Author Topic: 'The Third Bullet' Review: Stephen Hunter Unwraps Savvy New Theory on JFK's Death  (Read 2216 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/03/29/The-Third-Bullet-Review-The-Novel-Hunter-Was-Meant-to-Write

 by Zachary Leeman 1 Apr 2013

Retired Marine Sniper Bob Lee Swagger and former Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter are back with The Third Bullet and, after more than 20 years together thrilling audiences with stories of war and the art of the hunt, the two men have teamed up for the novel they were always meant to pull off.

In a move that is rather genius in its simplicity, Hunter has taken his old protagonist and thrown him a mystery that has haunted America for 50 years: who killed President John F. Kennedy? Everybody's got a theory. Some say it was Communists, some say it was aliens, others may even tell you it was a Tea Partier sent back in time.

However, Hunter has no time for foolish conspiracies. In his novel he presents a theory that is ridiculously plausible that is supported and sustained by the one thing most readers love about Hunter: his substantial knowledge about firearms.

The Third Bullet opens with what is Hunter's most original and creative first chapter (and this is the man that wrote the opening to Dirty White Boys). He kills off a man that creepily and humorously resembles Hunter himself. The thriller writer is killed by automobile when he comes just a bit too close to solving the JFK conspiracy. The man's wife hunts down Bob the Nailer and Bob is off with a new mystery to solve. He goes everywhere from Moscow to Texas, fighting off bad guys the only way he knows how: with guns and lots of 'em.

The reason Hunter's novel is so strong is because it's not just another clever thriller or adventure for Swagger. Hunter has taken a legitimate mystery and he uses his own expertise and Swagger's to apply gun knowledge to the mystery and present a theory that many others haven't touched over the years. I won't give away the details, but it's damn good.

Most of Hunter's readers know the ins and outs of firearms and love Hunter for his details when it comes to weapons and his accuracy in representing them. Those fans will love this book because never has Hunter's gun knowledge or gun play been so well or heavily displayed on the page.

Hunter's other talent (and sometimes saving grace) is that he is a born writer. Other writers like Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler can become bores when they drag on and on about whatever new toy they are describing (whether it be a submarine or an artifact or whatever). They take readers completely out of the story to give endless facts and figures while Hunter weaves such details into his storytelling. It's incredibly unique and only goes to show that Hunter is at the top of the list when it comes to modern thriller writers.

Besides the central mystery, The Third Bullet still has a lot to offer. It's not one book, but two. We get Swagger's story and we also get the first-person account of the main conspirator in the JFK assassination (his identity is a nice surprise for longtime Hunter readers). Hunter weaves these two books together, so we get a thrilling account of not just Swagger's adventures, but an account of the day of Nov. 22nd, 1963 as well.

From its brilliantly amusing opening to its powerful final moments, it's easy to sense that The Third Bullet is the novel Hunter and Swagger were always meant to create. It's the culmination of years of writing, shooting and learning. It's the novel that sets in stone the fact that Hunter is a damn good writer and Bob Lee Swagger is a damn fine hero. And if the final moments of The Third Bullet are to be believed: these two old birds ain't done yet.

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Offline Lando Lincoln

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Wow!  My kinda book!  Thanks for the post myst.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline Rivergirl

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Now that Arlen Specter is dead we may get more truth about the murder of JFK.

Offline Rapunzel

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I have never believed that magic bullet they found was not planted.

Offline Bigun

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I have never believed that magic bullet they found was not planted.

It WAS planted on a hospital gurney outside the operating room of Parkland Hospital by Jack Ruby.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Okay, this will be my only post on the matter because I have learned over these many years that it is nearly impossible to sway opinion (mine included) on this topic - especially in a setting like this.

The Kennedy assassination was the result of a tragic nexus of a disturbed individual and opportunity.  Oswald was the lone gunman.  No impact from the front, no magic bullet, no planting of evidence at the scene or hospital. The shots were easy for an experienced shooter, even with the Mannlicher Carcano.  Even as a poor marksman (which may or may not have been the case), Oswald needed to be successful only once - and he was. 

