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Full Name: Bob Lee Swagger
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Other - Former Sniper

Creator: Stephen Hunter
Time Span: 1993 - 2021


Bob Lee Swagger is a former U.S. Marine Sniper.

Born in 1946 and raised in Polk County, Arkansas, Swagger is the son of a Medal of Honor winner named Earl Swagger, a State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty when the young boy was 9 years old.

When he was old enough, Swagger followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Marines. He was trained to be a sniper and during his three tours in Vietnam with the CIA's Special Operations department, he earned the nickname of 'Bob the Nailer'. [According to Wikipedia, he was officially credited with 87 combat kills but in reality actually dispatched nearly 400.]

Receiving a wound in the hip towards the end of that conflict, Swagger would retired from the Marines with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant but the depression that followed would bring on far too much drinking, resulting in the break-up of his second marriage.

For the next decade and a half, he would live an almost hermit-like existence back home. When the events told in the first recorded adventure take place, his attitude is forced to change and his life starts anew.

The adventures of Swagger are part of this compendium because, while he is not a spy or would want to be considered one, he seems to find himself in the middle of governmental intrigue and having to deal with or against operatives in a wide variety of alphabet agencies.

The many stories related to Swagger run a wide gamut of times and places and events. Some look back to his father and the escapades he had. One even goes a generation further back to the grandfather Swagger never knew. Yet another lets the readers know about the son that Swagger lost as an infant during his time serving in Vietnam. And many move the life of Swagger along in a fascinating and quite varied journey.


Number of Books:12
First Appearance:1993
Last Appearance:2021

1 Point of Impact Point of Impact
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 1993

Approached to assist in preventing an assassination attempt on the President by a Soviet sniper who helped end his career, Bob Lee Swagger reluctantly agrees and then finds himself framed for the act and on the run.
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1.1 Dirty White Boys Dirty White Boys
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 1994

Tangentially related to the series, this novel talks of a murderer who escapes from prison and races across the state with his mentally handicapped brother spreading destruction as they go. Mention is made of the episode many years before in which Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl, was killed in the line of duty as a State Trooper.
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2 Black Light Black Light
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 1996

A combination of stories involving Bob Lee Swagger's personal look into the case that took the life of his father, Earl Swagger, a State Trooper, three decades before.
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3 Time To Hunt Time To Hunt
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 1998

The sniper that many years before ended Bob Lee Swagger's military career and took the life of his good friend, Fenn, is back and posing an immediate threat to Swagger and his wife and daughter.
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3.1 Hot Springs Hot Springs
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2000

The first of several books about Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl. The action takes place just after WWII in the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the DA is determined to break the hold of organized crime and asks Earl, a former marine, to spearhead the charge.
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3.2 Pale Horse Coming Pale Horse Coming
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2001

The second book about Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl. In 1951, a friend of Earl Swagger is asked to investigate possible trouble in a remote Mississippi town that houses a prison for black convicts. When that friend disappears, Earl decides he has to check into things himself.
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3.3 Havana Havana
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2003

The third book about Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl. It is 1953 and Earl Swagger reluctantly allows himself to be talked by the CIA into heading to Havana to look into the nascent activities of a lawyer named Castro and the unrest he is inciting.
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4 The 47th Samurai The 47th Samurai
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2007

During the battle of Iwo Jima in which Bob Lee Swagger's father, Earl, won his Medal of Honor, Earl also took as a war souvenir the sword of a slain Japanese officer. Decades later, the son of that warrior comes to Idaho to ask Swagger's help in recovering it. It turns out the sword is far more valuable than Swagger or the son realize and there are many who would kill to possess it.
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5 Night of Thunder Night of Thunder
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2008

The Sinnerman is a psycho killer in Tennessee who likes to use his car as his weapon of choice. When that man goes after Bob Lee Swagger's daughter, an investigative reporter, and nearly kills her, he gets a very dangerous and angry father on his trail.
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6 I, Sniper I, Sniper
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2009

