable happens: twelve gunmen open fire in the mall corridors, driving the pack before them. Those on the upper floors take cover or get out any way they can; but within a few minutes the gunmen have herded more than a thousand hostages into the amusement park.Ray Cruz, one of the heroes of Hunter's last bestseller, "Dead Zero," is in the mall with his fiancee and her family. The retired Marine sniper thought he was done with stalking and killing--but among the trapped thousands, he's the only one with a plan and the guts to confront the self-proclaimed "Brigade Mumbai." Now all he needs is a gun.FBI Sniper Dave McElroy has a gun. But positioned on the roof of the vast building, looking down through one of its thickly paned Great Lakes-shaped skylights, and without explosives or fuses--or the go-ahead from his superiors--he is effectively cut off from his targets and forced into the role of witness to the horror unfolding below.Set during the four hours of the terrifying event, the story follows both hostages and gunmen, detailing the complex strategic police response, the full-press media saturation coverage, even the politics of SWAT as both the Minnesota State Police and the FBI struggle to control, confront, and ultimately defuse the crisis.Having learned the lessons of Columbine, the feds believe that immediate action is the only solution. But Douglas Obobo, the charismatic and ambitious commandant of the state police, orders cooperation, tolerance, communication, and empathy for the gunmen. He feels that with his superior negotiating skills, he can make contact with the shooters and gently nudge them into surrender. But what if their goal all along has been unparalleled massacre--and they're only waiting for prime time?With unrelenting suspense and vivid scenes of violence and chaos in the center of a terror-crazed afternoon in Middle America, thriller master Stephen Hunter takes us into the belly of the softest of soft targets....

Title : Soft Target
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439138700
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Soft Target Reviews

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-10-22 13:14

    This book is the "logical continuation" of the Bob Lee Swagger series of books...but it's not a Bob Lee book. Bob you see has gotten a little...long in the tooth. He was 64 years old in his last outing. Luckily for us however Bob discovered a long lost son! In this book the "saga" continues with Bob Lee's son, Ray Cruz.The plot is one that I've been sort of dreading hearing of in real life... Terrorists decide to hit one of America's largest malls on "Black Friday".Of course things aren't that simple...no, no, there's more to it than a simple terrorist attack. And of course in the best tradition of John McClane, Ray Cruz has agreed to go shopping with his finance and "happens to be" in the mall when things go down.Let the fireworks begin.This is a good book with action like a flash bang grenade in a fireworks factory, not to mention a twisty/twisted villain, incompetent officials, bureaucratic plotting and a** covering, a kick butt female sidekick...what more could you want. Good book and a nice recovery from the last book which I didn't like as much as I have some others. Recommended.***Note on Stephen Hunter's books.***I have reviewed several of his books and have liked some more than others. I have a concern and I'd like to put this out for what it's worth. The books are sort of a mixed bag. There are two that I rated 3 stars but one I rated 5 and put on my favorites list. That one is I, Sniper which is book #6 in the Bob Lee Swagger series. It occurs to me that if someone is less than thrilled with one of the books in the series before #6 they might never move on to that novel.Let me suggest that even if you have been less than thrilled with one of the other books and have pulled away from the series, you give I, Sniper a try. With lots of action, a good cast and some great humor I think it's (so far) the best...though the jury is still out on Time To Hunt #3 as I skipped it and am about halfway through...so far it's excellent.

  • Cheryl
    2018-11-07 10:58

    Ray Cruz was a Marine. He is trying to adjust to cilivan life. It is Christmas time. Ray and his friend, Molly are shopping. So are tons of other people on this day. People ae in a jolly mood and children are having fun sitting n Santa's lap, telling him their wish list. Suddenly, a shot is fired. Santa's brains go splattering. Soon people start to realize what has happened and panic arupts. People go screaming. More shots are fired. Terrorists come out from every direction. They gather people up as hostages. Ray, Molly and several others are hiding in a store on one of the upper levels. Ray knows that he must do something to try and stop the terrorists before the mall ends up a slaughter house. Soft Target is book one of the Ray Cruz novels. Ray was a stand out in this book. His military back ground helped him in this situation. He was cool under pressure. While, I did like Ray, it was not enough to sustain me into really liking this book. The opening scene of this book when the first shot was fired and panic ensued had my attention and I could feel the intensity levels get high. Although, they were short lived. The terrorists were alright. I kind of grew tried of all of the polictics that were brought into the story. There was a lot more dialogue than there was action. The ending I felt was a bit of a let down. There was suppose to be all this built up hype about why the terrorists invaded the amll and killed all these people and when the reveal was made and the master mind behind it all was uncovered, the big climax moment was over fairly quickly. This book is a quick read.

