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Extended Audio Sample The Third Bullet, 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:
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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

  • “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.”


  • “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

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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