Four radicals of the 60s have been shot down by a sniper. All evidence points to a decorated sniper named Hitchcock and his suicide seems to close the case. The FBI asks Bob Lee Swagger to examine the evidence just to confirm but Swagger comes up with a different conclusion - the real killer is still out there.
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7 Dead Zero Dead Zero
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2010

An Afghan war lord is the target of a US hit squad named Whiskey 2-2. One of that group is a sniper named Ray Cruz. When the assault is detected, all but Cruz are killed. Now, a few months later, the war lord is considered a friend of the US and is being brought to America to be honored. A message is intercepted saying that Whiskey 2-2 is back in action and ready to finish the mission. Bob Lee Swagger is brought in to stop Cruz but the more he learns of the Afghan target, the less he likes.
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8 The Third Bullet The Third Bullet
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2013

The wife of a writer working on another book about the JFK assassination comes to Bob Lee Swagger for help in looking into the murder of her husband. At first Swagger is not interested but when she reveals some very interesting facts about his death and the decades-old killing, Swagger changes his mind. That now makes him a possible target as well.
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9 Sniper's Honor Sniper's Honor
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2014

Ludmilla “Mili” Petrova was a woman who was hunted by both Hitler and Stalin during WWII. She is considered by some to be that conflicts greatest sniper but her role in history is almost erased. A modern reporter is out to learn more and asks the help of Bob Lee Swagger. Swagger is in turn very curious why such an important Soviet figure would have been so on the outs with her government and what really did happen to make her disappear.
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10 G-Man G-Man
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2017

Back during the Depression, the new FBI was charged with stomping out the reign of bank-robbing hoodlums. They called upon the sheriff of Polk County, Arkansas, to help in one particular case. That lawman was Charles Swagger. Eighty years later, Bob Lee Swagger finds a strongbox containing memorabilia from the time and begins to wonder what happened to his grandfather and why his own father, Earl, never talked about him.
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11 Game Of Snipers Game Of Snipers
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2019

"When Bob Lee Swagger is approached by a woman who lost a son to war and has spent the years since risking all that she has to find the sniper who pulled the trigger, he knows right away he'll do everything in his power to help her. But what begins as a favor becomes an obsession, and soon Swagger is back in the action, teaming up with the Mossad, the FBI, and local American law enforcement as he tracks a sniper who is his own equal...and attempts to decipher that assassin's ultimate target before it's too late."
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12 Targeted Targeted
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2021

"After his successful takedown of a dangerous terrorist, Bob Lee Swagger learns that no good deed goes unpunished. Summoned to court by the United States Congress, Swagger is accused of reckless endangerment by a hardheaded anti-gun congresswoman. But what begins as political posturing soon turns deadly when the auditorium where the committee is being held is attacked.
Swagger, the congresswoman, and numerous bystanders are taken hostage by a group of violent criminals. Soon, the very people who had accused him are depending on him to save their lives."
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Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:2007
Last Appearance:2007

1 Shooter Shooter
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Jonathan Lemkin
Actors: Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger, Danny Glover as Colonel Johnson, Kate Mara as Sarah Fenn
Released: 2007

A more modern version of the first Bob Lee Swagger book, it tells how the ex-soldier is approached by a former commander to help figure out the most likely site for an assassination attempt. When it goes off, the killing is blamed on Swagger and he must go on the lam to prove his innocence.


Number of Episodes:18
First Appearance:2016
Last Appearance:2018

Ryan PhillippeBob Lee Swagger [ 1-2 ]
Omar EppsColonel Johnson [ 1-2 ]
Shantel VanSantenJulie Swagger [ 1-2 ]

Another version of the initial Bob Lee Swagger adventure, this USA Network series provides an ongoing serial into Swagger's adventures.

Season 1 was based on the book Point Of Impact.

Season 2 was based on the book Time To Hunt.

Season 3 was based on the book Black Light.

Note: The data is derived from two terrific sites that I visit a lot: and Special thanks to those who maintain such terrific source of information.

Note: Plots are taken from the much appreciated entry on Wikipedia.