  • Kevin
    2018-10-22 11:17

    Man, this was a real let down. Let me first state that I am a huge Stephen Hunter fan. After reading my first Hunter book a couple of years ago I have devoured all he has written. I anxiously await when I new one comes out. I was on a waiting list to get this book from the library and was excited when it came in for me. Quickly I felt the disappointment in this story. Way too much going on, too many semi main characters, little side stories that didn't pan out worthwhile at the end and the uneventful tie in mention of Bob Lee Swagger and using Nikki Swagger in a helicopter the whole time for little purpose. My main issue was Hunter didn't really let our hero be a hero and mostly he was one of many semi heroes. I just do not get Ray Cruz like I have other characters of Hunter. Way more gung-ho dialogue and thought balloons and not as much substance. I'll give Stephen Hunter another chance on his next book based on his terrific body of work but to me to me, this was a the frantic mess.

  • Nick Brett
    2018-10-16 16:12

    I have enjoyed most of the author’s books to varying degrees, but this is without doubt the worst of his output.The flaws and problems are many, in what is basically Die Hard in a shopping mall and Ray Cruz being the man in the spotlight to stop an attack. There is very little that is ‘right’ with it, so let me focus on the downside: It’s short, about 250 pages so quite expensive for a slim volume, it has an observational style of narrative that is annoying, the dialogue is utterly woeful and there are considerable logic gaps in the rather bizarre plot I detected a slight sense of smugness in the writing which I have not noticed before, maybe this is a political nod to officials that say a lot and do a little but it didn’t really work and started to grate somewhat. It’s all a bit strange, as I really enjoyed the previous Ray Cruz story and bought this on the back of it.If this had been published as a fit of fun e-book for a couple of quid then it might have worked, but as a ‘proper’ published novel it most certainly doesn’t.

  • Mark
    2018-11-09 11:53

    I suddenly wanted mind candy, I suddenly got mind candy. In this terrorism, malcontent against the world thriller, former Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter creates a massive hostage incident at the Mall of America in Minnesota.One day, Somali gunmen emerge in the mall, start firing and killing shoppers and herd them toward the amusement park in the center. In the meantime, Ray Cruz (hereinafter, Our Hero), former Marine sniper, happens to be in the mall, and is of course destined to be a primary savior.Behind the assault is a local imam, but the real brains of the operation is a genius boy obsessed with shooter video games, who of course had figured out how to order weapons, enlist the imam, take over the mall's security and even attach tiny cameras to the muzzles of the semiautomatics wielded by the gunmen.Want stereotypes? Hunter has them all. Besides the simple minded (yet handsome) Somali gunmen, we have intrepid Our Hero, the fatuous p.r.-oriented Minnesota Police commander, a smooth talking African American named Obobo (really? could you be any more obvious?), his cynical p.r. sidekick, the staunch sniper on the roof (Our Hero No. 2), the African American woman from the streets who helps defeat the bad guys, the uber-ambitious TV newswoman, and on and on, all larded up with lots of technical weaponry language about bullets and clips and models of guns and speeds and trajectories. Did I keep turning the pages? Of course. Did the whole thing leave a slightly bad taste in my mouth as I realized I had just read a thriller crafted with a Fox News mentality? Ditto.So, I'll probably not return to Mr. Hunter again, and if this novel was meant to spoof the genre, well, it was lost on me.

  • Rick Fisher
    2018-11-09 14:19

    I am a huge fan of Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger novels. Bob Lee is the epitome of everyday man, of American man, of hero. This being said, he does not appear in "Soft Target". Bad news. His son Ray Cruz does though. Good news. (Also, his daughter has several cameo appearances as well.) With Ray appearing in his own novel, I wonder if Mr Hunter is prepared to retire Bob Lee. Fans, such as myself, can only hope not. I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the character of Ray, just not as well as his dad. There have been some reviews discussing the reality of what occurs inside the AtM. Like all good fiction, we are asked to believe our heros can do do remarkably heroic acts. Suspend reality, folks. Believe in the Swagger.There is, in my opinion, another hero in this novel. A heroine to be exact. One that Mr Hunter needs to do a stand alone novel with, as well. Lavelva. Amazing character from start to finish. Street smart, sass talking, straight up no playing around woman.The only drawback to this one. The ending (last page and a half) is so much political bullshit, it almost ruins the entire novel. I wont spoil it. Unfortunately, I honestly believe this is exactly the way our system works, yet fails at miserably. One big ass dog and pony show.

