Book Review (Audio) — The Third Bullet: A Bob Lee Swagger Book 8, by Author Stephen Hunter

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The Third Bullet: A Bob Lee Swagger Book 8, by Author Stephen Hunter
Read by Buck Shirner

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John F. Kennedy was more than just a president. He was an event representing the worst tragedy to ever hit my generation. The assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 burned into my memory exactly where I was and what I was doing when someone yelled out “The President has been killed.”

It was a horror greater than any of the many great geological tragedies, Tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes that have ripped through the world since. At least to me.

And feeding this memory is the deep seated belief that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy. He wasn’t murdered by just one man, Lee Harvey Oswald, but rather by a group of men with a group of interests that ranged from:

The Mafia being angry they helped elect Kennedy in 1960 by working with then Mayor Richard J. Daley. They stole the election in Chicago from Richard M. Nixon, the Republican vice president. Instead of helping the Mafia by going easy, Kennedy appointed his brother Robert Kennedy who began a purge and aggressive prosecution of the mob

The opponents of Castro living in Florida who pushed the nation into the Bay of Pigs during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower that landed on Kennedy’s lap, embarrassingly after it was screwed up, making Castro into a hero and later leading up to the Missile Crisis that brought the World to the verge of a nuclear war.

The CIA and that freak show FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, a closet homosexual who passed judgment against all of his foes for far less, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others. Hoover spied on Americans, violated their civil rights, planted false stories and explored embarrassing details including the sex lives of his targets. And King and Kennedy were both fooling around on their wives. Every reporter knew it and Hoover knew it.

And finally, there were those in the government who feared that Kennedy my draw down and lead America out of the Vietnam War.

The Warren Commission report that explored and whitewashed the assassination did so skirting all of these issues, and instead tried to convince the American people that all was safe and no conspiracy existed. It was bad enough that we just experienced the Sputnik episode that bred fear among our people. We didn’t need to believe, they thought, that conspirators were manipulating our lives, politics, policies and government.

Jack Ruby, the mob-connected dance club owner who had offices near the Book Depository where they claimed all of the bullets came from the 6th Floor window, murdered Oswald before anyone could know the truth. The conspirators believed that killing Oswald would end suspicion but all any coverup does is make that suspicion worse.

When the Romans tried to erase any memory of Jesus, they built a small temple to the God Aphrodite on the hill where Jesus was crucified hoping that it would erase any memory of the Jewish rebel whose challenge to Judaism and Rome launched one of the world’s most powerful religions, Christianity. But all that Temple did was confirm centuries later for the Queen of Constantinople where Jesus had died and they built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on top of that small Temple. You can see it, and enter it when you enter the huge Christian Church memorial to Golgotha, the Hill of Calvary, and also marks where Jesus was buried.

All of this historical baggage fills my suspicious heart and mind as I read anything about JFK, and the Kennedy Assassination.

Hunter does a great job of weaving into all of this suspicious feeling that my generation will carry to its grave a theory that there had to be someone, and how it could have happened. One of the most disturbing and unexplained events was the murder of J.D. Tippet, the police officer, by Oswald. Why kill him. Why then walk up to him and shoot him point blank in his head as he laid on the ground?

I am not saying I believe Hunter’s version, but it explores suspicions that have lingered. Maybe exaggerated a bit with literary license to make a more compelling novel, I am sure. But where there is smoke, there is fire and this book is fire built on the smoldering unresolved remains of the Kennedy assassination.

In three audio files, this book grabs your attention from the very first chapter when an old writer is murdered and his daughter reaches out to someone to get them to explore what she believes is the reason, all tied to the Kennedy assassination.

As we approach the 50 year anniversary of the assassination, the book is worth reading not just for its compelling fascination but for its ability to awaken many of the stirring suspicions that linger in all of our minds.

— Ray Hanania

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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