1 Point of Impact
Episode 1-1, first aired 11/15/2016
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writers: John Hlavin, Jonathan Lemkin

Bob Lee Swagger, a retired Marine Corps sniper, is approached by Isaac, his former captain, now in the US Secret Service, to do some security work before the President's visit to Seattle. His job is to scout the venues for possible sniper nests due to credible threat. However, he is unable to prevent the shot from being taken; the visiting Ukrainian president is killed and Bob Lee is the fall guy. Nadine, a disgraced FBI agent, arrests him.

2 Exfiltration
Episode 1-2, first aired 11/22/2016
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writer: John Hlavin

Awaiting arraignment, Bob Lee has to stay alive in federal prison, while the conspirators are trying to get him killed. During one of those botched attempts, Bob Lee manages to escape. He vows to do what he does best: hunt.

3 Musa Qala
Episode 1-3, first aired 11/29/2016
Director: Roxann Dawson
Writer: Adam E. Fierro

Since Bob Lee is out in the world, he's the subject of a manhunt. He is able to tell his wife that Isaac is part of the conspiracy and later gets help from a friend at the VA to fake his own death and become a ghost. He trusts Nadine with this secret.

4 Overwatch
Episode 1-4, first aired 12/06/2016
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writers: T.J. Brady, Rasheed Newson

In flashbacks, Isaac is saved by Bob Lee in Afghanistan in a plot to snatch a warlord for the CIA. Meanwhile, the conspirators try to silence Nadine, who started asking the wrong questions, though Bob Lee is just in time to save her.

5 Recon by Fire
Episode 1-5, first aired 12/13/2016
Director: Adam Davidson
Writer: Dara Resnik

Bob Lee finds the original bullet used in the assassination and traces it back to a fringe militia. Even though they aren't the source for the bullet, they are preparing for something nefarious and Bob Lee stops them.

6 Killing Zone
Episode 1-6, first aired 12/20/2016
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writer: Matt Bosack

Bob Lee follows the breadcrumbs the bullet left to his former instructor, O'Brien. He tells Bob Lee to find the "black kings", one of only four sniper rifles capable of making the shot. He gives Bob Lee his own black king after they both deal with a clandestine outfit the conspirators send on their path called "Annex B". Nadine is finally able to convince her boss at the FBI some things aren't adding up.

7 Danger Close
Episode 1-7, first aired 12/27/2016
Director: Christoph Schrewe
Writer: Tim Talbott

Bob Lee crosses the country to find the shooter while Julie deals with a family betrayal. Meanwhile, Nadine contacts a Ukrainian reporter who can explain the conspiracy. Also, Isaac questions his allegiance.

8 Red on Red
Episode 1-8, first aired 01/03/2017
Director: Kevin Bray
Writer: Matthew Newman

Bob Lee and Nadine weave a plan to secure the evidence that could expose the conspiracy. Meanwhile, Isaac gropes for an exit strategy, Payne tries to flee, and Julie and Mary face grave danger.

9 Ballistic Advantage
Episode 1-9, first aired 01/10/2017
Director: Christoph Schrewe
Writers: T.J. Brady, Rasheed Newson

Bob Lee must broker a dangerous exchange in order to save his family. Meanwhile, Nadine struggles to balance her allegiance to Bob Lee and the FBI. Later, Isaac strikes a tenuous deal for his freedom.

10 Primer Contact
Episode 1-10, first aired 01/17/2017
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writer: John Hlavin

Bob Lee, Julie, Nadine, and Isaac must work together to breach the Russian Embassy, save Mary, shut down the conspiracy and its remaining players, and prove Bob Lee is innocent once and for all.

11 The Hunting Party
Episode 2-1, first aired 07/18/2017
Director: Yuval Adler
Writer: John Hlavin

In the season premiere, Bob Lee Swagger and wife Julie join his former Marine unit in Germany and narrowly escape a deadly terrorist attack. FBI Agent Nadine Memphis, meanwhile, takes a job in Washington with Patricia Gregson.

