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The Year is 1951. A smooth-talking Chicago lawyer has come to chat with Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor, about a dangerous unknown - a prison for violent black convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, a place of many questions but no answers. Would Sam, a white man and a Southerner, be willing to investigate? When Sam vanishes in the mists and swamps, his old friend Earl Swagger The Year is 1951. A smooth-talking Chicago lawyer has come to chat with Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor, about a dangerous unknown - a prison for violent black convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, a place of many questions but no answers. Would Sam, a white man and a Southerner, be willing to investigate? When Sam vanishes in the mists and swamps, his old friend Earl Swagger packs his gun and heads to Thebes where he discovers sinister secrets that go far beyond the prison walls. The whole town guards itself from nosy strangers with a private army of brutal, gun-toting, Klan-type thugs and rednecks. After barely escaping, Earl vows to right things and reclaim Thebes from the throes of a sinister conspiracy. But first, he enlists just a little help from his friends. Featuring the same fast-paced action and page-turning thrills that made Hot Springs a heart-stopping bestseller, Pale Horse Coming is a triumphant successor.


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The Year is 1951. A smooth-talking Chicago lawyer has come to chat with Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor, about a dangerous unknown - a prison for violent black convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, a place of many questions but no answers. Would Sam, a white man and a Southerner, be willing to investigate? When Sam vanishes in the mists and swamps, his old friend Earl Swagger The Year is 1951. A smooth-talking Chicago lawyer has come to chat with Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor, about a dangerous unknown - a prison for violent black convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, a place of many questions but no answers. Would Sam, a white man and a Southerner, be willing to investigate? When Sam vanishes in the mists and swamps, his old friend Earl Swagger packs his gun and heads to Thebes where he discovers sinister secrets that go far beyond the prison walls. The whole town guards itself from nosy strangers with a private army of brutal, gun-toting, Klan-type thugs and rednecks. After barely escaping, Earl vows to right things and reclaim Thebes from the throes of a sinister conspiracy. But first, he enlists just a little help from his friends. Featuring the same fast-paced action and page-turning thrills that made Hot Springs a heart-stopping bestseller, Pale Horse Coming is a triumphant successor.

30 review for Pale Horse Coming

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    I did just read this, but I may have to concede to this novel the title of My Favorite Stephen Hunter Novel©. Earl’s good buddy Sam Vincent (the lawyer we met in the earlier Black Light...or was it Point of Impact?) has disappeared at the super-mysterious, super-ominous Thebes State Penal Farm (Colored) while on a mission to find a disappeared person for a client. Because Earl is a good friend of Sam’s and just an extremely goodhearted yet utterly badass type of dude he decides to go up to Thebe I did just read this, but I may have to concede to this novel the title of My Favorite Stephen Hunter Novel©. Earl’s good buddy Sam Vincent (the lawyer we met in the earlier Black Light...or was it Point of Impact?) has disappeared at the super-mysterious, super-ominous Thebes State Penal Farm (Colored) while on a mission to find a disappeared person for a client. Because Earl is a good friend of Sam’s and just an extremely goodhearted yet utterly badass type of dude he decides to go up to Thebes (inaccessible only by boat or a hellacious trek through swamp) and find out what happened to Sam and what the hell exactly is going on up there. Well there’s a lot of mysteries to Thebes that I would never dream of spoiling but I can comfortably state that it’s a really terrible fucking place, basically a concentration work camp solely for black inmates run by an institution that is like the hick Third Reich all over again. Life is extremely cheap at Thebes and always ends unpleasantly. For chrissakes, the staff goes solely by monikers like the Warden, Bigboy or Section Boss. I could go on and on about what an intense, dark and powerful setting for a thriller Thebes is but you get the point. It’s just the perfect hellhole to put a dude with an unerring moral compass and seemingly god-given gift for violence like Earl Swagger in. There’s generations of wrongs to be put right and you know they will be and through unwaveringly violent means. That’s where the novel, fun bit of this book comes in. It’s a straight up “Limited But Specific Number of Hard Dudes” type scenario. See Seven Samurai, its western counterpart The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, etc. (That reminds me...you guys see The Hateful Eight? So awesome.) You got your slow-burn recruitment of the assorted skill sets and personalities, the pre-battle speeches, all of that good stuff. It of course goes without saying that because this is a Stephen Hunter novel it all builds up to a super-slick climax with the usual big ending shootout replaced with like three or four, which was awesome. Yeah...this is pretty much dude fiction, but written with verve and style and intensity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Allen

