G-Man by Stephen Hunter

G-Man

From bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter, the latest episode in his Swagger familiy saga replete with Hunter's wicked suspense, vivid gun fights, and historical truths. 1934 was a pivotal year in the ongoing battle between the FBI and America's most famous outlaws--it was a year of giant personalities and huge shoot-outs, and it marked the deaths o...

Title:G-Man
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399574603
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:464 pages

G-Man Reviews

  • Debbie Krenzer
    Apr 12, 2017

    A very interesting story whereby the author has invented a character that was secretly used by the Justice Department (FBI) who actually was the one that killed all the infamous bank robbers of the day. Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, etc.

    The old homestead of this man is being demolished and during that process a tin box is found. Inside the box is a government issue weapon, an FBI badge and another item no one is exactly sure what it is. The grandson of this man has never heard of his grandf

    A very interesting story whereby the author has invented a character that was secretly used by the Justice Department (FBI) who actually was the one that killed all the infamous bank robbers of the day. Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, etc.

    The old homestead of this man is being demolished and during that process a tin box is found. Inside the box is a government issue weapon, an FBI badge and another item no one is exactly sure what it is. The grandson of this man has never heard of his grandfather being in the FBI and he wonders what these items are all about. This is the premise of the book.

    I thought it was a very interesting take and enjoyed reading the book very much. I would like to thank Penguin Group, Blue Rider Press and Net Galley for allowing me the privilege to read and review this interesting and entertaining story.

  • Karen
    Feb 21, 2017

    G-MAN by Stephen Hunter

    I loved this story and Bobby Swagger's enthusiasm for learning all about his Grandfather's past. This was a very interesting part of history. My own father lived through the Great Depression. We have all heard of Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. The investigative arm of the law was The United States Division of Investigation. The new name of this law enforcement is the FBI. The FBI considered Pretty Boy Floyd to be dangerous and they thought Charle

    G-MAN by Stephen Hunter

    I loved this story and Bobby Swagger's enthusiasm for learning all about his Grandfather's past. This was a very interesting part of history. My own father lived through the Great Depression. We have all heard of Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. The investigative arm of the law was The United States Division of Investigation. The new name of this law enforcement is the FBI. The FBI considered Pretty Boy Floyd to be dangerous and they thought Charles Swagger to be a top notch gunman.

    Baby Face Nelson was thought to be extremely dangerous. Considering that Charles Swagger was thought to be very talented using a gun he was recruited. When Charles Swagger's family home was sold a treasure trove of memorabilia was discovered. Found were items such as a badge, a preserved pistol. Bobby Swagger begins his search for everything he can learn about his Grandfather's past.

    This was engaging reading and I absolutely loved it. Highly Recommended for everybody that enjoys history and is nostalgic about learning about their own family roots.

    Thank you to Net Galley, Stephen Hunter and the Publisher for providing me with my digital copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Jacqui
    Mar 10, 2017

    Stephen Hunter's latest in the Bob Lee Swagger series, G-Man (Penguin Random House 2017) unexpectedly starts in the 1930's with the death of Bonnie and Clyde at the hands of Bob Lee's grandfather, Charlie Swagger. Charlie is a small-town sheriff with a big reputation for heroism, bravery, and doing the impossible. Quickly, Hunter moves readers to the present day as the Bob Lee we know is settling into retirement and all the boredom and aches that includes:

    "Nothing [to do] meant a three-hour ride

    Stephen Hunter's latest in the Bob Lee Swagger series, G-Man (Penguin Random House 2017) unexpectedly starts in the 1930's with the death of Bonnie and Clyde at the hands of Bob Lee's grandfather, Charlie Swagger. Charlie is a small-town sheriff with a big reputation for heroism, bravery, and doing the impossible. Quickly, Hunter moves readers to the present day as the Bob Lee we know is settling into retirement and all the boredom and aches that includes:

    "Nothing [to do] meant a three-hour ride on land that was all his, another hour of horse care, then three or four hours in his shop working on this or that rifle project (this year: .375 Chey Tac at over thirty-five hundred yards, and, damn, if he didn’t own over thirty-five hundred yards’ worth of Idaho on which to find out what it could do). Then on to the email thing, for conversations with old friends the world over, including reporters and retired sergeants, Russian gangsters, Japanese Self-Defense Force NCOs, FBI..."