12 Remember the Alamo
Episode 2-2, first aired 07/25/2017
Director: Yuval Adler
Writer: Will Staples

Bob Lee investigates the terrorist attack that may have targeted his Marine unit. Memphis helps on the ground in Germany. Flashbacks to Afghanistan help shed light on who might be after them.

13 Don't Mess with Texas
Episode 2-3, first aired 08/01/2017
Director: Jaime Reynoso
Writers: T.J. Brady, Rasheed Newson

Bob Lee finds Isaac Johnson in Texas after an attempt on his life. Nadine discovers just how much influence Patricia Gregson wields, and a traumatized Julie fights to stay strong for her family.

14 The Dark End of the Street
Episode 2-4, first aired 08/08/2017
Director: David Straiton
Writer: Kate Barnow

Bob Lee and Isaac learn who the world's greatest assassin is in the U.S. Flashbacks to a mission in Afghanistan reveal his identity: Solotov. Nadine comes to Texas with suspicions of a conspiracy.

15 The Man Called Noon
Episode 2-5, first aired 08/15/2017
Director: Lukas Ettlin
Writers: Jennifer Cacicio, John Hlavin

Bob Lee works to piece together Solotov's motive for targeting their unit. Nadine uncovers a surprise witness to the event that set everything off. Solotov's hunt has him hiding in plain sight.

16 Across the Rio Grande
Episode 2-6, first aired 08/22/2017
Director: David Straiton
Writer: Matthew Newman

Bob Lee tracks Solotov's money, pitting himself against a Mexican cartel. Nadine helps a journalist investigate a cover-up involving Bob Lee's unit. Julie shoots a guy's ear off with a gun to vent her frustration.

17 Someplace Like Bolivia
Episode 2-7, first aired 08/29/2017
Director: Chloe Domont
Writer: John Hlavin

Bob Lee and Isaac must team up to escape a Mexican prison before Solotov finds them. As Nadine digs deeper into Atlas, the cover-up points back to Bob Lee's unit. Julie has problems with the law.

18 That'll Be the Day
Episode 2-8, first aired 09/05/2017
Director: Jaime Reynoso
Writer: Scott Gold

Bob Lee tries to draw Solotov into the open, but realizes the Chechen holds the upper hand. Flashbacks reveal the origins of Solotov, while Isaac is courted by his creator in the present.

19 Backroads
Episode S3-1, first aired 06/21/2018
Director: Jaime Reynoso
Writers: Rasheed Newson, T.J. Brady

Flashbacks to a childhood trauma plague Bob Lee as he's held hostage with Isaac and Julie in pursuit. Nadine confronts a corrupt senator.

20 Red Meat
Episode S3-2, first aired 06/28/2018
Director: David Straiton
Writer: John Hlavin

Determined to find the truth about his father's death in 1988, Bob Lee starts to investigate. Harris gets dragged into Isaac and Nadine's predicament.

21 Sins of the Father
Episode S3-3, first aired 07/05/2018
Director: Amanda Marsalis
Writer: Amanda Segel

Harris gets on Bob Lee's nerves out on the road as they chase more leads. Nadine and Isaac locate a person of interest who may or may not be friendly.

22 The Importance of Service
Episode S3-4, first aired 07/12/2018
Director: Christopher Schrewe
Writer: Jennifer Cacicio

Bob Lee pays a visit to the Pooles after hearing a new rumour, and Julie follows a lead of her own. Isaac and Nadine pursue an Atlas target.

23 A Call to Arms
Episode S3-5, first aired 07/19/2018
Director: David Straiton
Writer: Matt Bosack

A visit to an old friend of his father's leads Bob Lee back to D.C., where he connects with Isaac, Nadine and Harris for a mission at a formal event.

24 Lines Crossed
Episode S3-6, first aired 07/26/2018
Director: Jessica Lowrey
Writers: T.J. Brady, Rasheed Newson

Bob Lee and Isaac visit a man who served with Earl in Vietnam. Nadine takes on a risky mission alone. Julie confronts the Bamas.