    "Pale Horse Coming" is Stephen Hunter's finest hour. While he is an excellent author who never fails to entertain, most of his other work pales in comparison to this masterpiece which is essentially a retelling of "The Magnificent Seven" filtered through Hunter's mega-macho and gun-centric writing techniques. In a Stephen Hunter novel, justice almost always comes from the barrel of the gun; in this case, it comes from the barrels of multiple guns as Earl Swagger rounds up a bunch of fellow bulle "Pale Horse Coming" is Stephen Hunter's finest hour. While he is an excellent author who never fails to entertain, most of his other work pales in comparison to this masterpiece which is essentially a retelling of "The Magnificent Seven" filtered through Hunter's mega-macho and gun-centric writing techniques. In a Stephen Hunter novel, justice almost always comes from the barrel of the gun; in this case, it comes from the barrels of multiple guns as Earl Swagger rounds up a bunch of fellow bullet-blasting bad-asses and sets out to destroy a cesspool of evil and the vicious monsters who rule it. Some have accused Hunter of only writing fantasies for "gun nuts," guys who cream their shorts at the thought of engaging in two-fisted firefights with the scumsucking villains & vermain of the world. And those who make such allegations don't miss the bulls-eye by much...but so what? Novels--at least novels of this type--need be nothing more than escapism, and that's what "Pale Horse Coming" offers in bucketfuls. For action-thriller fans who like it bigger than life, over-the-top, and bloody as hell--and yet remarkably well-written--it does not get much better than this. Earl Swagger is a man's man, a soft-spoken southern boy with boulder-size balls who prefers to let his guns talk more than his mouth and who insists on doing the right thing every time, consequences be damned. The world would probably be a better place if there were more folks like Earl Swagger living in it, but one thing is for sure, the literary world is definitely a better place because Stephen Hunter is living in it and you need look no further than "Pale Horse Coming" for proof.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Checkman

    As the Swagger novels have gone on the quality has declined. Which is a fairly common thing with all long running series. Be it novels, television, movies etc. "Pale Horse Coming" isn't one of Hunter's better novels, but there are aspects that I liked. As others have pointed out this is "Cool Hand Luke" meets the "Magnificent Seven" with a little bit of William Faulkner thrown in for good measure. The book is written in the style of the tough crime fiction of the 1950's. If you doubt it find your As the Swagger novels have gone on the quality has declined. Which is a fairly common thing with all long running series. Be it novels, television, movies etc. "Pale Horse Coming" isn't one of Hunter's better novels, but there are aspects that I liked. As others have pointed out this is "Cool Hand Luke" meets the "Magnificent Seven" with a little bit of William Faulkner thrown in for good measure. The book is written in the style of the tough crime fiction of the 1950's. If you doubt it find yourself some old back issues of "True" and "Argosy" magazines and read the short stories. Hunter is very faithful in that respect and I suspect this is what turns off some folks. The old pulp fiction of the time was heavy on the testosterone and the refined tastes of many readers in 2013 don't like it. So you have been warned. The dialogue is a bit overblown as are some of the characters. There are times when the writing approaches the level of parody, but the subject matter is serious and treated as such - which keeps it from stepping off the edge. Hunter is a gun enthusiast. A lifelong gun enthusiast. The gunmen that Earl gathers for his return to Thebes are thinly disguised versions of Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan, Ed McGivern, Charles Askins, Jack O'Connor and Audie Murphy. For many readers the only name that will probably be recognizable is that of Audie Murphy. However for those who are firmly embedded in the American Gun Culture and particularly those who have an interest in the bygone days of American shooters (such as me) those other men are famous. Legendary would probably not be too strong of a word actually. I have no doubt that Stephen Hunter grew up reading the many books and articles that were written by those men and I have no doubt they influenced him. In "Pale Horse Coming" Hunter takes his boyhood heroes and has them join his creation in a grand, righteous adventure. Being a collector of classic firearms as well as a collector of the old gun periodicals I enjoyed this aspect of the novel. Actually I greatly enjoyed this part of the story. So there you go. A violent,fun,Gothic, macho noir, adventure/action novel with a little history thrown in. William Faulkner meets Mickey Spillane and Louis L'Amour at a luncheon sponsored by the National Rifle Association with an after dinner speech by the NAACP. It's isn't great literature, but it will keep you interested.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    Mythic and elegant and poetical in language, though deadly earnest in its violence and means of dealing with violence, this book just touched me on all kinds of levels more than just the "thriller". It seamlessly blends the myths of the Deep Dark South with that of the cowboy and fast shooters of the West, and I loved how, underlying it all was the root-stock of Oedipus' third play -- Seven Against Thebes, the same stock that upheld "The Magnificent Seven" and "Seven Samurai". It's odd to read th Mythic and elegant and poetical in language, though deadly earnest in its violence and means of dealing with violence, this book just touched me on all kinds of levels more than just the "thriller". It seamlessly blends the myths of the Deep Dark South with that of the cowboy and fast shooters of the West, and I loved how, underlying it all was the root-stock of Oedipus' third play -- Seven Against Thebes, the same stock that upheld "The Magnificent Seven" and "Seven Samurai". It's odd to read this before Black Light and find the younger Sam Vincent and Earl so much more in this book than they are when portrayed later on in life: more epic, but also more human, more afraid and courageous for it than in the oddly cleaner "Black Light". Here everything is far more visceral and gut-wrenching, especially in the first half of the book. I had a much harder time reading the first half than I did the second. The moral choices Earl and Sam make are telling, and extremely hard ones, especially given the situations they go through, and I couldn't help but cheer Earl on. I do give a lot of four stars, but not many fives. This one deserves it for the characters, the utter insanity of the situation, and later on in the utmost and loving detail of the weapons, ammunition, and gun choices of the characters involved in the second half. I love it when you can tell what a character is made of by their choices, and the choices the men make, all of their own initiative, are all telling.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Vernon

