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1994 – Dirty White Boys

Literary Guild Featured Selection

A Bob Lee Swagger book – sort of.

They busted out of McAlester State Penitentiary–three escaped convicts going to ground in a world unprepared for anything like them….Lamar Pye is prince of the Dirty White Boys. With a lion in his soul, he roars–for he is the meanest, deadliest animal on the loose…. Odell is Lamar’s cousin, a hulking manchild with unfeeling eyes. He lives for daddy Lamar. Surely he will die for him….Richard’s survival hangs on a sketch: a crude drawing of a lion and a half-naked woman. For this Lamar has let Richard live…

Armed to the teeth, Lamar and his boys have cut a path of terror across the Southwest, and pushed one good cop into a crisis of honor and conscience. Trooper Bud Pewtie should have died once at Lamar’s hands. Now they’re about to meet again. And this time, only one of them will walk away….


They busted out of McAlester State Penitentiary–three escaped convicts going to ground in a world unprepared for anything like them….Lamar Pye is prince of the Dirty White Boys. With a lion in his soul, he roars–for he is the meanest, deadliest animal on the loose…. Odell is Lamar’s cousin, a hulking manchild with unfeeling eyes. He lives for daddy Lamar. Surely he will die for him….Richard’s survival hangs on a sketch: a crude drawing of a lion and a half-naked woman. For this Lamar has let Richard live…

Armed to the teeth, Lamar and his boys have cut a path of terror across the Southwest, and pushed one good cop into a crisis of honor and conscience. Trooper Bud Pewtie should have died once at Lamar’s hands. Now they’re about to meet again. And this time, only one of them will walk away….

Stephen Hunter on Dirty White Boys:I had a hunger – literally, a taste in my mouth – for a work that would be starker, more driven, than my earlier books. I knew also that I wanted it ‘American’ somehow. I wanted a plot that gripped like a vise, expressed in a voice of lyric plainness. I wanted lots of violence, gunfights so incandescent they felt like fever dreams and left you sweaty. And when someone died, I wanted you to feel the pain.What I saw was a modern Western lawman, a state trooper; I saw boots and Berettas; I saw his family and his struggle to be a decent man at war with his impulses to be a satisfied one. I knew his name would be Bud. And I knew he’d be hunting an escaped convict.

And I saw that man, too – Lamar Pye. He was everything other men secretly admire: He was as without fear as he was without remorse. In a kinder world, he’d have been a great soldier, an athlete. In the world into which he was born, he’d become a criminal, a bad, bad boy who would know only one thing about life: what to do next.

With these two men – competing priests in the cult of manhood – the book took off and wrote itself. I wasn’t its author but its recording secretary.


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30 Responses to “1994 – Dirty White Boys”

  1. Gringo Says:

    Like many Hunter fans, I read “Point of Impact” first. It had been out for a few years but I didn’t even know it.
    I’m now REreading all of the Swagger (Dad&Son) books and am getting even more out of them the second time around.
    My favorite though is “Dirty White Boys”.
    I think it would make a great movie except that it would have to rival “Gone With the Wind” in length.

    I really liked all of ‘em, including the one NOT listed on this site, “Havana”.

    Gringo/Downingtown, Pa

  2. CJ Says:

    Do you know the order of his Earl/Swagger novels? I know it says on sites, but incorrectly. I wanna know what’s a sequel or prequal to what in both the Earl swagger and Bob Swagger series.

  3. admin Says:

    Here you go.

  4. mike Says:

    Is Vern Pye from NIGHT OF THUNDER related to Lamar Pye from DIRTY WHITE BOYS?

  5. Angela Rudin Says:

    Hi. Can anyone tell me how Dirty White Boys is related to Bob Lee Swagger? The only relationship between them I can see is that at the end of Hot Springs when Earl is holding baby Bob Lee and the two boys appear and he gets them lemonade. They are Bub and Jimmy Pye. Any advice?

  6. Dan Says:

    Angela, the connection is made in two places. The first one you found is at the end of Hot Springs like you mentioned. You then have to read Black Light which sheds more light on the Earl and Bob Swagger connection to Dirty White Boys.

  7. Southern Bell Says:

    Angela;

    You need to read Black Light it ties so many things together and you go ‘ah-ha’ a lot because you finally realize stuff. SH should have called Black Light ‘Crystal Clear’

    To make it short it IS related to Earl and Bob Lee Swagger :)

  8. Shannon Branch Says:

    If we look at it throughout the history of all the books Earl and Bob Lee have killed some kin over the years.