    When a Colt 45 and a thousand dollar bill are found under the foundation of the old family house (which is being bulldozed), Bob Lee in his boredom decides to try to unravel the mystery of why they were hidden there. The search takes him back to the '30s when Dillinger and Baby Face and that entire crew were robbing banks with impunity. In an effort to stop them, the FBI hired gunslingers--like Charlie Swagger--to engage the bandits in gunfights at their skill level.

    As with all Bob Lee Swagger novels, this one is imbued with a deep love of firearms:

    "His fingers knew it immediately. As a design, the thing was one of many masterpieces that had tumbled from the brain of John M. Browning before World War I, so perfect in conception and execution, such a chord of power and grace and genius of operation that even now, more than a century after its year of adaptation in 1911, it was standard sidearm of many of the world’s elite units."

    One thing I always like about Bob Swagger novels is Bob's sage wisdom. He's able to break life and lessons down to their essentials so anyone can get it. Here's his take on handsome men:

    "As an analyst of human strength and weakness, he knew that the handsome ones could be tricky. It’s something an infantry officer and a cop pick up on fast. They get used to being the center of attention. They expect things to go their way. They don’t like to take orders, especially from the many less attractive than they are. They move at their own pace. Sometimes they seem not to hear what is said to them. They are very stubborn, not out of commitment to a certain line of logic but to the idea that their beauty confers on them certain divine rights. The moving pictures and the fancy magazines have only exacerbated these problems, for on-screen the handsomest man is always the best, the champion of the show, the lure of all the gals, the hero of all the guys, and your real-life pretty fellow too often comes to assume the same of himself, except he has yet to do a thing to earn that reputation. So problems—little, knotty difficulties, little spats, grudges, pissing contests, garbled communications, slights too slight to mention but annoying to suffer, a sense of self-importance—all make every transaction with the handsome man more bother than it should be."

    Then there are some of the words he uses. Not a lot but I'm pretty well read and it stopped me when people were 'palavering' (chatting).

    Overall a good read though a bit more wandering than his usual--which explains the 4/5 stars. I was expecting his traditional action-packed story and got one that is more contemplative, personal, and less intense than what I expected.

  • Joe Kucharski
    May 26, 2017

    Somewhere within this concrete block of a novel, under the preposterously-macho dialogue, away from the run-on sentences filled with description upon description upon description, not to mention chapter

    worth of the intricacies involved with breaking down firearms, there lays a cool, fast story of historical fiction playing out a hard-as-balls Agent and his hunt of a wilily, rascal of a bank-robber. To find that story, brother, break out the chisels and jackhammers, as it’s a deep dig.

    pl

    Somewhere within this concrete block of a novel, under the preposterously-macho dialogue, away from the run-on sentences filled with description upon description upon description, not to mention chapter

    worth of the intricacies involved with breaking down firearms, there lays a cool, fast story of historical fiction playing out a hard-as-balls Agent and his hunt of a wilily, rascal of a bank-robber. To find that story, brother, break out the chisels and jackhammers, as it’s a deep dig.

    places the fictional character of Charles Swagger right into the state of play between the burgeoning FBI and a series of public enemies on the prowl in the early 1930s, such as the likes of John Dillinger and Baby-Face Nelson. Author Stephen Hunter adds to this narrative a present-day tale of Swagger’s grandson, Bob, and his quest to uncover the mystery of his grandfather. Both tales, alone and inter-twined, make for great pulp, crime fiction. Hunter unfortunately burdens that plot, something that should be hip, and light, and full of that post-1920s swing, with the procedurals of an old man telling a young whippersnapper the right way a task should be done.

    Maybe this is simply Hunter’s style that I, as the reader and reviewer, have not previously been privy to. However, as a reader and reviewer, I found his unyielding verbiage to be unnecessarily weighty, making for a dull read. And a release from an author named Hunter, featuring a character named Swagger, and with the cover boasting a fedora-clad agent bearing down with a Tommy gun, should be anything but dull.

    A hail of bullets in thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

  • John
    Jun 06, 2017

    I highly recommend this book. It is an entertaining story. It has a fascinating ending.

  • Peter
    May 23, 2017

    Stephen Hunter is among my favorite action authors, and Bobby Lee Swagger, his now-aging ex-Marine sniper Medal of Honor-winning character, is one of my favorite heroes. To hear Bobby Lee as he thinks his way out of bad situations, or as he contemplates the ballistics of exotic weapons, is a true treat.

