Written by Dan Malone

In all my years of reading, I’ve never seen an author fall so far from grace as I have Stephen Hunter. Hunter wrote one of the best series of books in the original Bob Lee Swagger trilogy. He also had some additionally great books like the Earl Swagger Trilogy, Dirty White Boys and The Day Before Midnight.

All those books are amazing, and at the top of my “if I was stranded on a desert island” book list.

Since then, everything Hunter has put out has been very poor. Then there’s Soft Target, which is utter trash.

I’m not even being over-dramatic here – Soft Target is without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. It’s a shame because the premise is GREAT – it’s Black Friday, in Americas shopping mall. Terrorists take it over. What they didn’t count on was elite Marine sniper Ray Cruz being inside.

Amazing premise, right? Yet he managed to butcher it in so many ways. Here’s a quick bullet list that doesn’t even cover the gist of it:

  • An incredibly derivative and predictable plot.
  • Completely one-dimensional characters.
  • Horrendous political agenda, like the idiot police chief known as “Obobo”, whose sole purpose for being in the book was so Hunter could bash Barack Obama for 30 pages.
  • Random storylines created and then never mentioned again.
  • Insulting, offensive muslim characters.
  • Ray Cruz, gun expert, not noticing a CAMERA placed on an AK-74 even though he shows and describes the gun in detail to another character.

This is one of the worst books I ever read. I hope Stephen Hunter has an “accident” like Ol’ Sam Vincent, so we don’t have to read any more of his trash.

Order of Books » Blog » Book Review: Soft Target by Stephen Hunter (It SUCKED)
  • Robert

    While I understand your frustration, I think youre being unfair by merely comparing this book to Hunter’s previous master pieces. Ive been reading a wide variety of opinions ranging from yours to unreasonable praise. I feel the consensus opinion is that of my own, the book is worth reading if you take it by itself but if youre a die hard Hunter fan you may have issues with it. Hunter is appearing on my favorite radio show this weekend to give an interview about the book. You might want to listen in to see if he talks about any of your concerns. The website of the show, The Book Report (www.bookreportradio.com), has information about where to listen as it airs and an archive section where you can catch the show if you miss it this weekend.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Robert,

      I’ll be sure to check the radio show out. Thanks.

      In regard to this book – well, I didn’t go into it comparing it to Hunter’s previous books. If anything I went in with a low expectation, simply because I’ve been very disappointed by his last 4 books. At least in those books though, I could see what Hunter was trying to do. In this one I don’t know – I was just shaking my head at so much of it. Hunter is such an intelligent guy, and this really felt like the kind of novel some teenager would write over a weekend. Honestly I still can’t comprehend that the same person who wrote something as epic as The Day Before Midnight could write something like this.