  9. William Bennett Says:

    I’ve read all of Mr. Hunter’s books. Dirty White Boys was, in my opinion, the best. I say this because the characters were a bit more three dimensional than in some of his other novels, everything flowed very smoothly, and the bad guys were both credible as bad guys and REALLY BAD. Except for some of the characters who carry on into his other novels, this story sort of stands alone.

    I hope Mr. Hunter writes another novel using Bud Pewtie’s son as the main character. Let Bobby Lee Swagger take a supporting role for a change. Best wishes to all.

  10. Jason Lewis Says:

    All I can say is wow what a book DIRTY WHITE BOYS I think it would make a great movie for a director like Rob Zombie, Quinton Terontino or Robert Rodrigez !!!! Remember me Mr. Hunter cause i think if ether one of these directors touched it, it would make millions!!! Maybe its just me I read it 3 times

  11. Matt_Rogers Says:

    I agree this book should be a movie. I can't think of a more memorable 'villain' than Lamar Pye, even including Hannibal Lecter. The juxtaposition between Bud and Lamar and their 'families' was just fantastic. I'm a hopeful novelist myself and this is one of the works I look up to and take inspiration from. Great job, Mr. Hunter!

  12. paul Says:

    lamar pye is the bst character ever to be bad guy,if stephen hunter ever decides to write about lamar in prison i would be a very happy man indeed.
    could you imagine what lamar would have been like had he been to the 'nam'now that is my fantasy story so come on mr hunter use a little poetic license and produce another lamar pye story please.

  13. Mike J Says:

    What would really make me happy is to see Frenchy Short get his just desserts from Bob

  14. Kennedy Says:

    Dirty white Boys is a masterpiece in violence and payback.

  15. paul Says:

    frenchy short should double cross lamar and suffer the consequences,lamar is bob the nailer without remorse.

  16. Kid Noise Says:

    I read DWB first then went back to POI and finally BL… I came to SH after an online recommendation from Will Beall, the author of LA Rex (another novel that I think many readers of SH would highly enjoy) and haven't looked back.

    Just finished the Earl trilogy of HS/PHC and H and am in the first few pages of TTH. My only complaint (and biggest compliment) is that once I start a SH novel I literally can NOT get anything else accomplished until I finish reading it! SH certainly exhibits a real expertise at ratcheting up the tension until the smoke rolls off your forehead (in my most recent example- the finale- or dare I say- the coup de grace of "Havana."

    Kudos to Mr. Hunter (and our webmaster) for their efforts in behalf of this grateful reader. I wish my beloved late uncle, William V. (a Korean combat veteran) who shared my love of thrillers, had also had the opportunity to discover Earl, Bud, and Bob Lee.

  17. Kris Says:

    This was my first Hunter novel. It was recommened in the letters page of the PREACHER comic by it’s writer Garth Ennis: “Read the first line and if you do not buy it, I will buy it for you” (HEAVILY paraphrased!)… This is one of the best recommendations ever as Hunter has become a favorite author and I devour his books. I read “Dirty…” then “Point Of Impact” and “Black Light” right after. I loved making the connections between the Swagger character in “POI” and his father only briefly mentioned here. The gunplay writing in this is a REVELATION. You really feel the fear and frenzy of bullets flying in every direction.

    Lamar’s description to Richard for his future tatoo: “He’s a lion…” is one of the greatest lines in all of literature! Hahaha! Lamar is that great character that is just BAD, but you enjoy how good he is at it! You are rooting for Bud because he is on the side of “right,” but you kinda want him to get kicked in the nuts, too…

  18. manny garcia Says:

    could you list the chronological order of all earl & bobby lee’s adventure

  19. mike lawrence Says:

    I picked up DWB at the library before I knew how good the author was. I thought it would be a slam against gun and country people so I put it back on the shelf. How wrong can one person be?

    The best thing about Hunter country is the lines and images that stay with you and make you want to go back to them again and again. If the first line of this one does not grab you, you may be as wrong as I was, once.

    Eventually, the Pyes and Grumleys (see Hot Springs)lose. The real life Swaggers and Pewties, flawed as they are, leaving casualties along the way, are the reason. . They are the backbone of this great country, and Hunter is as good at telling their story as we have today.

    (If you think there are no real Earl or Bob Swagger google “John Basilone medal of honor citation”)

  20. Tim Warner Says:

    I just finished DWBs. The climactic battle at the end had me short of breath,palms sweaty, heart beating fast. And I’m 59yrs old! Needless to say, Mr. Hunter is one of the best fiction writers whom I’ve read . I just recently discovered him. I’m on my third book of his now – Point of Impact – and a total fan. I can tell when someone enjoys and is dedicated to the craft of writing.

