In his latest Bob Lee Swagger adventure, Hunter (The Third Bullet, 2013, etc.) sends the indefatigable warrior into the Carpathian Mountains.
Swagger’s 68 now, retired to the Cascades, his sniper heroics in Vietnam and thereafter left to history books. When long-time friend and veteran reporter Kathy Reilly calls to question him about firearms, Swagger learns that she's investigating Ludmilla Petrova, a blonde beauty known as the White Witch, a World War II Russian sniper. Petrova, despite heroics at Stalingrad, Kursk and elsewhere, has disappeared from postwar records. Reilly’s curious. Swagger’s intrigued. He’s also willing to help, even if it means flying to Russia. With eight Swagger adventures on the books, Hunter knows his hero like a brother: righteous character firmly set, crafty intelligence thoroughly hidden, stone-cold willing to take the shot if a bad actor must die. Swagger and Reilly end up in Ukraine, thwarting evildoers ranging from an off-the-reservation U.S. clandestine operator to a mobbed-up anti-Semitic Russian oligarch with family connections to Nazi-sympathizing WWII double agents. In the Carpathian wilderness, Swagger’s sniper instinct helps Reilly uncover Petrova’s WWII exploits, from Kursk, where she went rogue during the massive tank battle, to tiny, isolated Yaremche, Ukraine, where she was sent on a suicide mission to kill an Obergruppenführer named Groedl. Swagger displays mighty tradecraft, employing a British Enfield sniper rifle secreted in a Carpathian Mountain cave since 1944. Hunter adds an exotic bad guy, Yusef Salid, SS-trained cousin of Jerusalem’s grand mufti, who leads Serbian Nazis into the killing fields, but Hunter doesn’t forget the "good Germans"—a decimated squad of paratroopers trying to do the right thing in spite of the "nutcase paperhanger from Austria."
Despite a not-wholly-related narrative thread highlighting Mossad’s mad skills in frustrating Russian-Iranian anti-Israel machinations, Hunter loads up a whole magazine of action, double-dealing and gun porn.