The Third Bullet

Mysterious Book Report 109

by John Dwaine McKenna

This November twenty-second will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president of the United   States.  For those of us who are old enough to remember that horrific day and its aftermath, it hardly seems possible that so much time has passed.  In the words of a popular song . . . I just looked around and he’s gone . . .

The President is gone, fifty years is gone, the Viet Nam War is gone, our innocence is gone . . . and our youth is gone. Now is the time we become reflective in our lives, with all us Baby Boomers reminiscing, and remembering; thinking about what happened, what went right and what went wrong in our lives.  The Kennedy Assassination is one of the monumental events of our collective life and times and as such, we can expect a plethora of shows, books and articles on the subject.  MBR No 109 is a fictionalized version of the events of November 22, 1963 without altering or contradicting any of the known and accepted facts of the Warren Commission, which investigated the shooting, or the two best pieces of investigative work about it: Case Closed, by Gerald Posner, and Reclaiming History, by Vincent Bugliosi.

The Third Bullet, Simon & Shuster, $26.99, 485 pages, ISBN 978-1-4516-4020-5) by Stephen Hunter is a lengthy and complex novel in which his iconic serial character named Bob Lee Swagger tries to solve the mystery of the third bullet, (the missing one) in the Kennedy Assassination.  Swagger is of course, the US Marine Sharpshooter we first met in Hunter’s novel I, Sniper.  Following up on a rumor after the hit and run death of a investigative journalist who was compiling new information about the assassination of JFK, and using an old overcoat found in the Dallas Textiles building next door to the Book Depository in Dallas, Texas from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy, protagonist Bob Lee Swagger opens his own investigation . . . .attempting to prove the existence of a second shooter by using ballistics technology not available in 1963, as well as his own unique experience and training as a sniper.  What follows is an intense and deadly hunt and chase to catch one of the smartest and deadliest of adversaries and evil misguided geniuses Mr. Hunter has ever conceived.  Swagger’s narrative is joined by a second, more sophisticated one a little past the halfway point of the novel, and the reader realizes that Swagger the hunter may be instead the hunted: the predator may now be prey.  The Third Bullet is full of detail concerning the events of November 22, 1963, as well as enough gun lore to keep even the most ardent armchair soldiers of fortune enthralled.  This one will take some time to read, so sit back, dig in and enjoy.

And how about it?  Have you taken a few moments to check into some of the great summer reading programs at your local library?  What’s that . . . no time for it . . . don’t want to read?  Too busy doing twelve-ounce curls and watching all those re-runs on the telly.  So, how do you feel about ignorance and apathy?  Don’t know and don’t care, you say . . . Well, don’t it make you wonder friends, about the informed electorate that’s the necessary cornerstone of a functioning democracy???

The next time you’re out surfing the ‘net, stop in and check out our new and improved websites:


They’re better looking, easier to navigate and have more features than before.  While you’re there, please leave a message of your own.  We’d love to hear from you.

Have you seen Rhyolite’s two newest publications . . .

The Boy Who Slept With Bears, by George Douthit, is being read and loved by ages eight to eighty and Colorado Noir, by John Dwaine McKenna, is entertaining lovers of crime fiction everywhere.  Copies are available at any bookstore, Amazon, or as an eReader.  A limited number of signed copies are available by sending $19.00 for The Boy Who Slept With Bears or $20.95 for Colorado Noir which covers the book plus shipping and handling charges to:  Attn:  Sally Lemmon at Rhyolite Press, P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO  80901.

We’ll see you next week, with another new Mysterious Book Report.  Keep your reading glasses on!