    This has got to be one of my favorite Stephen Hunter books as well as one of my favorite reads. I am a sucker for the old "Magnificent Seven" set-up - which Stephen Hunter uses in this novel with amazing ease. Definitely will raise your testosterone level after a single reading. You will begin to smell funny and thump on your chest at unexpected moments. I recommend this for anyone who wants to read a good old-fashioned no-nonsense shoot-em-up. There is enough in here to please a fan of action, This has got to be one of my favorite Stephen Hunter books as well as one of my favorite reads. I am a sucker for the old "Magnificent Seven" set-up - which Stephen Hunter uses in this novel with amazing ease. Definitely will raise your testosterone level after a single reading. You will begin to smell funny and thump on your chest at unexpected moments. I recommend this for anyone who wants to read a good old-fashioned no-nonsense shoot-em-up. There is enough in here to please a fan of action, war, western and all around tough guy fiction. I recommend it highly.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

    I would describe this book as the movies Missing in Action, The Pelican Brief and the Magnificent Seven all rolled into one fantastic story. I picked this book up at a thrift store because it looked interesting. I was greatly surprised. This is a terrific book, with well developed characters. I really liked the fact that Hunter used biographies of real life, well-known gunmen of the 20th century. He changed the last names Elmer Kieth aka: Elmer McKay, Jack O'Conner aka: Jack O'Brien and Audie Mu I would describe this book as the movies Missing in Action, The Pelican Brief and the Magnificent Seven all rolled into one fantastic story. I picked this book up at a thrift store because it looked interesting. I was greatly surprised. This is a terrific book, with well developed characters. I really liked the fact that Hunter used biographies of real life, well-known gunmen of the 20th century. He changed the last names Elmer Kieth aka: Elmer McKay, Jack O'Conner aka: Jack O'Brien and Audie Murphy aka: Audie Ryan. What a great twist. I actually knew Elmer Keith when I was a young lad. He is from my home town of Salmon, Idaho. Jack O'Conner also lived in Northern Idaho.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    This is a very violent book. Part of the violence is to right an injustice where, in the Mississippi of 1951, there is a horrible prison for black men called Thebes State Penal Farm, located in the swamps, almost impossible to reach, except by water. A lawyer friend of Earl Swagger goes there to get some information for a client, and Earl bails him out of trouble, but then can't forget the awful conditions, and rounds up six more gunfighters to go back to Thebes, set the prisoners free, and tear This is a very violent book. Part of the violence is to right an injustice where, in the Mississippi of 1951, there is a horrible prison for black men called Thebes State Penal Farm, located in the swamps, almost impossible to reach, except by water. A lawyer friend of Earl Swagger goes there to get some information for a client, and Earl bails him out of trouble, but then can't forget the awful conditions, and rounds up six more gunfighters to go back to Thebes, set the prisoners free, and tear it down. Two strong enemies are Section Boss, and Bigman, an albino of incredible strength.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Al Datum

