Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Master Hunter

I've been a several-weeks long tear through Stephen Hunter country, reading and re-reading the novels of this former Baltimore Sun movie critic. Hunter was the only movie critic I ever trusted to steer me toward a good movie (and warn me of the bad ones) and when I came across a book bearing his name on the spine I nabbed it up right quick.

The book was The Master Sniper, a WWII-set thriller centering on an elaborate assassination plot, a high-powered rifle with a unique and powerful night vision scope, and, of course, the titular master sniper. A terrific book and one I aim to re-read as soon as I snag another copy.

I followed this up with The Second Saladin and purchased a copy of Tapestry Of Spies (unread at the time I lost track of the book).

I stumbled across Target in 1985, around the time the movie came out and bought it because I was in love with Hunter's work as a novelist and movie critic and it sounded, based on the back cover blurb, to be a pretty darned good book.

Was it ever! Having recently read The Second Saladin, I was surprised to discover that Hunter had not merely adapted the screenplay into prose but had actually made the story his own, bringing into it characters from his previous novel, like Frenchy Short, Paul Charnas's handler in Saladin and later a player in Earl Swagger's adventures in Havana. Imagine: a movie novelization that doesn't suck. This alone ranks it among the top 5 movie novelizations of all time.

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