1985: Violent Screen

1995 Violent Screen (Bantam Doubleday Dell) Baltimore Sun film critic Stephen Hunter is an unrivaled master of the craft. This extraordinary collection includes the best of Hunter’s movie reviews, taking aim at the 100 most important (or notorious) violent films released since 1982. With an incisive, machine-gun style of writing, Hunter pulls no punches when he bashes Blue Velvet, Tombstone, and Legends of the Fall. And he doesn’t hold back in his praise of The Wild Bunch, GoodFellas, and Reservoir Dogs. Commenting on movies and society, Tarantino, Stone, and Peckinpah, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, and Glenn Close, Hunter cuts right to the bone in exposing our flaws, fantasies, and flat-out love affair with blood and gore. His reviews are classics, and this collection is a straight shot of pure adrenaline – an electrifying jolt of truth and insight no moviegoer can ignore.

1985: Target

An anomaly in the biblio-history of Stephen Hunter. This paperback-only book is a novelization of the movie “Target” which starred Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon, and was produced by Zanuck Brown and Arthur Penn. It is a surprisingly good book, written at at interesting ‘turning point’ in Hunter’s novelist career. Although he was under contract to merely ‘novelize’ a movie, he wove in characters (in supporting roles) that you’ll recognize from his other books. Target is long out of print, and copies are expensive, when you can find them.

Walter Lloyd. Middle-American. Easy-going Texan. Soon to face the biggest test of his life when his past comes to haunt him with a vengeance.Donna Lloyd. Housewife. Kidnapping victim. She’d do anything for her family. Now she’ll learn that they’ll do anything for her. Chris Lloyd. Twenty years old, he though he knew the old man inside and out. Now, hunted by hit-men and mysterious agents across the face of Europe, he’ll discover who and what his father really is…

1985: The Spanish Gambit

Hunter switched publishers to Crown for this book and moved to another publisher for his next hardback four years later. It was re-released as a paperback with the new title “Tapestry of Spies” in January 1997 by Island Books. Hunter sets this tale of spies and counterspies in the Spanish Civil War. Interestingly, the inside cover of the paperback re-release attributes the short review “Constantly surprising” to the Washington Post! From the back cover of the ’97 edition:

Julian Raines was a golden boy from Eton, a renowned young poet who fled into the Spanish Civil War. Robert Florry was once Raine’s friend. Now he is being blackmailed by British Intelligence into hunting down his old friend in Spain. MI-6 says Julian Raines has turned KGB spy.The whorehouses of Barcelona are jammed. The bars are filled with laughter, and the streets are running with wine and blood. In the chaos, Robert Florry will find his old friend, unaware that a noose of espionage, psychological terror, and murder is being tightened around them by masters of the craft. A Soviet agent named the Devil Himself has gone rogue; an American mobster turned secret policeman is after a missing gold shipment; and all the rules have changed. Now there’s only one way out of Spain: on a path of terror, lies and blood.

1982: The Second Saladin

1982 – The Second Saladin This was Hunter’s second – and last – novel for William Morrow & Company, and was set in a much more modern environment. From the back cover of the paperback:

A second chance…In the windswept sands of the Middle East, Paul Chardy fought side by side with Ulu Beg: one, a charismatic, high-strung CIA covert warrior, the other a ferocious freedom fighter. Then Chardy fell into the hands of the enemy, and Beg was betrayed. Now the two men are about to meet again.

A second gun… Beg has come over the Mexican border under a hail of bullets–determined to assassinate a leading American political figure and avenge his people’s betrayal. The CIA wants Chardy to stop the hit. Chardy wants to save Beg’s life.

The Second Saladin… Between the two men is a tragic past, a failed mission, and a woman who knew them in war–and who knows their secrets now. Around both men is a conspiracy of lies and violence that reaches back to the Cold War. But as Beg moves in for his kill and as Chardy breaks loose from his handlers, a terrible truth begins to emerge: somewhere, someone wants both men to die.

1980: The Master Sniper

Hunter’s first – and most sought after by fine book collectors – novel was based on his fascination with World War Two events. Every few years he would set a major swath of a novel within those events, clear up to 2021’s WWII war thriller Basil’s War.

This book was published by William Morrow and Company, then re-released as a paperback in 1996 by Island Books. From the dust jacket:

London, 1945. It has become evident to an office-bound American intelligence analyst, James Leets of the OSS, that deep within the Third Reich one last operation is being planned. Leets doesn’t know much but what he does know terrifies him: it will involve a special man and a special rifle. The man is Repp, of the Waffen SS, of Totenkopf, the Death’s Head Division – Repp, whose bravery and resolve are legendary, and who is called the “Master Sniper.” Repp is the very best in his profession. But the stakes involved are huge, even for Repp.”He’s going to kill somebody. Somebody big,” Leets tells his boss, Tony Outhwaite of British Intelligence. “He’s going to snipe him.”But who?”

Thus begins an extraordinary suspenseful journey across the face of a war and into the deep part of the human heart where the will to murder lurks…