    I'm on the fence a bit when it comes to Stephen Hunter. On the one hand, I enjoy his writing style and his characters. On the other, his books are never quite what I expect they'll be. From the description of this particular book (main character investigates notorious prison, gets capture, escapes and comes back with a private army to exact his vengeance), I thought the story would read much more like the end of First Blood with John Rambo destroying the town single-handedly. But that's not what I'm on the fence a bit when it comes to Stephen Hunter. On the one hand, I enjoy his writing style and his characters. On the other, his books are never quite what I expect they'll be. From the description of this particular book (main character investigates notorious prison, gets capture, escapes and comes back with a private army to exact his vengeance), I thought the story would read much more like the end of First Blood with John Rambo destroying the town single-handedly. But that's not what you get. Yes, Earl Swagger is captured and put through hell by those who run that corrupt prison. And yes, he does escape...so far so good. He even assembles his army. But that's where I was a bit surprised. I expected young guys (maybe his ex-Marine buddies in a military invasion like they must have experienced during their time in WW2) and military tactics. Instead, what I got was really old guys who just wanted to go in and kill the bad guys because...well, they always wanted to kill people and here was finally their chance. One of the members of Earl's army is so infirm that he has to sit in a chair the whole time. What I wanted was a group of soldiers going in to wipe out the bad guys. What I got was a bunch of really old guys (who knew they were going in to commit murder and were okay with that) who happened to be excellent shots and just wanted one more chance to prove it by killing people. Instead of a book with a visceral and cathartic ending where the cavalry came over the hill to save those unjustly imprisoned in Thebes, I was left with a somewhat uncomfortable feeling as a bunch of old guys (who had always secretly wanted to kill someone, but had had the chance recently) went in to commit murder. For me, it didn't feel like a revenge story. And that made it less enjoyable. Is Hunter a good author? Absolutely. Will I read more of his books? Almost certainly. Was this one a good book? Yes. But was it something different than what you expected, given the description on the book's jacket? Unfortunately it was.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Soooooo homoerotic. Soooo melodramatic. There are a lot of problems with Earl Swagger. He's supposed to be a "John Wayne type" (not my description, characters in the books actually tell him that to his face -- over and over!) But there are so many ways in which the tough Arkansas lawman never rings true. How come he's a Southerner who refuses to endorse Civil Rights for blacks, but yet he's always somehow punishing racist whites? It's like he'll do anything for blacks but admit that things have t Soooooo homoerotic. Soooo melodramatic. There are a lot of problems with Earl Swagger. He's supposed to be a "John Wayne type" (not my description, characters in the books actually tell him that to his face -- over and over!) But there are so many ways in which the tough Arkansas lawman never rings true. How come he's a Southerner who refuses to endorse Civil Rights for blacks, but yet he's always somehow punishing racist whites? It's like he'll do anything for blacks but admit that things have to change. How come he's got a wife June whom he "loves" but there's never any sign of affection or physical passion or even basic friendship between them? He keeps calling her "ma'am" and instead of being gracious it sounds faintly creepy, like he's desperate to keep her at arms length. Well. Having said all that, other Swagger books are better than this one. HAVANA and HOT SPRINGS are both good because Earl has a specific mission and the gun battles are believable within the place and time. The problem with PALE HORSE COMING is that Earl Swagger is being elevated to demi-god status. I mean, overturning an entire prison and bringing thousands of black prisoners back from the dead? And again you sense the born racist trying desperately to make his hero politically correct. Oh, and check out the vicious albino guard Earl has to beat up over and over -- to prove he's not judging people in ways that are all about skin color. I think. After a certain point the whole thing just becomes comical.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Dalton

