Book Report: Tennessee Smash by Don Pendelton (1978)

This book follows Arizona Ambush in the series, so I get to feel like somewhat of an insider when Bolan refers to the events in Arizona and I know what he’s talking about.

Unfortunately, this book ropes in a large number of other characters from preceding novels, characters who now work with the government in a special group targeting the Mafia. So the reader who comes to the series late (me) is left outside a little, and the book spends whole chapters filling in expository backstory rather than shooting-em-up. So the book is not the strongest entry in the series. I understand from Wikipedia that Bolan eventually works with this group, so the whole “what is the agenda not only of the Mafia, but also of the bureaucrats and lawmakers on the good guys’ side?” intrigue will probably grow, too.

That said, the plot of the book gets a little short shrift. Bolan goes to Memphis and Nashville and works with SOG (the special operations group) to rescue a couple of members in an attempt to infiltrate the drug-running arm of the mob. In doing so, he meets a country-and-western song maveness married into and under the thumb of the local boss and uncovers a plot to blackmail powerful politicians.

Overall, a weaker entry in the series. I really ought to try to get some of the earlier work. Definitely in the middle of the three I’ve read recently.

Books mentioned in this review: