Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Get Bolan

It seems surprising that it took Mack Bolan so long to get to Las Vegas, the Mob capital of the U.S. But he finally does in VEGAS VENDETTA, #9 in Pinnacle's long-running series of Executioner paperbacks. At this point, it's superfluous to describe author Don Pendleton's plots, as they're all fairly (to this point) similar. Once again, Bolan, on the run from both the cops and the Mafia, turns up in Vegas, where he adopts a disguise to infiltrate a Mob-owned business, rob it, and destroy it. In this case, it's—what else?—a casino called the Gold Duster.

Pendleton describes a couple of very exciting action pieces, in particular Bolan's one-man assault on a convoy that results in a lot of wiped-out gangsters and a healthy addition to the Executioner's war chest. The 1972 novel also prefigures THE ROCKFORD FILES a bit, in that Bolan puts on a simple disguise and runs an incredibly ballsy con on most of the Vegas organization. I don't know if real mobsters are as stupid as Pendleton's, but the way Bolan takes over the Gold Duster using brains, balls and pure bluster is quite an entertaining feat.

VEGAS VENDETTA also brings back some characters from previous Bolan books, such as policemen Carl Lyons and Hal Brognola and the Talifero brothers, ace Mob hitmen (I don't think we've seen the last of these guys), and introduces others that will return in future entries, notably standup comic Tommy Anders (who's supposed to be America's hottest comic sensation, but whose routine proves Pendleton is no comedy writer) and his backup showgirls, the Ranger Girls. This is a deliciously quick read that stands among the best Executioner novels.

1 comment:

Matt Farkas said...

I've picked up some Executioners thanks to you, Marty. I've only read the first three in the series and already they seem pretty samey. I think my tastes in pulpy adventure novels run towards sexier and more lurid fare (The Baroness series, credited to Paul Kenyon, is my current fave and I can't wait to start in on James Lawrence's Dark Angel quartet).

I agree that snappy action sequences are Pendleton's primary strength as a writer, but I just wish there was something more to differentiate his plots and writing style. I'm not surprised to hear that Pendleton's sense of humor fall flat, as rarely as he employs it. He's pretty piss-poor with female characters too, though reading Pendleton's frequent and lengthy fetishizations of Bolan's choice of firearms probably provides some unsurprising insight into the author's sexual impulses.