  • Jeffrey
    2018-10-22 14:03

    Taut short thriller. When terrorists take over the America Mall and hold 1000 hostages, what will the police and FBI do to stop the carnage.Ray Cruz, a former marine sniper, and his girlfriend are in the Mall shopping for gifts for Christmas when the action starts.The police are led by a bureaucrat more interested in spin then dealing with the terrorists, who seem to have only one demand before they free the hostages.Cruz goes on the hunt for terrorists in the Mall with the help of one of the snipers locked out of the plexiglass ceiling, who acts as a spotter, and another hero in the mall.Meanwhile, the leader of the terrorists has a particularly vicious agenda all his own.A short 256 pages, I still found myself skimming a little of the dialogue especially involving the bureaucrat and his inept handling of the debacle. Although the action scenes were well done (except involving a couple of deaths at the end of the book), I thought the overall setup of the book was better than the conclusion.I think you can do better.

  • Kristin
    2018-10-16 11:00

    While this is one book in a series involving ex-military sniper Cruz, it was the first I read, drawn to the plot of terrorists taking siege of the largest mall in the USA. Of the 3 books I read with this similar plot, I'd say it falls in between Ridley Pearson's 'Hidden Charges', by far the best, and Alex Kava's 'Black Friday'.Hunter definitely pulls readers in right away by having the shooters kill the in-mall Santa Claus on Black Friday in the book's very first line. From there, Hunter covers a mere 4 hours in 200+ pages but packs a lot into those 4 hours, from the continued bloodshed inside the mall, to the strategic operations planned by various law enforcement agencies outside, to the masterminds behind the takeover and their continued execution of their grand plan.Despite the author's note at the end of the book that he only loosely based the mall, called America, the Mall, in the book on the Mall of America actually located in Minnesota, I found the similarities to be many. America, the Mall is also located in Minnesota, has an amusement park in the center like MoA, and many of the stores are the same in both malls. The structure does differ, as Hunter calls AtM an exxagerated pentagon loosly based on a map of the United States, with the central skylights being in the shape of the 5 Great Lakes, the main corridors named for 4 of America's biggest rivers, and the shops in each wing of the mall representing the culture and lifestyle of the geographic region for which the wing is named. However, even when Hunter describes the shape of the mall early on, I could not draw it to look like a pentagon.Much of the early action occurs in the central amusement park but as the book progresses and the good guys begin to move in on the terrorists, the various structural elements begin to play a larger role. While Cruz does play a big role by the end of the book, it took a little while to get him in on the action, and he was already in the mall and therefore not involved in the planning outside. Likewise, I felt a lot of time was spent on the law enforcement teams on the outside and not so much on the hostages and shooters inside. For a book set in the largest mall in the country, the mall element didn't seem to play that big a role except as a space where there would be a lot of innocent, naive people gathered in a small space.I also detected a bit of satire in this book, as leader of the state police, a black man named Obobo, seemed to be a spoof of President Obama. Obobo was depicted to be a young guy being fast-tracked to a high government role despite not showing great moments of leadership, who was a smooth talker and looked good on camera, winning him over with the public. All of these have been things I've hear about Obama before and during his presidency. Plus, Obobo wants to talk down the terrorists instead of sending in the armed highly-trained personnel stationed outside the mall, perhaps a nod to President Bush's declaration of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and Obama's withdrawl of the troops. There were other moments that had me laughing, namely the scene involving potatoes, but that might just be me.Overall, I'm not sure I will necessarily read another of the books in this series unless the plot sounds appealing. The lead character of Cruz wasn't very strong, and military/government intelligence books aren't usually my thing, so since it was the mall setting that drew me in, the others might not hold my interest.

  • Ann Keller
    2018-11-12 12:58

    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.

