G-MAN  by Stephen Hunter

G-MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hunter (I, Ripper, 2015, etc.) continues the Swagger family saga, with Bob Lee lured from retirement after a steel box secreted by his grandfather Charles is discovered on the family’s old Arkansas homestead.

In the box are a Colt .45 government-model pistol, an odd machined cylinder, an FBI Special Agent badge, a $1,000 bill, and a map. It will all trace back to 1934 and gangsters Homer Van Meter, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, who were robbing every bank in sight. Bob’s enigmatic grandfather Charles, a World War I hero, left his duties as Polk County sheriff to serve the federal Division of Investigation, the FBI’s forerunner, in Chicago, and the book alternates between his adventures in 1934 and his grandson's quest to figure out what happened. The action takes off as Charles, while sending more than one bad guy to the morgue, turns the division’s lawyers and accountants into shoot-to-kill street agents. There are regular shifts to Baby Face with surprising insight into his personality and marriage. While wanting to know why Charles buried that box, Bob Lee also sets out to find out why his grandfather spent only a few months with the division—"Everything about this old bastard was thin"—leading to two startling revelations. Hunter’s handling of a bank-robbery gun battle and later the bloody takedown of Baby Face are you-are-there choreographed. However, it’s Charles’ manipulating the mob, corrupt cops, and publicity hound Melvin Purvis while dodging Tommy guns, .45s, and the deadly Monitor that keeps the pages turning, letting Bob Lee’s pursuit of Charles’ history fade to a sideshow—at least until Bob deciphers the map and is confronted by the hillbilly Mafia.

Fans of Hunter's Swagger family legend will be locked and loaded for more.

Pub Date: May 16th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-57460-3
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2017




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