Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Executioner book series - Tennessee Smash!

For the first time in decades I have just read a DonPendleton Executioner novel. I picked this particular one up because it takes place in Tennessee and it was only 5 cents! Can't go too far wrong at that price. I hadn't read one of these since about ninth grade and I was surprised by the thinness of the story. There is very little story in this and as a narrative its so brief as to constitute only a couple of chapters in a tale of any serious length. Of course, that is the standard for these kinds of books. Short, violent and to the point would be considered good traits for Men's Adventure Fiction and this one delivers. These kind of book series seemed to have reached their pinnacle in the 1970s and I might have to occasionally dip back into them for the pure fun of reading something so much a relic of its time. Also, I had forgotten about the continuing storyline in the first 38 books. After the thirty-eighth book Pendleton left the series and it moved in a different direction with Bolan and a picked team of bad-asses fighting international terrorism instead of just the American Mafia. I read a number of those original 38 books years ago and it was fascinating to walk down this memory lane and be reminded of the elements that had slipped my mind while also noting the bizarre things that the author used to stretch the books to more than 150 pages. For instance- there are at least two whole chapters in which nothing happens except Bolan thinking about his life and his holy Mafia War. The story stops dead for this!

Another thing that makes it fun reading these quick page turners now is noting the extreme ring-wing attitude of the main character. Dirty Harry was a wuss next to Mack Bolan! Kill all the scum! Law and Order- without so much of the law stuff getting in the way. I really did not pick up on this aspect of the character when I was younger. It simply flew past me as I gobbled these books up in search of thrills. I guess part of my fun now is laughing at the over the top ideology espoused by Bolan and wondering at the cognitive dissonance necessary to act as a self-proclaimed (and self-righteous) Law Man while breaking so many laws in the process. I suppose sometimes you just gotta kill a bunch of people to punish a murderer or two! 


E C said...

Great write-up. Thanks for sharing. I am re-discovering "The Executioner" series and have a few reviews up for them. In terms of TN action books I think the "Overload" truck driver vigilante books by Bob Ham are set there. The author lived in my old hometown of Roanoke, VA.

Rod Barnett said...

Feel free to share links to your reviews here. I know I'd be interested and I bet others would be as well.