  • Alain Burrese
    2018-10-26 12:53

    "Soft Target" by Stephen Hunter is a fun action yarn, that if you wanted to sum up in a few words, could be called, "Die Hard" in a mall. Something that Hunter himself, I believe, also thought, especially with the little tongue-in-cheek reference to the 1988 action movie starring Bruce Willis, that along with Lethal Weapon really set standards for action movies to follow.I'll admit, I enjoyed Hunter's previous books about Bob Lee Swagger more than this one, even though this book featured Swagger's son, that he didn't know about until the previous book, and a couple references in regards to the famous sniper of Hunter's previous thrillers. It is not that I don't like Swagger's son, Ray Cruz, I do. I just liked the Bob Lee stories a bit more. However, I still had a fun time reading "Soft Target," and recommend it to all of Hunter's fans, and anyone else interested in a "Die Hard" like adventure story.I also like that the tale focuses on snipers. Not just Ray Cruz, but there are parts about the other snipers that respond to the crisis. It's obvious that Hunter enjoys writing about these kinds of characters, just as I enjoy reading and writing about them too, so that made the book a bit more enjoyable for me than had the main character been a regular cop as in the movies this book resembles. So maybe I should have called it "'Die Hard' in a mall with a sniper."The story has a few holes, and a few places that are a bit too convenient, but that's okay. You are not reading this kind of action thriller for precise technical accuracy or information. It's the reason action movies are not featured on the History or Discover channel. They have different purposes, and the purpose of this novel is fast entertainment, and for that, it delivers.Even though the entire story takes place in a short amount of time, with a couple of flash backs, Hunter does a great job of keeping one's interest and describing the action. I like Hunter's writing, and even though the story had some predictability (Just like the "Die Hard" movies), and some things that were a bit formulaic and tidy to wrap things up (again, just like the movies), I had fun reading it, and that's what I read these kinds of thrillers for. It's escapism and enjoyment, just like the films on the silver screen. For that kind of light, enjoyable reading, Hunter's "Soft Target" hit the mark.

  • Scott Holstad
    2018-10-19 16:20

    If I wanted to read right wing politics, I'd pick up Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, etc., but not Stephen Hunter. Yet under the guise of a "thriller," we have Hunter's view of Obama and the left and it's not pretty. Int his tale of a Somali terrorist takeover of the Mall of America in Minnesota, where they kill people at random and have about 1,000 hostages, we have the beginnings of an interesting story. Until we get to Colonel Douglas Obobo. I'm not making that last name up. He's a charismatic black man, who has risen to the top of the Minnesota State Police without ever having fired a shot, through his charisma, seemingly, as the press love him, as do the people. He always seems to know the right things to say. However, the men in the field can barely contain their hatred of him. The SWAT commander wants to go in firing, and Obobo will have none of that, so he sends him off to write reports. The FBI man wants action, but Obobo will have none of it and sends him off for logistical support. Here's a passage from the book that describes Obobo's mindset at work:"Finally. He swaggered to the phone. This was his moment. His whole life he'd been able to synthesize arguments, turn them around instantly, and reiterate them in cajoling tones, until his opponent had agreed with him. It was his strength. He knew he could do it now, brilliant synopsizer, genius of empathy, purveyor of mega-earnestness. Colonel Obobo looked around, saw Renfro standing close by, giving him encouragement through sympathetic, even moist, eyes."That was when the terrorists were about to talk to him for the first time, but they wouldn't play ball and it left him completely unnerved. He's viewed as a dunderhead by his all knowing staff, and his decisions get others in trouble.Okay, enough! I realize not everyone out there likes Obama -- hell, I can barely tolerate him, even though I voted for him twice. I just think he's by far the lesser of two evils. But to rip the president like this under the guise of fiction, no of a thriller, is just too much to take and I gave up on page 178. I've read some Hunter before and enjoyed him in the past, so I *might* give him another chace, but if I see this crap again, he's gone, history, see ya. What an asshole. Not recommended, unless you're a right wing bigot.

  • Djj
    2018-10-16 09:17

    True Confessions: I love Stephen Hunter. While I'm a gun control advocate (and Canadian, big surprise), his books are basically modern Westerns, with good guys, bad guys and shootouts. I don't know why I like reading about this, but I do. He's a terrific thriller writer. His better novels are ver tightly written. And while not all are that good (the last few before this one have been quite so-so), Pale Horse Coming is perhaps one of the finest thrillers I've ever read: it's about retribution, good and evil. Reading it, you can hear Johnny Cash singing The Man Comes Around on the soundtrack. It's chilling. In a good way.It should be of no surprise, then, that Stephen Hunter is also a gun enthusiast, and likely a card carrying member of the NRA. His politics, however, rarely bleed directly over into his novels, other than in the use of guns to resolve conflict.But he makes up for lost time in this one. Honestly. Much of this book is offensive. There is a half-Kenyan police chief named Obobo who is written as a platitude spouting ineffective buffoon. I don't think I need to spell out the parallels to a certain half-Kenyan president.The plot, such as it is, is recycled Die Hard: during what appears to be a terrorist takeover of a thinly disguised Mall of America (called America, the Mall in the novel), one of Hunter's recurring characters gets trapped in the mall, and hunts the bad guys. Obobo, on the outside, makes every decision on dealing with the bad guys based solely on how it might affect his political image and career, while the guys with the guns save the day. I suppose that's a minor spoiler, but not really as, c'mon, whaddya think is going to happen in a novel like this? I expected it, but there was no need to so openly mock the current President.Anyhow, the whole thing is offensive from start to finish, though reasonably well written, and it's sad to see a fine genre novelist get on a small-minded high horse. I finished it, but felt unclean.

