Something I find funny about Pinnacle's paperback series about Mack Bolan, the Executioner, is that I was exposed to them all the time when I was a kid, but never read them. The reason I was exposed to them (this is the funny part) is because my mother read them. She was a voracious reader, often staying up well into the night to munch sunflower seeds and read. A lot of what she read were Harlequin romances, which she would store in brown paper grocery bags and trade with her friends, but I also remember her reading Mack Bolan novels, and I have no idea why I never did, since I was also (and have always been) a huge reader.
But I have many of them now, and there are few better ways to entertain yourself alone for two hours or so. Author Don Pendleton, who quit the series after #38, knew how to tell a tough, quick, violent yarn, and without spending very many words on it, managed to give his characters some personality.
Book #14, SAN DIEGO SIEGE, published in 1972, is not structured a whole lot differently than earlier Executioner novels. Once again, Bolan enters a new city, assesses the Mafia's threat to that city, and sets about to cut the cancer out using firepower and guts.
The twist this time is that Bolan has help. Returning from 1969's DEATH SQUAD, in which Bolan reunited with some Vietnam buddies to extinguish a threat in Los Angeles, are the survivors of that adventure: scrounger Politician and electronics expert Gadgets. This time, they reunite to investigate the suspicious suicide of their former commander in 'Nam, Howlin' Harlan Winters, and what looks like his involvement with a San Diego mobster named Little Ben Lucasi.
Pendleton creates something of a mild mystery to go with the flavorful action and brisk pace, making SAN DIEGO SIEGE another entertaining Executioner entry. And, as always, you gotta love the painted cover, which is even semi-accurate for once.