  21. Nancy H Smith Says:

    Just finished listening to I, Sniper. Went searching internet for a place to put my comments. Found this one! Yeah! Also found several comments about the inaccuracies of I, Sniper. If you have a way of letting Stephen Hunter know that there is a 63 year old lady who first found his book, Dirty White Boys, riveting escapism style exciting and fell in thrall to his Swagger characters, it would be appreciated. He is the first author since Frank Yerby that I have followed so closely. Thank you for listening. I hope anyone taking the time to read this will understand the adjectives used to describe and defend his work.

  22. Mitchell K Miller Says:

    I have read all of Mr. Hunter’s novels and they will rob you of sleep so beware! He reaches out and grabs you and doesn’t let go. I like them all very much and Earl and Bob Swagger are my favorite good – guy characters.
    That brings us to Lamar Pye. The best bad guy of all time. Dirty White Boys is still my absolute favorite by SH. Still can’t believe Tarantino hasn’t filmed it.
    Just finished 47th Samurai. Outstanding, as usual. In Minneapolis we have a great Japanese restaurant just down the street that has excellent saki served piping hot. Thank You for reminding me Mr. Hunter!

  23. Terry McDaniel Says:

    Dirty White Boys was very interesting to me, as I grew up in Oklahoma, and have been to all the places mentioned in the book. I lived in Lawton for about 7 years. Mr. Hunter has done most of his geography studies quite well, but I have to point out: Geronimo, OK is not 45 miles from Lawton. If it had been I couldn’t have lived in Lawton and attended high school at Geronimo. :-) Also, Mr. Hunter mentions the existence of tattoo parlors along Ft. Sill Blvd. Oklahoma did not have tattoo parlors (at least legal ones) in the time period of the book. I’m guessing late ’70′s or early 80′s.

    Neither of these discrepencies detract from the book, I still enjoyed it very much, and I doubt more than a fraction of a percent of readers noticed it anyway.

  24. ash ganley Says:

    I have read this book at least four times. I cannot believe it has not been made into a movie. I am constantly thinking about casting it…director…all that. It’s starting to drive me crazy, it needs to happen. The characters are the most ‘fleshed out’ in any crime novel I have ever read… it is so spot on…of all the books I have read that have not been made into movies, this one is by far the most deserving.

  25. Jesse Says:

    This was definetly my favorite, but was also my first to read have been hooked ever since.

  26. Lawton Native Says:

    I never read a book cover to cover until I picked up this book while, needless to say, had quite a bit of downtime. I’m from Lawton, Oklahoma And very familiar with the surrounding areas all described down to the time it takes to get from point A to point B. This book grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go till its over. I’m not a novel expert but I know I’m going to read all of Stephen Hunters novels from now on.

  27. Lawton Native Says:

    @Terry, you are right about Geronimo. Although there were actual tattoo shops on ft sill blvd, along with several “massage” parlors and quite a few girlie bars as said in the book. It was called “the strip”. Tattoos and titty bars were legal in city limits back in the 80′s in Oklahoma.

  28. Anthony Passero Says:

    I just reread “Dirty White Boys” for the 3rd time. What a good read. Mr. Hunter please go back to your roots as your last 2 novels just Plain Sucked.

  29. Michael aka Northern Thunder Says:

    I have read two Stephen Hunter novels now and I am no longer a fan: I am addicted. As of now, I am on a quest for my next fix. I collect (to keep and reread) books that impress me so I already had Time To Hunt (read it twice over a year ago) When I spotted Dirty White Boys I didn’t immediately associate the author as the same. My bad. What I was most impressed by was the underlying primeval desire of Lamar Pye to be a loving family man despite the cards he had been dealt. That child who needs love to cling to must still be there even in the worst of humankind. Improperly nurtured, that seed may grow into a Lamar Pye or a Ted Bundy but it is still one of the trees of the forest, no matter how gnarled.

  30. Kris Says:

    I’ve read everything by Hunter (except the non-fiction; can’t find it at the library) and purchased most of his novels. Dirty White Boys was a solid First Place until The Third Bullet came out. Dirty White Boys definitely deserves a movie — why, with all the crap in theaters today, would anyone waste $ making silly shoot-em-ups with comic book characters when Lamarr Pye deserves a starring role? I’ve gotten several people hooked on Hunter through this book. It’s one of his strongest and just about impossible to put down.

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