  • Paul Pessolano
    2018-11-05 09:09

    “Soft Target” by Stephen Hunter, published by Simon & Schuster.Category – Mystery/ThrillerIn Stephen Hunter’s last book we were introduced to Ray Cruz. Ray is an ex-Marine sniper who is the son of Bob Lee Swagger. Bob Lee is also an ex-Marine sniper and has appeared in most of Hunter’s other novels.At 3pm on Black Friday in America’s largest shopping mall, America, the Mall in suburban Minneapolis (not to be confused with The Mall of America) a potential massacre is about to take place.Ray and his girlfriend, who are shopping at the Mall, hear shots and shoppers being herded to the center of the Mall where a large amusement park is located. Ray and his girlfriend find refuge in a shop and see that over a thousand shoppers being held hostage by what looks like ten or more Muslim jihadists.The entire Mall is surrounded by law enforcement and military waiting for the demands for the release of the hostages. The demands seem simple enough, just the release of three minor terrorists.Ray, knowing he must do something, begins singlehandedly to take action. He finds help in a young day care center worker who becomes very instrumental in the attempt to overcome the terrorists.The situation takes a nasty turn when the demands are met but the agreement to release the hostages may not be honored. It is also very possible that the terrorist act may be something more sinister, and although still a terrorist act there may be an alternative reason for the attack.Great read for Stephen Hunter fans, military and ex-military personnel, and anyone who enjoys a lot of action and a plot within a plot. This book will definitely keep you turning the pages until the very end.

  • Alan
    2018-10-25 10:52

    Stephen Hunter's "Soft Target" is a major disappointment that reads like a novelization of a superficial action film that includes sideline commentary on the state of America's politicians and lawyers. These latter elements make the book more of a satire than the type of action thriller that we have come to expect from Hunter. Yes, I know that characters like Howard "Howdy Duty" Utey from the Swagger series were also meant to personify the bureaucratic mindset in opposition to action men such as Bob Lee Swagger and Nick Memphis, but Colonel Douglas Obobo is an embarrassing right wing-nut/Tea Party inspired projection of, you guessed it, Barack Obama, as self-seeking bureaucrat personified. The hero this time is Ray Cruz who first appeared in Hunter's last book "Dead Zero". Journalist Nikki Swagger makes a cameo appearance and the iconic Bob Lee Swagger only appears via a brief recorded phone message. The villains are a pretty lame cardboard bunch of Somali Islamists some of whom who were coerced into joining the fight and they are led by, get this, a first-person-shooter video game obsessed American turncoat looking to direct and immortalize his own apocalyptic shoot-out. It all goes down in a Mall of America inspired location. Either Hunter has lost interest in writing the sort of thriller fiction that made for a solid core of fans from 1993's "Point of Impact" onwards or, like Tom Clancy, he has stopped writing his own books. I can't imagine that any long-term fans will find much to enjoy in this latest outing.

  • Nannie Bittinger
    2018-11-01 15:10

    Soft Target is definitely an exciting book. Set in a fictionalized Mall of America on Black Friday, the timing and location was perfect since my copy of the book which I won through Goodreads arrived in the mail on Black Friday and I live in Minnesota. Interesting characters and fast action. I'm not sure why the author chose to change the name of the mall after locating it in the Minneapolis metro area (like there is more than one???) but his description of the fictional 'America the Mall' was very creative. I would think the developers of MOA would wish they'd come up with that design idea. My only complaint: Minnesotans are 'melancholy'?--No we're not! We are Minnesota nice:)

  • Chuck
    2018-10-24 10:16

    While trying to finish the Stephen Hunter books this one happened to be next. Remarkably finishing it today was appropriate because the terrorist disasters in Paris and San Bernadino, California are fresh in our minds from the past several weeks. This book written four years ago evokes such a similar event that it is unreal. Without going into detail about the plot Hunter wrote this novel almost like these events had occured prior. In any case, a typical fast moving story combining a mixed cast of characters that include the intelligent, brave, stupid, fanatic, ordinary, political and every other genre of human characteristics all brought to life by the author.

  • Monnie
    2018-11-02 15:52

    Soft Target is the first book by Stephen Hunter I've read, and it certainly won't be the last -- definitely a fast-paced page-turner from the git-go! In part because the plot involves terrorists, I suppose, it reminded me of a cross between a Brad Thor novel (that's a good thing) without the political commentary and a "Die Hard" movie. Although it's tough for a non-computer gamer like me to believe what happens in the book could happen in the real world, Hunter makes it plausible enough to convince me it's possible - and for a novel, that, too, is a good thing!