    As much as I love stories about Bob Lee Swagger, I gotta admit, his father kicks even better ass and he is old school. A great series and I think this one is my favorite of all the Earl books. I love the time period and the characters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leon Aldrich

    James Lee Burke is by far my #1 author, ever. But damn if Stephen Hunter might give him a run for the money.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Disappointing follow up to Hot Springs. I can suspend disbelief once or twice at the start of a story but this just keeps getting nuttier as it goes along. That could be okay if it is meant to be humorous, but this is extraordinarily dark and trying to be very serious about a slew of real problems.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    A fast, fun action thriller that is great on its own terms, but is a bit problematic on a larger scale. As is the norm with Hunter, the gun stuff is fantastic, and I don't just mean the action. Chapter 55, where the old men prepare for war, may be the best thing he ever wrote. And he's won a Pulitzer. The action is great and the story is well-told, but this is where the ground gets shaky. There are some serious Great White Savior vibes here, cruel white villains not withstanding. Then, there's Hun A fast, fun action thriller that is great on its own terms, but is a bit problematic on a larger scale. As is the norm with Hunter, the gun stuff is fantastic, and I don't just mean the action. Chapter 55, where the old men prepare for war, may be the best thing he ever wrote. And he's won a Pulitzer. The action is great and the story is well-told, but this is where the ground gets shaky. There are some serious Great White Savior vibes here, cruel white villains not withstanding. Then, there's Hunter's woman problem; he loves and respects women, but seems mostly unable to think of them as warriors themselves. He uses them as assets, certainly, and they save the men's bacon a fair few times, but they are support class all the way. It's not awful, but some may be displeased. I'm torn on what he does here, but he does it well. As usual, Hunter turns in a solid action-thriller. There may be thematic issues, but the mechanics are sound at the very least. Great stuff for fans.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Believable? Maybe. I found myself changing my mind about duty to country without question. You would like to think you could support anything your country does (as in the best interest of the country), but this makes you rethink that. The "mission" of the government meant that everything else was being overlooked. This book showed just what evil can come out when men are being protected from their acts. Believable? Maybe. I found myself changing my mind about duty to country without question. You would like to think you could support anything your country does (as in the best interest of the country), but this makes you rethink that. The "mission" of the government meant that everything else was being overlooked. This book showed just what evil can come out when men are being protected from their acts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    T.W. Barton

    This was the first one of the books about Bob Lee's father that I read. I had read most of the Bob Lee books and never really thought that the books about his father would be as good but I was wrong. This book is very good and has lost of action and the great story line that you expect from Stephan Hunter. I highly recommend it for any Bob Lee fans. This was the first one of the books about Bob Lee's father that I read. I had read most of the Bob Lee books and never really thought that the books about his father would be as good but I was wrong. This book is very good and has lost of action and the great story line that you expect from Stephan Hunter. I highly recommend it for any Bob Lee fans.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Earl Swagger is temporarily stuck in an illegal prison deep in the south. He manages to escape with the aid of an old black man he thought was the prison snitch, presumed drowned in the swamp, and promises to return and free all. He's the Pale Horse of the title. Earl Swagger is temporarily stuck in an illegal prison deep in the south. He manages to escape with the aid of an old black man he thought was the prison snitch, presumed drowned in the swamp, and promises to return and free all. He's the Pale Horse of the title.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Very graphic, but an action packed page turner. Not my typical book, but so happy I read it! If anyone has seen Shooter with Mark Wahlberg, this is by the same author/series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marshawc

    intensely violent...at times, offensive....but difficult to put down, and even harder to forget.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Very excellent contiunation of the Earl Swagger saga. We get to learn a lot more about Sam here as well. Earl is still one of the Baddest Asses around.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Just fabulous! 10 of 10 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Harrell

    Excellent book!! Best Stephen hunter book I've read yet Excellent book!! Best Stephen hunter book I've read yet