What there was in abundance: incompetence.  By the cops, the feds, the hospital.  Everywhere.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline Bigun

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Okay, this will be my only post on the matter because I have learned over these many years that it is nearly impossible to sway opinion (mine included) on this topic - especially in a setting like this.

The Kennedy assassination was the result of a tragic nexus of a disturbed individual and opportunity.  Oswald was the lone gunman.  No impact from the front, no magic bullet, no planting of evidence at the scene or hospital. The shots were easy for an experienced shooter, even with the Mannlicher Carcano.  Even as a poor marksman (which may or may not have been the case), Oswald needed to be successful only once - and he was. 

What there was in abundance: incompetence.  By the cops, the feds, the hospital.  Everywhere.

I have only one question which, to date, no one has ever answered.

Why would someone acting alone as supposedly Oswald was, pass up all of the VERY much easier shot opportunities presented to him as the president's limo came up Elm street directly toward him and nearly stopped directly below him in order to make the approx. 120 deg turn onto the Stemmons Freeway entrance ramp in favor of  shots at a target accelerating away from him at a declining angle? 

The military answer to that is that he waited until the target was in the predetermined kill zone of the ambush. 

In my view Lee Harvey Oswald was exactly what he claimed to be. A patsy set up to take the fall.

Offline Rapunzel

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Offline Cincinnatus

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The JFK assassination took place in broad daylight in a major American city with dozens and dozens of eye witnesses, including police and Secret Service agents, and yet here we are 50 years later still debating what actually happpened. That alone is a most interesting dimension to the story.

I have made the assassination a minor hobby with several books, and have read a number of 'net commentaries. Not that I am an expert but certainly a reasonably well informed amateur.

All that said the best book I have ever read on the subject is the little known "Mortal Error" by Bonar Menninger which outlines the ballistics tests performed by expert Howard Donahue.

Donahue was such a recognized expert he was one of 11 shooters invited by CBS to demonstrate whether the Warren Commission was correct in saying Oswald could have gotten off 3 shots that rapidly with a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Of the 11 only Mr Donahue was able to do so but doubted Oswald could have done it with any accuracy.

So he conducted his own tests and concluded that based on an examination of the medical, ballistic and other evidence pointed to a bullet from the agent's AR-15 rifle that blew the president's skull apart. In other words, he said the fatal shot was an accident resulting from the inadvertent discharge of an SS agent's weapon.

In fairness it ought be pointed out the agent in question, whom he named, sued and though his suit was dismissed on procedural grounds (too late), the publisher did settle with him later.

It also should be pointed out he thought Oswald was guilty of trying to kill Kennedy but not the fatal shot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Donahue

So there you are, FWIW.


We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Rapunzel

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My husband who was on the Naval rifle team (traveled to meets winning shooting awards) always said he did not believe Oswald was the actual shooter.  Like the book you cite Cin, he didn't think it was possible for someone who was not the best of the best to get off those shots....... and then there is the so-called path the magic bullet traveled to come out unscathed... were any of us supposed to buy that story?  Like Bigun said, that bullet was planted.

Offline Cincinnatus

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Ok, after I posted I read Rapunzel's contribution and now want to say something about it.

Next to Menninger's book the idea the Mob offed Kennedy with Oswald the probable triggerman is my next favorite; but, I'm thinking, for different reasons than were presented in her post (I acknowledge she didn't say those things but was citing a book on the subject0.

(1) The Kennedys were deeply in bed with the Mob. The old man had made part of the family fortune by dealing in bootleg liquor in alliance with the Mob during Prohibition. When Jack ran for Prez mafia money, muscle, and support was the primary reason he won the WV primary which supposedly showed the Catholic Northeastener Kennedy could win in a largely Protestant, southern state. In the general election the Mafia delivered Chicago for Kennedy and so he won IL. The Kennedys owed the Mob, a debt that had to be honored.