  • Todd
    2018-11-07 14:55

    Another technothriller time killer.Not a bad premise, jihadis taking over the Mall of America in Minnesota.. but I think Hunter really shortchanged us readers. This story could have been so much more developed and he really blew the opportunity to develop some of the more interesting martyrs themselves, as well as our protaganist.It killed a night drinking pinot noir in front of a nice fire, so I give it an extra star for that.

  • Melissa Laird
    2018-10-16 14:01

    I won an advanced copy of this book for goodreads. This is the first book for Stephen Hunter that I have ever read it was pretty good and I really enjoyed Ray's charecter and I even liked Lavelva's charecter but I had a hard time with all the jumping around it did.

  • Cathy
    2018-11-13 12:04

    I could not put this book down! Scary because of the actual possibility of this happening. Pick it up, you'll get a very very good read.

  • Michael
    2018-10-23 17:02

    It was like fast food: strangely inviting, goes down fast, somewhat satisfying, not particularly good for you.

  • John Boyda
    2018-10-17 16:06

    Stephen Hunter is a pretty good author but I was not impressed with his stereotypical characters in this novel. He says that it is an allegorical tale - I think it's a bit far fetched. While I do agree that radicals have a great target of opportunity in attacking a shopping mall, I thought the premise of this book was weak.

  • William
    2018-10-27 13:10

    I've always enjoyed Hunter's work, and this was pretty much what I expected. Lots of action, a small twist in the end which isn't overly surprising, and some macho marine talk that somehow feels a bit contrived and just a touch too much. Still, the novel reads quickly, and is good for some intense moments and shocking turns.

  • Phil
    2018-10-27 13:03

    Not one his best but then again it's Stephen Hunter. A surreal story about terrorists taking over the largest mall in America with killings, politics, it was kind of messy but with Bobby Lee Swaggers son, it at least kept one reading until the end.

  • Lee
    2018-10-19 13:59

    Bob Lee Swagger's illegitimate son is also a master sniper, and master snipes TF out of mallbound bad guys. Family businesses falter as the generations pass, and this franchise was a lot better earlier on.

  • Christopher Yard
    2018-11-03 12:03

    I love Stephen Hunter's books, but this one was just unreadable

  • Alex Gherzo
    2018-11-07 11:04

    Not one of Stephen Hunter's best, but a great, entertaining adventure nonetheless. A massive mall in middle America is taken hostage on Black Friday. As the authorities argue over how to deal with the crisis, former Marine Corps sniper Ray Cruz navigates the halls of the shopping center trying to take out the terrorists before they massacre a thousand frightened shoppers. Basically, it's the standard Die Hard scenario. It's been done many times and will be done many more. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so much. This is a good one. Spoilers...Bob Lee Swagger sits this Hunter novel out (though he's mentioned several times, and we even get to hear his outgoing voicemail message), but his long-lost son is subbing in for him and he does a pretty good job. Ray Cruz is very much the stalwart, always-do-the-right-thing hero, maybe even moreso than his dad and grandpappy before him (when he gets the bad guy at the end, Ray does everything he can to save the bastard's life even after all the death he's caused; I think Bob Lee or Earl would've just let him die). Soft Target doesn't really do much to develop his character, which is mostly why I don't think it's as good as the best of Hunter's books (especially the Swagger series), but as a straightforward action story it's fun and Ray is a hero you don't mind following, even if you don't grow to love him quite as much as Bob Lee or Earl. Bob's daughter Nikki also shows up in a supporting role, and proves pivotal to the finale (I liked that they each took care of one of the main bad guys; Bob Lee may not be around but his kids will clean up in his absence). Nick Memphis is also around, still the FBI Deputy Director. It's not quite a standalone, but it's a cool spinoff of the main series. Ray also gets some cool sidekicks in an FBI sniper on the roof who becomes his spotter and a daycare worker in the mall desperately trying to protect the children in her care. Everyone is well-drawn and serve the story well. Hunter tends to write good villains, and we get a pair of ripped-from-the-headlines psychos this time. The less interesting one (though I still liked him) is Nadifa Aba, a Somalian imam who wants to strike a large blow at the West for killing Osama Bin Laden and relishes the thought of an attack with mass casualties like the assault on the mall. But the real rock star, the one who actually masterminds everything, is Andrew Nicks, a bored rich kid who wants to make a name for himself through the blood of the innocent. To do so, he has the imam recruit a bunch of terrorist henchmen through his contacts in Somalia and organizes the mall takeover in order to have the incident turned into a video game, immortalizing himself as a real-life supervillain. In these two bad guys, Hunter has the two greatest physical threats to American lives joining forces: Islamic terrorism and young, psychotic mass murderers. Aba is under FBI surveilance and Andrew has been to see psychiatrists for years, but both evildoers end up slipping through the cracks and hurting lots of innocent people. I liked the relationship between the two; while they're both operating under different ideologies, they see a kindred spirit in each other and come to respect and even like each other (the imam goes so far as to say he loves Andrew -- platonically, of course, as he thinks homosexuals should all be killed). And Andrew, despite the evil in his heart, is actually kinda funny. It's disconcerting when you come to almost like someone like that, and a testament to an author's skill to pull you into his world and his characters. But it's still fun to see him get paid back for his crimes. There's a big elephant in the room in terms of real-world allegory in this book, and it takes the form of Doug Obobo, the man managing the hostage crisis from the outside. Obobo is a very clear avatar for Barack Obama, and Hunter makes his opinions about the man very clear. I like Obama and I disagree with Hunter's assessment of him, but I still found this aspect of the story very entertaining. It was clever how he reimagined Obama as a law enforcement figure as opposed to a politician (though he still has that element to him). And the way the book ends, it's possible we'll see more of Obobo in later books (maybe he'll cross paths with Bob Lee). When an author wears his politics on his sleeve it can become really annoying and preachy, and I can see people feeling that way about Soft Target, but I thought Hunter did it well.Soft Target is a quick, fun action thriller from a master of the genre. It's not one of Hunter's best (and certainly not a good starting-off point), but it's well worth a read for his fans.