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    The first book I read by Stephen Hunter was extremely good, a lot of suspense, I could not put it down. So I had equally high expectations for this one. It is an almost classic tale of vengeance. Our hero Earl Swagger goes down south to a penal farm, to find a friend that has disappeared while investigating the whereabouts of a client. He barely gets away with his life and sanity intact and swears to come back to give them hell. He gathers some tough and trigger happy gunmen around him and they The first book I read by Stephen Hunter was extremely good, a lot of suspense, I could not put it down. So I had equally high expectations for this one. It is an almost classic tale of vengeance. Our hero Earl Swagger goes down south to a penal farm, to find a friend that has disappeared while investigating the whereabouts of a client. He barely gets away with his life and sanity intact and swears to come back to give them hell. He gathers some tough and trigger happy gunmen around him and they go back. So far so good. I really liked the first half of the book, up to the point when he escapes from the penal farm. But then it gets pretty weird. The gun fighters are just too over the top and I think he tries too hard to make them all these unusual characters. But what puts me off the most is probably the style the book is written in. It is set in the 1950s and written like that. Fair enough, he tries to create the correct athmosphere. I just don’t like it, it keeps me dropping out of the story because it feels so unrealistic to me. So basically a good book, but just a bit too weird to be really great.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Loretta Gibson

    Hunter has created a very believable crusader in Earl Swagger. Sam Vincent, Earl's mentor, has been retained by an attorney to find an heir, who is a black man. The search takes Sam to a prison for blacks deep in the Mississippi swamp. Remember this is Mississippi 1951. As one might expect, Sam doesn't return. So off Earl goes to the rescue. Earl would have had Sam safe at home in no time, but due to Sam ridicules request that Earl kills no one, things go to hell in a hand basket. You have an arm Hunter has created a very believable crusader in Earl Swagger. Sam Vincent, Earl's mentor, has been retained by an attorney to find an heir, who is a black man. The search takes Sam to a prison for blacks deep in the Mississippi swamp. Remember this is Mississippi 1951. As one might expect, Sam doesn't return. So off Earl goes to the rescue. Earl would have had Sam safe at home in no time, but due to Sam ridicules request that Earl kills no one, things go to hell in a hand basket. You have an army of men who would kill you in a heartbeat, sic the dogs on you and laugh while they tear you to pieces. Not kill anyone....what planet is Sam from. This is only the beginning, things just get better. The part I don't like is once again Earl leaves his family...them not knowing if he will ever make it back. The sad part is it gets to the point that he may not make it back, sometimes he doesn't care. This is not fair to Junie or Bob Lee. His family plays second fiddle to the call of the wild that Earl hears and just can't say no to.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim Thomas

    3 1/2 stars. Lots of action. Hunter's take on The Magnificent Seven with a Tuskegee experiment type prison deal blended in along with tons of gunplay 3 1/2 stars. Lots of action. Hunter's take on The Magnificent Seven with a Tuskegee experiment type prison deal blended in along with tons of gunplay

