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Ray Cruz Books In Order

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Publication Order of Ray Cruz Books

Well known for his work as a film critic of great repute throughout the years, with a Pulitzer Prize under his belt, Stephen Hunter has also been gaining attention in recent years for his warmly received ‘Ray Cruz’ series of novels. Having only produced two so far, there’s still more to come from the influential American author in regards to this particular series of books. Well versed within this particular field of expertise, Hunter is an author that’s known for his knowledge of the thriller genre, thanks to his in-depth analysis of films. This has led to him creating a series that displays its own sense of cinematic quality in how the action is handled.

Featuring the exploits of one Ray Cruz, these books look into his career as they follow on in the ‘Bobby Lee Swagger’ series of books. Operating as a spin-off from that, they work as their own set of books, in what can also be considered as books seven and eight of the Swagger series. Ray Cruz, ex-marine sniper who’s as deadly as he is skilled, steps into the action filled with high-stakes and intrigue and he has his own story to tell.

Dead Zero

The first of the two books, this was originally published in 2010 on the 28th of December and was to be the beginning of the standalone books revolving around Ray Cruz. Although this was technically the seventh book in the Bob Lee Swagger series as well, it works as a piece setting up the character of Cruz as his own protagonist with his own set of issues and personality traits. Creating the tone, it goes about taking the overall franchise in a somewhat different direction to what has come before, establishing a whole new environment this time round.

Starting with what appears to be a mission for Bob Lee Swagger, the sniper veteran, it soon transpires that there’s one man that may actually be able to out-shoot him, matching him in both skills and wits. That man is none other than Ray Cruz, the sole survivor of Whiskey 2-2; a mission gone horribly wrong. Known by his nickname ‘the cruise missile’ he’s a man who always vows to get the job done, and this mission is no different. He will get the mission completed at whatever cost and he’s going to do it whatever the situation, as nothing will get in his way. Badly wounded he looks like he’s going to get the job finished, and it’s only when a blast mysteriously takes out the building which he’s supposed to be hiding in that he’s prevented from doing so. Leaving a crater of thirty feet where the building was supposed to be, days then eventually turn to months as time passes. During this time the target of Cruz, one Ibrahim Zarzi who was dubbed ‘The Beheader’ during his reign of terror, is deemed an important asset by the American government. As he’s getting dubbed a hero by Washington a transmission comes through stating that ‘the mission will be completed’ as they all soon realize Cruz is back to finish what he started. That’s when Swagger is called in to stop him. Soon Swagger starts questioning his own mission though as he starts to realize the truth behind it all and what really happened.

Will Ray Cruz get the job done or will Swagger manage to stop him in time as their missions go head-to-head in a battle of wills? Can they prevent anymore casualties happening in the process, whilst simultaneously keeping themselves out of harm’s way? What will become of them both and what is the truth behind Zarzi?

Soft Target

Following on from the last book with an all new action packed adventure for the eponymous protagonist, this novel was initially published on the 6th of December, 2011, and continued in much the same tone as the original. Further establishing the character of Ray Cruz, the series sees him depart further from the Bobby Lee Swagger series, as it finally becomes more of series of its own, instead of simply being a spin-off. It also works to develop some new themes that hadn’t previously been introduced before, taking the franchise even further whilst still respecting the rules of the genre simultaneously.

Stepping out of the picture pretty much altogether this time, Bob Lee stands aside to allow Ray Cruz a full adventure all of his own, thus giving his personality room for breathing space. Now a retired sniper, Cruz is enjoying a day shopping with his fiancee along with her family when he’s soon pulled back into the action he thought he’d left behind him. It appears that on this busy day a group of terrorists have other plans for the thousands of customers going about their shopping there. They didn’t count on one thing though, and that one thing just happens to be Ray Cruz. Without a gun or any weapons he quickly has to arm himself to take out the threat, thus neutralizing the situation and protecting the legions of innocent customers held against their will within the mall. Helping him out though is the FBI sniper Dave McElroy, who’s positioned upon the adjacent roof from them.

Will Cruz be able to stop the threat in time that’s endangering both him, his family and the many other customers there? Can he find out what this group calling themselves the ‘Brigade Mumbai’ want? What will become of them all as they attempt to pick on a group that first appears a soft target?

Ray Cruz Series

What Hunter does he does well, with his high-stakes action and in-depth characters that are developed over the series, playing off one another from novel to novel. Each of his personalities are larger than life, as he knows the limits of his conventions, yet is able to push them simultaneously. This is something his many readers have come to find over the years as well. Well versed in the action genre, he will continue to write his fiction as he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. With more stories and novels apparently on the horizon, this is something that will continue on into the foreseeable future.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Ray Cruz

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