    A few of Hunters Swagger books delve into Bobby Lee’s father, Earl Swagger—also a Medal of honor winner, though at Iwo Jima rather than Vietnam. Earl became a sheriff in Arkansas and was murdered

    Stephen Hunter is among my favorite action authors, and Bobby Lee Swagger, his now-aging ex-Marine sniper Medal of Honor-winning character, is one of my favorite heroes. To hear Bobby Lee as he thinks his way out of bad situations, or as he contemplates the ballistics of exotic weapons, is a true treat.

    A few of Hunters Swagger books delve into Bobby Lee’s father, Earl Swagger—also a Medal of honor winner, though at Iwo Jima rather than Vietnam. Earl became a sheriff in Arkansas and was murdered by a bad guy in 1955 when in his forties, an event that helped shape Bobby Lee. In

    (2017) the story goes back one more generation to Charles Swagger, Bobby Lee’s grandfather.

    It is 2017 and the Swagger family has sold the Arkansas property that has been in the family since 1795; naturally the buyer is a developer. When the house is torn down, an unexpected treasure is discovered in the foundation—a metal box with several of Charles Swagger’s possessions. Among them are a well-oiled eighty year old Colt .45 automatic made in 1934, an uncirculated $1000 bill, also 1934 vintage, a large metal device of unknown use that is probably associated with a weapon, a badge designating the wearer as an agent for the “Department of Investigation” (the name used by the FBI during 1934), and a rough hand-drawn map with a spot marked “X.”.

    Any family history hound would be thrilled at such a discovery, and Bobby Lee is no different. He knows nothing about his grandfather except that he was a hero in WWI, a man who loved guns and used them vigorously (as do all Swagger men), and after 1934 he became a confirmed alcoholic. Bobby Lee starts to investigate the provenance of the items and as he does we are treated to a rotation of chapters between Charles’ experiences in 1934 and Bobby Lee’s investigation in 2017.

    In 1934 the depression was in full force, the dust bowl was destroying the fertile western agricultural areas, poverty prevailed among farmers and city-dwellers alike, and bank robberies were the only form of social security. Bad folks like Bonnie and Clyde, and Ma Barker and her boys, were household words. The Justice Department's Department of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI) was formed under J. Edgar Hoover to track down and eliminate the bank robbers.

    Charles Swagger, a sheriff of Blue Eye, Arkansas known for his ability to halt criminal activity both with and without a gun, was pressed into service in 1934 as a Special Agent of the soon-to-be FBI to assist the Agency in stopping a gang of bank robbers composed of Les Gilpin (Baby Face Nelson), Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, John Dillinger and several less notables. Charles was given the badge and the gun, and he set out to do his duty. After the job was done there was a five-month gap before Charles returned to Blue Eye to become sheriff again.

    Bobby Lee is interested in several mysteries about Charles: what happened during his time as a Special Agent? Why was there a five-month gap between the time he returned to Blue Eye as sheriff? Why did Charles turn to drink after 1934? Where did the treasures in the box come from? While hot lead flies and bad guys drop in 1934, we learn just how these treasures came into Charles’s life. And as if there weren’t enough bad boys in Charles’s day, Bobby Lee is hounded by Grumley.

    What is Grumley, you ask? It’s a very large southern family of criminals, all so in love with their work and attuned to each other that they are referred to as a collective—not “the Grumleys” or “the Grumley family,” but simply "Grumley." We first encountered Grumley in

    , an earlier Hunter novel. Grumley has got word of the map with an “X” on it, and it wants whatever is under the X. So Bobby Lee has to keep account of Grumley while Grumley is keeping tabs on him.

    This is not your typical Bobby Lee Swagger novel. It is more a nostalgic look at Bobby Lee’s family history that tells us that Swagger men were decent folk who killed for a living. That doesn’t mean it is without the usual action of a Swagger novel, or without the usual detail about guns that one finds in a Swagger novel. Bullets fly, blood flows, and we learn about the Thompson machine gun, the Colt. 45 semiautomatic, the Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver, and—of most interest—the Colt Monitor, a variation on the .30-caliber BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) with pistol grips and a huge “compensator” on the muzzle. (Hint: the large metal device in the treasure box is a compensator.)

    Four and 1/2 Stars!

  • Tim
    May 27, 2017

    Clearly, Hunter has run out of creative ideas. He now writes from historical events with uninspired modifications. Previously, it was Jack the Ripper, this time it's Baby Face Nelson. Just read some history and don't waste your time on this drivel. 0 of 10 stars

  • Sharon Anne Beers
    Jun 06, 2017

    2.5


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