(2) Bobby has a reputation as a big time mob buster but about the only guy he took down was Jimmy Hoffa and that, true to Bobby's vindictive personality, was due to his hatred of Jimmy, not Hoffa's criminal activities. Jimmy was the Mob's guy in the Teamsters which was a cash cow for the Mafia. By attacking Jimmy and the Teamsters that self-righteous prig Bobby stepped on the wrong toes, I think. It's true he sort of went after Marcello but only to degrade him, a stupid act, and never put him or any other top Mafioso in jail. After Jimmy was removed, the Teamsters returned to business as usual.

(3) I find it rather curious that after the assassination Bobby didn't demand a thorough investigation. How unlike him, especially given it involved his brother with whom he was truly quite close. I can only assume he couldn't do so because if he had the entire story of his family's close association with the Mafia would have to have been brought forth. Discretion was the better part of valor, he already knew what really happened, so let Oswald take the blame. 
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Cincinnatus

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This belief I share with Bigun and Rapunzel. Like Bigun said, that bullet was planted.

What a farce.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline DCPatriot

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Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin went to The Godfather and requested the hit on JFK....in retribution for Jack and Robert's treatment and murder of Marilyn Monroe.


.....don't laugh....it's as good as any of the other theories.


As stated....in broad daylight in a major city with hundreds of eyewitnesses, people still wonder 50 years later WTF happened.

And then you see that people say that the Towers falling on 9-11 was an inside job and the Building #7 fell in a free-fall all by itself.

Oh.....and that no airplane hit the Pentagon.   Even though 500 people on the George Washington Parkway and on 395 saw it.
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk

Offline Cincinnatus

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Not laughing. Could be. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin went to The Godfather and requested the hit on JFK....in retribution for Jack and Robert's treatment and murder of Marilyn Monroe.

I shall now give you my own theory. Jackie did it.

Yep. She got fed up with that randy goat's constant infidelities and, to deal with it, hired Lee Harvey in order to show her displeasure.

Hey, you know women and what they are capable of when their man cheats, and did JFK ever cheat.

I am working on my book with this theme even as we speak.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Bigun

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Well here's another one for the whatever it's worth category.

In late 1966 and for most of 1967 I was in the U.S Army in a land about as far away from Dallas Texas as one can get on this globe working mostly working with fellows who worked for a government agency that few knew much about in those days. In the course of that tour I, late at night, often found myself sitting around empty cable spools turned on end so as to make a table with all manner of adult beverages thereon. In the course of those conversations I gained many insights to events which had occurred on November 22nd 1963 from people who, I have more than enough reason to believe, knew what they were talking about. Let's just say that they were not pleased with the fact that a number of their colleagues were, at the time, still rotting in Cuban dungeons because a now former president of the United States of America had given them his word that this and that would be provided at the Bay of Pigs but withheld at the very hour they were most needed...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 08:35:33 PM by Bigun »

Offline DCPatriot

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Well here's another one for the whatever it's worth category.

In late 1966 and for most of 1967 I was in the U.S Army in a land about as far away from Dallas Texas as one can get on this globe working mostly working with fellows who worked for a government agency that few knew much about in those days. In the course of that tour I, late at night, often found myself sitting around empty cable spools turned on end so as to make a table with all manner of adult beverages thereon. In the course of those conversations I gained many insights to events which had occurred on November 22nd 1963 from people who, I have more than enough reason to believe, knew what they were talking about. Let's just say that they were not pleased with the fact that a number of their colleagues were, at the time, still rotting in Cuban dungeons because a now former president of the United States of America had given them his word that this and that would be provided at the Bay of Pigs but withheld at the very hour they were most needed...


That sounds the most realistic to me.....that it had to do with the double cross at the Bay of Pigs.

OTOH....I do believe Oswald was a shooter, but not the only one.   I like the 'grassy knoll' theory.

Also...in the Zapruder movie of the assassination, it's said that they have clear evidence of a bullet or something hitting a roadway sign as the sign begins to shake violently while everything else in the frame is 'normal'.

Did anybody else hear about this?
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"Journalism is about covering the news.  With a pillow.  Until it stops moving."    - Iowahawk


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