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Extended Audio Sample The Third Bullet Audiobook, by Stephen Hunter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (548 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Hunter Narrator: Buck Schirner Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Bob Lee Swagger Series Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781455815760
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It’s not even a clue. It’s a whisper, a trace, a ghost echo, drifting down through the decades via chance connections so fragile that they would disintegrate in the puff of a breath. But it’s enough to get legendary former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger interested in the events of November 22, 1963, and the third bullet that so decisively ended the life of John F. Kennedy and set the stage for one of the most enduring controversies of our time.

Swagger begins his slow night stalk through a much-traveled landscape. But he’s asking questions that few have asked before: Why did the third bullet explode? Why did Lee Harvey Oswald, about to become the most hunted man on earth, risk it all by returning to his rooming house to secure a pistol he easily could have brought with him? How could a conspiracy that went unpenetrated for fifty years have been thrown together in the two and a half days between the announcement of the president’s route and the assassination itself?

As Bob investigates, another voice enters the narrative: knowing, ironic, almost familiar, that of a gifted, Yale-educated veteran of the CIA Plans Division. Hugh Meachum has secrets and the means and the will to keep them buried. When weighed against his own legacy, Swagger’s life is an insignificant expense — but to blunt the threat, he’ll first have to ambush the sniper.

As each man hunts the other across today’s globe and through the thickets of history, The Third Bullet builds to an explosive climax that will finally prove what Bob Lee Swagger has always known: it’s never too late for justice.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Like an elite sniper, Stephen Hunter zeroes in on one of the most infamous shots ever fired and delivers a mind-bending thriller…The Third Bullet is his best Bob Lee Swagger thriller yet.”

    Vince Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Kill Shot

  • “The Swagger novel we’ve all been waiting for, and the Swagger novel Stephen Hunter was born to write…a magnificent thriller—and it might even be true.”

    Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Wanted Man and The Affair

  • The Third Bullet is as riveting as it is ambitious. It’s Stephen Hunter’s best so far.”

    Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Drop and The Black Box

  • “Stephen Hunter is the bulls-eye ace of the modern thriller, a cerebral mix of mystery, blood, brutality, treachery and suspense. The Third Bullet is Hunter at the absolute apex of his art. Come on—it’s time to hunt!”

    Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Disciple

  • “Hunter is extremely well-versed on guns and ballistics, and Swagger is nothing short of a legend…it’ll be catnip to conspiracy-minded readers…The whole thing ends with a shootout in rural Connecticut that’s so tense you’ll burn your dinner rather than stop reading.”

    Washington Post

  • “Former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger tackles the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories—the 1963 Kennedy assassination…a stunningly plausible theory that will have readers holding the book in one hand and Googling satellite photos of Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository with the other.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A shockingly plausible alternative to the Lee Harvey Oswald ‘lone gunman’ explanation.”

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • “Hunter’s solid eighth thriller featuring master sniper Bob Lee Swagger…plunges into the byzantine world of conspiracy theory. Hunter develops some new angles on the JFK assassination.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “For nearly 50 years, the world has been obsessing over the assassination of JFK, from grassy knolls to magic bullets. Finally, though, there’s somebody on the case who likes to act more than talk…Hunter has used the assassination to forge a terrific thriller.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Hunter raises some thought-provoking questions, and while the ‘who’ in the equation may still be in doubt, the answers to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ may be contained in this work, which is labeled as ‘fiction’ but could be much more.”

    Bookreporter.com

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Agatha | 2/16/2014

    " Hunter's protagonist, Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, invesigates an alternative theory of the Kennedy assassination; lots of detail about guns and ammo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/10/2014

    " I actually was about to Zzzz through this book, a lot of details about guns and calibers with Swagger. Then the book goes into first person with the conspirator's memoir. I liked the memoir better than the Swagger story so I perked up. I didn't like the ending too much. I don't know how you would end a story like this, but it the Swagger story was confusing at times. The book makes you think and I learn a bunch of new stuff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nephi Jenks | 2/2/2014

    " I loved that Stephen Hunter killed himself off in the beginning of the book. The story was very believable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Odeen | 1/25/2014