  • Neil
    2018-11-02 17:02

    Thots so far - can't quite decide if the author is 'anti-right wing' or if he's just very good at writing about people who are. I do get tired of liberals being portrayed as 'the saviors of the world' when they tend to have their head in the sand when it comes to how 'the world really works' and how American conservatives are anathema and evil. It does get old.So a group of Muslim terrorists have taken over the Mall of America, I mean, America, the Mall. We'll see how this turns out. Thot it was a Bob Lee Swagger novel; turns out it's about his son, Ray Cruz.--------------------I'm done. It was okay. I enjoyed it, overall, I guess. It strongly reminded me of the movie 'gamer' with Gerard Butler. It was a short book, so that is probably a good thing. It was a relatively fast read. The gist is that a boy who has severe mental and emotional issues teams up with a local imam in Minneapolis with the intent to take some thousand-plus people hostage in the biggest mall in America the day after Thanksgiving [Black Friday]. The 'boy' is some kind of genius, but exceptionally 'anti-social' unless he needs something. He loves killing people as a gamer; he has moved on to attempting to film people being killed in 'real time' in 'real life.' His ultimate goal is to create some kind of online gaming system whereby people will be able to 'kill' 'real civilian hostages' based on the video footage he has recorded during the hostage taking. Meanwhile, Cruz and his fiancee are in the mall shopping for gifts when chaos breaks out. He begins waging his one-man war against the terrorists, except that he ends up having help from some snipers on the roof and a young angry black woman who refuses to back down to the terrorists [and saves Cruz's life]. There is the 'usual' turf-wars between the various government and law-enforcement agencies. The local officer in charge refuses to allow the FBI to take over because there is no confirmation of foreign terrorists at work in the Mall. He also despises the various 'shooters' under his command because he feels, he truly believes, he can talk his way out of anything. He learns to his chagrin that he cannot, but he still comes out of the whole fiasco smelling like roses and getting promoted for his inability to do anything except sound good on the television and the news. There is the head of the local SWAT team who puts his own plans in place in such a way he is not flagrantly disobeying his commander but still leaves his men in position to quickly respond to changes in the situation. Swagger's daughter is also in the novel - she is in one of the news helicopters flying overhead. The National Guard has been mobilized,but it will take some time for them to get there. Federal forces are also being flown in, but, again, it will take time for them to get there and get situated. Nick Memphis even appears in the book, so that was a nice touch.It was a crazy book. Considering the amount of havoc, pain, and suffering they caused, the two leaders of the terrorist cell and the terrorist cell itself get off relatively 'pain-free.' I am sure it discusses a scenario that haunts law enforcement officials to this day, and considering Omaha, NE, had a mass shooting at Westroads Mall about ten years or so ago, it is not too far-fetched [unfortunately]. In the case of the shooting at Westroads Mall, it was an angry teenager and not a Muslim, but still. It was also hard to stomach the do-nothing officer-in-charge being rewarded with a promotion despite his inability to successfully resolve the situation. The guy caves in to the terrorists and he is rewarded for his caving. Crazy!It was an okay book. Not sure if I would read it again, but it was okay. We shall see how many more books the author writes about Bob Lee Swagger's son; it would be a nice way for the series to be able to continue. Bob Lee Swagger is definitely not getting any younger in his books, and thankfully the author is not trying to write stories that take place inbetween each of the previous novels. That would make the stories and the timeline even more convoluted. None of the characters really stood out to me in this book, so take that as you will.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-15 15:09

