Soft Target: A Thriller
Title: Soft Target: A Thriller
Author: Stephen Hunter
Retired Marine sergeant Ray Cruz confronts a band of terrorists who have taken over the Mall of America, where they begin to systematically execute more than one thousand hostages.
Ten thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators, and the escalators of America, the Mall — a giant Rubik’s Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight have come to shop. The other twelve have come to kill. Ray Cruz, one of the heroes of Hunter’s last bestseller, Dead Zero, is in the mall with his fiancée and her family. The retired Marine sniper thought he was done with stalking and killing—but among the trapped thousands, he’s the only one with a plan and the guts to confront the self-proclaimed “Brigade Mumbai.” Now all he needs is a gun. FBI Sniper Dave McElroy has a gun. But positioned on the roof of the vast building and without explosives or fuses — or the go-ahead from his superiors — he is cut off from his targets and forced into the role of witness to the horror unfolding below. Having learned the lessons of Columbine, the feds believe that immediate action is the only solution. But Douglas Obobo, the charismatic and ambitious commandant of the state police, orders cooperation, tolerance, communication, and empathy for the gunmen. He feels that with his superior negotiating skills, he can make contact with the shooters and gently nudge them into surrender. But what if their goal all along has been unparalleled massacre — and they’re only waiting for prime time?