I threatened to pick up the next Executioner novel, and, by golly, I did it. You and I must be punished!
They’ve come a long way from the Don Pendleton days. They’ve become longer. They’ve jettisoned the page-long philosophical musings. The action has gotten more movie cinematic, and the tactics have gone out the window. Mack Bolan is no longer uber-competent–as a matter of fact, he’s kind of along for the ride.
In a plot ripped from today’s headlines thirty years ago, Mack Bolan is called to Arizona to help an investigator down there who’s looking into human trafficking across the southern border, and Bolan slowly uncovers a plot where a master coyote is trying to organize both sides of the border to provide one-stop shopping for American agriculture who need cheap illegal immigrant labor and the high-tech transport to provide them.
Overall, it’s a rather amateurish effort, although I guess the author was more professional than I am because he got a paycheck for his work. But it’s padded out to 250 pages by descriptions that aren’t done well enough in their writing to merit the space and that really bog down the pacing of the plot. The number of set pieces is pretty small, and they’re pretty far apart amid the Dungeon Mastering descriptions.
And we’ve got whackiness that doesn’t ring true.
Bolan shook his head, the sprinted toward the sound of gunfire. The deep bark of a carbine gave him hope that at least one of the border patrolmen was still alive.
I’m not an expert on guns, but from my knowledge, you can tell more about the size of the hole in the barrel rather than the length of the barrel from the sound.
We’ve got some cultural misunderstandings:
Gordo wrapped a heavy arm around Roberto’s neck, hugging the much smaller man to his massive chest and rubbing his knuckles vigorously into the man’s hair. “A real tender chicken, this one.” He laughed. “You should pay me, Anna, take him under your wing. Young chickens should stick together.”
What are the odds that a Mexican prostitute would have a German name rather than a Mexican one?
We’ve got contradictions in the text:
Randy Carlton loved the desert and hated it with equal conviction. Its beauty was undeniable, but its hostility was implacable.
Page 56 versus page 167, where:
He [Carlton] had always loved the desert. Whenever he thought about it, he would smile.
And we have great trick shots:
The wispy gas coiled up in a thin stream, then vanished as it was sucked up by the whirling turbo fan. In a moment or two the bulk of the tear gas would be spewed, and the fan would be unable to handle the load. Bolan realized he had to do something, and do it fast. He brought the Skorpion around and zeroed in on the edge of the sphere, like a pool shark lining up a difficult shot. The slug just nicked the edge of the gas cannister and sent it spinning in toward Carlton. It vanished behind the turbine housing, only to come arcing back a moment later to bounce out into the hall, belching a thick cloud.
If you’re wondering whether Bolan and the infiltrators had to cinematically traverse the huge turbine blades, shut your mouth. Of course they did!
At any rate, the further I get into the series and the longer they get, and the worse the writing gets, the more I dread reading another one.
And I have 37 Executioner novels, 10 Stony Man novels, 16 Mack Bolan, and 8 Able Team books in my collection to read.
I recently picked up three books by Don Pendleton in another series he did about a guy named Ashton Ford. I’ll quite likely read these before I read another in the Gold Eagle sets.