Monday, October 17, 2011

Black Light by Stephen Hunter (novel)

Cover of "Black Light"Cover of Black LightBlack Light is another of Stephen Hunter's novels about Bob Lee Swaggert and his father Earl Swaggert. Both are sort of larger than life genuine American that prefers the outdoor, law, and military, and neither is afraid to do what needs to be done, even if it is killing people outside the realm of the law. In a way, this is very reminiscent of Lee Child's "Jack Reacher" novels. Both are sort of "knight errant" out to correct a few wrongs.

This book has a "bookend" dual-plot-line book where Bob Lee was enticed into looking into his father's last day on earth, and uncovers a conspiracy, which is still ongoing today. You got two tracks going, one in 1955, and one in "present day".

Earl Swaggert is a sheriff's deputy, a lawman, and while he grew up all white, he's not a racist. When a black minister asked him to look for a missing black girl, he did so... and found her body. Later that night, he's dead, supposedly died in a shootout with the most wanted felons in Arkansas. He was buried as a hero.

In the present day, Earl's son, Bob Lee Swaggert, is a retired farmer who was approached by a writer, whose father was severely wounded by a man who was the son of the man that killed Earl Swaggert (and was killed by Earl as well). The "kid" wants to write a book about how that one fateful night can have consequences down another generation. Bob Lee was initially not impressed, but later, after going through some of his father's effects, he realized there's something VERY wrong with his father's death... the evidence doesn't match the reports. Something is very wrong.

So they went digging... by going back to Arkansas, and found a conspiracy that started with his father's time... and is still active, with layers and layers of lies, from various parties. And Bob Lee gets to deal out a bit of death when his opponent decided to silence him...

The book is exciting, and the ending is oddly appropirate and surprising at the same time. If you like the idea of someone out to right wrongs this is a great book.
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