25 Swing Vote
Episode S3-7, first aired 08/02/2018
Director: Christoph Schrewe
Writers: Scott Gold, Tim Walsh

Bob Lee and Isaac track down a key contract at a psychiatric facility. Memphis looks for evidence at Gregson's house. Red Jr. makes an offer to Sam.

26 The Red Badge
Episode S3-8, first aired 08/09/2018
Director: Chloe Domont
Writer: John Hlavin

Bob Lee and Julie discover what Red Jr. wanted from Sam. Red Sr. ends up in a tough spot. Carlita, Harris, Isaac and Nadine plot their next move.

27 Alpha Dog
Episode S3-9, first aired 08/16/2018
Director: Hanelle Culpepper
Writer: Amanda Segel

Bob Lee's mission to track down Bama Jr. causes discord with Julie. Isaac and Nadine meet with the president's chief of staff

28 Orientation Day
Episode S3-10, first aired 08/23/2018
Director: David Straiton
Writers: Jennifer Cacicio, Desta Tedros Reff

A search for Carlita leads Bob Lee and Isaac to a remote Atlas outpost. Nadine and Harris put pressure on Brooks. Julie has an unsettling realization

29 Family Fire
Episode S3-11, first aired 08/30/2018
Director: Ami Canaan Mann
Writers: Eric Anderson, Matt Bosack

As Julie tries to keep Mary safe, Bob Lee sets his sights on Brooks. Nadine and Isaac develop a plan involving an Atlas recruit.

30 Patron Saint
Episode S3-12, first aired 09/06/2018
Director: Millicent Shelton
Writers: David Daitch, Katie Johnson, Matthew Newman

The U.S. president reaches out to Nadine and Harris for their assistance. Julie and Bob Lee have an emotional discussion. A new threat endangers D.C.

31 Red Light
Episode S3-13, first aired 09/13/2018
Director: David Straiton
Writer: John Hlavin

As Atlas and Red Bama attempt to execute desperate missions, Bob Lee tries to reconnect with Julie while getting dragged back into the fight.


Number of Books:1
First Appearance:2022
Last Appearance:2022

1 Bob Lee Swagger: A Mysterious Profile Bob Lee Swagger: A Mysterious Profile
Written by Stephen Hunter
Copyright: 2022

"Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Bob Lee Swagger debuted in Stephen Hunter’s military action thriller Point of Impact in 1993. The book was the first of many adventures for the fictional sniper and inspired a hit-movie, as well as a television series. But what led to the invention of such a character?
In this quick read, Hunter shares how “the Nailer” came to his kitchen table and subsequently sprang to life. Hunter discusses the real-life hero who served as his inspiration for Swagger, the development of his first villains, and the influence the television show Dragnet had on his writing. He also details how research helped shaped Swagger’s world, and explains what keeps him writing adventure after adventure."
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A movie that did not get much kind words from the critics but which I enjoyed a whole lot back in the mid 2000s got me interested in an author that up to then I had only seen on the bookstands. I had not yet picked up a Stephen Hunter book but kept "a-meanin' to". I really enjoyed that movie, taken from the first adventure, and I wanted to read more.

Now, the book told quite a different story since the movie had "updated" its timeframe. Nevertheless, I was hooked on Bob Lee Swagger. He was a touch older than I and had a whole lot more experiences than I did but I could relate. And being a sucker for great writing and getting it in the pages of this book, I kept reading.

I kinda read 'em out of order which is totally unlike me but there was a good reason. I did not read the sorta prequel, Dirty White Boys, or a couple of the Earl Swagger books until much later but until I got serious about possibly adding Swagger to the compendium, it did not seem to matter that much.

And I am adding him now because someone recently suggested him and as I was reconsidering, I decided "why not?". And since I love to add series written extremely well about very interesting characters, well, it became a "duh!" moment.


My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A++


dbuhler A++ 2023-03-04

Start with The Bullet Garden, 2023. If that does not hook you to the series, there is no hope for you. Swagger is a sniper, but also a spy and true patriot. Hunter is truly a great story teller

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