Somewhere within this concrete block of a novel, under the preposterously-macho dialogue, away from the run-on sentences filled with description upon description upon description, not to mention the chapters worth of the intricacies involved with the breaking down of firearms, there lays a cool, fast story of historical fiction playing out a hard-as-balls Agent and his hunt of a wilily, rascal of a bank-robber. To find that story, brother, break out the chisels and jackhammers, as it’s a deep dig.
G-Man places the fictional character of Charles Swagger right into the state of play between the burgeoning FBI and a series of public enemies on the prowl in the early 1930s, such as the likes of John Dillinger and Baby-Face Nelson. Author Stephen Hunter adds to this narrative a present-day tale of Swagger’s grandson, Bob, and his quest to uncover the mystery of his grandfather. Both tales, alone and inter-twined, make for great pulp, crime fiction. Hunter unfortunately burdens that plot, something that should be hip, and light, and full of that post-1920s swing, with the procedurals of an old man telling a young whippersnapper the right way a task should be done.
Maybe this is simply Hunter’s style that I, as the reader and reviewer, have not previously been privy to. However, as a reader and reviewer, I found his unyielding verbiage to be unnecessarily weighty, making for a dull read. And a release from an author named Hunter, featuring a character named Swagger, and with the cover boasting a fedora-clad agent bearing down with a Tommy gun, should be anything but dull.
A hail of bullets in thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.