Stephen Hunter's novel, Dead Zero, introduced Ray Cruz. Cruz is a hero; a retired marine sniper. He just happens to be at the mall with his new fiancée and her family. Twelve gunmen open fire in the mall corridors, driving the pack before them. Those on the upper floors take cover or get out any way they can; but within a few minutes the gunmen have herded more than a thousand hostages into the amusement park. Ray is one of the hostages. The only one with a plan and the courage to play it out.
The story follows the hostages, the gunmen, the police response, and the struggle of the Minnesota State Police and the FBI to control the crisis. The story is filled with suspense and there are some very graphic, violent scenes.
Reviews of the novel have been good:
"Stephen Hunter didn’t invent the high-action thriller. But, as he once again demonstrates in the lightning-paced Soft Target, he might as well have. . . . Soft Target is Die Hard with a brain and a plan. A lean, action-packed tale that begs to be read in a single sitting.”
-- The Providence Journal
“Combining elements of the locked-room mystery, the disaster novel, and the lock-and-load thriller, Hunter produces a remarkably gripping tale, building character (the captives, the bureaucrats, and the “terrorists” all get compelling back stories) every bit as convincingly as he drives the narrative to its High Noon--style finale.”
-- Booklist (starred review)
"Any thriller in which Middle Eastern terrorists whack Santa on the first page is bound to be exciting. As always, Hunter has crafted a fast-paced and all-too-plausible telling of our worst nightmares coming true. Ray Cruz is a worthy successor to Swagger. Hunter’s fans, along with new readers, will enjoy the violent battle between Cruz and the bad guys.”
-- Library Journal
Take an afternoon to read Soft Target. It will be an afternoon well spent.