    Truly enjoyable book. Lots of suspense, (don't like the killing), but plot is intricate, love the police commissioner being a total idiot (but keeps getting promoted -- who hasn't seen that in today's society -- it's not about worth anymore). Also, kids being so messed up and still are functioning in society and they further mess it up. At some point, all this will bite us and the world will be right. Not in my lifetime.......Black Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00 P.M. Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall--a giant Rubik's Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The other twelve have come to kill. Stephen Hunter's hyper-drive, eighth-gear new thriller, "Soft Target, "chronicles the day when the unthinkable happens: twelve gunmen open fire in the mall corridors, driving the pack before them. Those on the upper floors take cover or get out any way they can; but within a few minutes the gunmen have herded more than a thousand hostages into the amusement park. Ray Cruz, one of the heroes of Hunter's last bestseller, "Dead Zero," is in the mall with his fiancee and her family. The retired Marine sniper thought he was done with stalking and killing--but among the trapped thousands, he's the only one with a plan and the guts to confront the self-proclaimed "Brigade Mumbai." Now all he needs is a gun. FBI Sniper Dave McElroy has a gun. But positioned on the roof of the vast building, looking down through one of its thickly paned Great Lakes-shaped skylights, and without explosives or fuses--or the go-ahead from his superiors--he is effectively cut off from his targets and forced into the role of witness to the horror unfolding below. Set during the four hours of the terrifying event, the story follows both hostages and gunmen, detailing the complex strategic police response, the full-press media saturation coverage, even the politics of SWAT as both the Minnesota State Police and the FBI struggle to control, confront, and ultimately defuse the crisis. Having learned the lessons of Columbine, the feds believe that immediate action is the only solution. But Douglas Obobo, the charismatic and ambitious commandant of the state police, orders cooperation, tolerance, communication, and empathy for the gunmen. He feels that with his superior negotiating skills, he can make contact with the shooters and gently nudge them into surrender. But what if their goal all along has been unparalleled massacre--and they're only waiting for prime time? With unrelenting suspense and vivid scenes of violence and chaos in the center of a terror-crazed afternoon in Middle America, thriller master Stephen Hunter takes us into the belly of the softest of soft targets.

  • Randy
    2018-10-28 12:52

    Black Friday America's largest shopping mall Suburban Minneapolis 3:00 P.M. Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall--a giant Rubik's Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The other twelve have come to kill. Stephen Hunter's hyper-drive, eighth-gear new thriller, "Soft Target, "chronicles the day when the unthinkable happens: twelve gunmen open fire in the mall corridors, driving the pack before them. Those on the upper floors take cover or get out any way they can; but within a few minutes the gunmen have herded more than a thousand hostages into the amusement park. Ray Cruz, one of the heroes of Hunter's last bestseller, "Dead Zero," is in the mall with his fiancee and her family. The retired Marine sniper thought he was done with stalking and killing--but among the trapped thousands, he's the only one with a plan and the guts to confront the self-proclaimed "Brigade Mumbai." Now all he needs is a gun. FBI Sniper Dave McElroy has a gun. But positioned on the roof of the vast building, looking down through one of its thickly paned Great Lakes-shaped skylights, and without explosives or fuses--or the go-ahead from his superiors--he is effectively cut off from his targets and forced into the role of witness to the horror unfolding below. Set during the four hours of the terrifying event, the story follows both hostages and gunmen, detailing the complex strategic police response, the full-press media saturation coverage, even the politics of SWAT as both the Minnesota State Police and the FBI struggle to control, confront, and ultimately defuse the crisis. Having learned the lessons of Columbine, the feds believe that immediate action is the only solution. But Douglas Obobo, the charismatic and ambitious commandant of the state police, orders cooperation, tolerance, communication, and empathy for the gunmen. He feels that with his superior negotiating skills, he can make contact with the shooters and gently nudge them into surrender. But what if their goal all along has been unparalleled massacre--and they're only waiting for prime time? With unrelenting suspense and vivid scenes of violence and chaos in the center of a terror-crazed afternoon in Middle America, thriller master Stephen Hunter takes us into the belly of the softest of soft targets.