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This was the second Stephen Hunter book I've read (fantastic Dirty White Boys), but it won't be the last. Though the book was 500-plus pages, I blew through it in about four days. Couldn't put it down. I agree with another reviewer about 100 pages or so that were unnecessary (boring dialogue, lengthy descriptions, etc.). Still, it was a fun read about a black penal colony stuck in the Mississippi swamp. Our hero Earl Swagger finds himself on a righteous mission and enlists a motley group of guns This was the second Stephen Hunter book I've read (fantastic Dirty White Boys), but it won't be the last. Though the book was 500-plus pages, I blew through it in about four days. Couldn't put it down. I agree with another reviewer about 100 pages or so that were unnecessary (boring dialogue, lengthy descriptions, etc.). Still, it was a fun read about a black penal colony stuck in the Mississippi swamp. Our hero Earl Swagger finds himself on a righteous mission and enlists a motley group of gunslingers to help him in his quest to right a grievous wrong. I especially enjoyed learning about this possibly very real and savage penitentiary. My least favorite thing about this book was the often clichéd dialogue, which didn't always ring true. Still, it's a book for anyone who likes a rollicking, fun adventure, replete with lots of violence and gore.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This is the April Madison Mystery, Ink bookclub choice. Overall, I got into the book. Since body count is one of the topics discussed in the bookclub, I will have to say that there is a pretty high body count in this book (at least compared with all the other books I've read so far for this bookclub). For me, I got lost in all of the gun descriptions - I'm not a gun expert by any means so I know that I didn't understand the pokes and jabs made by the different people concerning the different gun This is the April Madison Mystery, Ink bookclub choice. Overall, I got into the book. Since body count is one of the topics discussed in the bookclub, I will have to say that there is a pretty high body count in this book (at least compared with all the other books I've read so far for this bookclub). For me, I got lost in all of the gun descriptions - I'm not a gun expert by any means so I know that I didn't understand the pokes and jabs made by the different people concerning the different gun makers. I did like the sense of justice, even though illegal, in the book. As for the characters, some were very memorable - and I hope that there really isn't a Bigboy out there in the real world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I'm not a gun enthusiast. I didn't know the history of the guns or the gunslingers. I suspected it was similar to some movies I'd seen on TV years ago, but so what, all stories borrow from somewhere. I like it in a story when men are hard and hard hitting and that they like seeing strength in the women around them as well. I like it when injustice is rooted out and the underdogs are vanguished. I like it when there's lots of violence that's done in the work of justice. I like it when that's all w I'm not a gun enthusiast. I didn't know the history of the guns or the gunslingers. I suspected it was similar to some movies I'd seen on TV years ago, but so what, all stories borrow from somewhere. I like it in a story when men are hard and hard hitting and that they like seeing strength in the women around them as well. I like it when injustice is rooted out and the underdogs are vanguished. I like it when there's lots of violence that's done in the work of justice. I like it when that's all wrapped up in a good story, and that the words flow nicely together. It can, but it does not have to, surprise me. Pale Horse Coming met all those requirements and it was really satisfying to me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    It's ok. This would probably appeal more to male readers. I lack the testosterone that's needed to fully appreciate it. AND.... Profanity doesn't bother me, but I do not like seeing GD in my books. If I had a dollar for every time Mr. Hunter inserted it in this story, I could pay off my student loan. It's ok. This would probably appeal more to male readers. I lack the testosterone that's needed to fully appreciate it. AND.... Profanity doesn't bother me, but I do not like seeing GD in my books. If I had a dollar for every time Mr. Hunter inserted it in this story, I could pay off my student loan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    For many a man speaks powerfully when full of wrath, and makes great promises of what will come. Yes, and just as many a man forgets his pledge in the light of day after a woman's soft caress or the numbing blur and comfort of whiskey, or the purr of a satisfied child cuddling with his daddy, and the warmth of a blazing hearth. For many a man speaks powerfully when full of wrath, and makes great promises of what will come. Yes, and just as many a man forgets his pledge in the light of day after a woman's soft caress or the numbing blur and comfort of whiskey, or the purr of a satisfied child cuddling with his daddy, and the warmth of a blazing hearth.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Earl Swagger's second thriller, set in Mississippi in the early 1950s. His lawyer friend Sam Vincent is sent to Thebes, Mississippi to investigate a possible problem at the black prison there, deep in the swamps and mostly inaccessible. He finds trouble and only escapes with his life with help from Earl, who is then caught and incarcerated. He manages to escape and vows to destroy Thebes. It's a fast-paced revenge thriller filled with endless details of guns and other weapons and unimaginable to Earl Swagger's second thriller, set in Mississippi in the early 1950s. His lawyer friend Sam Vincent is sent to Thebes, Mississippi to investigate a possible problem at the black prison there, deep in the swamps and mostly inaccessible. He finds trouble and only escapes with his life with help from Earl, who is then caught and incarcerated. He manages to escape and vows to destroy Thebes. It's a fast-paced revenge thriller filled with endless details of guns and other weapons and unimaginable torture. Earl, a medal-of-honor winning ex-Marine, recruits sharpshooter WWII vets to help him shut down Thebes, and while we know they're good guys, they're a little hot-headed for my taste; lots of issues in the story from the way the guards torture inmates to the camp's ultimate secret, sanctioned by the government; language is descriptive, especially of all things relating to guns and military strategy but of landscape as well with lots of jargon; dark, gritty, nightmare tone. It's a terrifying book filled with guns and action but it's the torture that nearly did me in. Not for every reader but a stylish thriller for fans of military action who can tolerate explicit violence.

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