    " Great alternative story to the JFK killing. Just enough Bob The Nailer to make it fun. Enjoy Hunter a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 1/23/2014

    " I loved this book. While its a work of fiction, it's plot is creative enough to give pause to the countless conspiracy theories and just for a second make you think "what if..." This certainly won't be the last Bob Lee Swagger novel I read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Ballin | 1/19/2014

    " This was just unreadable. It read like one of the free Kindle books you can get. A wandering plot that I just never got into. Read half of it and it took me 2 weeks to get that far. Loved the Stephen King book on the same subject---hated this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Walt | 1/19/2014

    " I have loved almost all of Stephen Hunders books. This book was probably the worst book of all his books. Too much repetition and detail. A slow read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Al Menaster | 1/9/2014

    " Stephen Hunter's books are truly outstanding. This one "solves" the JFK assassination, using Bob Swagger. This was excellent but not superior. Hunter shifts perspective halfway through,and about half the remaining story is from the perspective of the "villain," which is not as riveting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian Cuneo | 1/4/2014

    " Interesting concept, but slow pace until the last 100 pages. Overall, I enjoyed it but it but it was not my favorite Swagger book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Indrid Cold | 1/4/2014

    " too long winded for my tastes = but a sensible "what if" for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas D Sinex | 12/25/2013

    " Good fun... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bryce Giesler | 12/13/2013

    " Not as much action as some of the previous ones, but I liked the procedural nature of it. Also a plausible fiction for how the JFK assassination could have happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denis Hancock | 11/13/2013

    " I need to separate the fact that this is a work of fiction from Hunter's skill at writing an enjoyable thriller. The willing suspension of disbelief needs to operate here (much like it does to accept the finding of the Warren Commission). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 P.e.lolo | 10/25/2013

    " I really liked this Swagger novel. The way Mr.Hunter wrote this book was interesting and really along the lines of a Swagger book. Which is what made it so good. No conspiracy theory which I liked. A very good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorie | 10/3/2013

    " This is an exciting story about what "really happened" in the JFK assassination. Bob Lee Swagger is getting older and slower, but he can still figure things out and kick butt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 9/30/2013

    " Hunter's still got that ol' Swagger! Plus a surprise at the end! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Buster Mitchell | 7/13/2013

    " Another excellent Swagger story, just a tad slow getting started. Of course it ended before I wanted it to. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Maggie | 7/2/2013

    " Rehash of an old story. Original Swagger stories are much more interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandon Gryder | 6/30/2013

    " With the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination coming up there will be a lot of new books coming out. I expect this to be the best of those. Stephen Hunter can write with the best around and decides to do so in a thriller format. Excellent read, well worth the money. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 6/30/2013

    " Interesting twist on Kennedy assassination. Is it live? Or is it Memorex? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jonathan Snowden | 6/22/2013

    " Stephen Hunter has a theory about the Kennedy assassination. He brings his iconic Bob Lee Swagger into it so fans will be forced to read what should be a blogspot entry or three. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 6/5/2013

    " If you are a Stephen Hunter fan and particularly a Bob Lee Swagger fan, you will love this book. Great job mixing historical fact and exciting fiction. Is this what happened in November 1963 - maybe??? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rick Fisher | 6/4/2013

    " By far, in this reader's opinion, the most useless in this otherwise remarkable series. A real snoozefest from page one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 6/2/2013

    " I thought this book was okay. It felt like the how plot was contigent on the Kennedy Assasination - which made it a little unoriginal. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 5/20/2013

    " LONG BOOK!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay Clement | 3/9/2013

    " Really fun read. It's usually a good time hanging out with Bob Lee Swagger, and this ride was better than most. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 2/27/2013

    " If you love to read about Kennedy assassination conspiracies and ballistics, this book is for you. If not, you will find several sections of this book pretty dull. NOT Hunter's best in my book! "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter is an author and former Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic for the Washington Post. The author of the Bob Lee Swagger and Earl Swagger series of novels, he has also published several novels, two collections of film criticism, and other nonfiction works. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

About the Narrator

Buck Schirner’s professional career has primarily been on stage as a character actor. He is currently active in the theater scene in Philadelphia. Buck also appears in the independent film In the Woods.