Monday, January 03, 2011

Special Operator

March 1973 saw Pinnacle publishing PANIC IN PHILLY, the fifteenth Executioner novel written by Don Pendleton. It isn't anything special with its simple story and formulaic violence, but it's a good way to kill two hours.

For no real reason given in the narrative, Mack Bolan heads to Philadelphia to tackle Stefano Angeletti's crime family. Don Stefano wants to pass the family business along to his weak son Frank, but all the major capos know the wimp just isn't up to the job. While all this internal strife is going on, Bolan drops into town, blows up the Angeletti compound, then disguises himself as his own assassin to infiltrate the gang!

Like in VEGAS VENDETTA, the Executioner spends much of the novel as someone else: this time, Johnny Cavaretta, a hitman hired to take Bolan out. However, Mack gets to him first, kills him, disguises him as the Executioner, and then starts ordering the Angeletti gang around as Cavaretta.

Good action and some humor mark PANIC IN PHILLY is a decent timewaster in the Executioner series.

3 comments:

Jack Badelaire said...

I've been getting around to reading some of the original Pendleton Executioners over the last year. You pretty much sum them up - formulaic but entertaining, and it's very interesting to see how they go on to influence so, so many titles in years to come.

Joe Kenney said...

Here's an interesting tidbit gleaned from the mackbolan.com forum: since the late 1970s the French have gotten their own editions of the Enforcer, which bear no relation to the Gold Eagle volumes. Gerard de Villiers, the creator/writer of the French action series "Malko," bought the Executioner rights for the French market in the '70s.

When Pendleton ended the "war against the Mafia" with his last volume #38, Villiers decided that he wanted Bolan to continue fighting the mob and not global terrorism, as he would in the Gold Eagle books. So, hiring a few ghostwriters, he continued the War against the Mafia storyline...meaning there is an entire "alternate universe" of Mack Bolan tales for the French market. And supposedly they're all pretty lurid and gory. Gold Eagle should license English translations to tap into the men's adventure nostalgia market -- ie, people like us who like men's adventure novels but aren't so interested in the Gold Eagle stuff.

Joe Kenney said...

Duh -- I typed "Enforcer" but obviously I meant "The Executioner!"