Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Family

Mark Hardin gets back to his original mission of smashing the Mafia in BLOODY BOSTON (Pinnacle, 1976), the 12th Penetrator adventure. It starts off in an intriguing tangent, but unfortunately doesn't really pay off as well as it should.

The Penetrator jets to Beantown at the behest of an old Vietnam buddy, Tony Rossi--a good guy, despite the fact that his father is the Don of Boston's notable crime family. Rossi was captured by headhunters three years earlier and held captive in their New Guinea village. He has finally escaped--broken and battered, mostly emotionally--and made it home, only to discover an impostor has taken his place. Tony's father is deathly ill, and his #2 man has taken over the Syndicate. I don't recall why the Mob needed a lookalike to pose as the assumed-dead Tony, but there you are.

Hardin looks forward to crushing the Boston mob, although he promises Tony he won't kill the elderly Don, who is also a captive, along with Tony's wife and son. The usual bloodbath ensues. However, the promising matchup of the Penetrator and Tony's double never happens. In fact, the character never even appears.

Chet Cunningham's novel moves at a nice clip, as usual, but BLOODY BOSTON is lacking both a powerful climax and the slight hint of the fantastic that often populates a Penetrator novel. What's here is nice, but I've been accustomed to expecting more from this series.

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