After the clones and aliens and Nazi terrors of previous Death Merchant novels, THE BUDAPEST ACTION's heavies are something of a comedown. Granted, the Russian and Hungarian military officers who are the Death Merchant's targets in this 1977 novel from Pinnacle are nasty, brutal, evil monsters, but still are less interesting than the giants from outer space promised in earlier books.
Richard Camellion--aka the Death Merchant--continues to be the most violent of all men's adventure "heroes," racking up another body count in the hundreds, as well as razing a whole damn castle. The Russians and the Hungarians are holding in Karolyi Castle a biochemist named Imre Maleter, who is creating a hallucinogen gas capable of affecting the entire population of a major city without hurting any infrastructure. Obviously, the CIA wants Maleter captured or dead and the gas formula destroyed. Who better to send than Camellion, who this time is teamed with a pipe-chomping CIA agent named Ray Merrit, who suspects, but doesn't know, that his partner is the fabled Death Merchant.
As usual, author Joseph Rosenberger has packed the book with page after page of graphic violence, never flinching to describe to the nth degree what tremendous damage a bullet or a bomb can inflict on a human body. While the Death Merchant novels are by far the most action-packed books I've ever read, too much of a good thing can become tedious, and the fortieth consecutive page of Camellion and his team mowing down AVO troopers gets a little old. The most interesting aspect of THE BUDAPEST ACTION is that Camellion and Merrit are teamed with a small army of priests who are seeking to bring down the Communist empire, and it's odd to read about priests machine-gunning people. Camellion himself is undercover as a priest named Father Krim.
All in all, typical Death Merchant blood-letting here. By the way, for more on Rosenberger, see the Glorious Trash blog, where Joe Kenney unearthed a long-lost interview with the author from a 1981 fanzine.