Book Review: The Executioner Series

By Chris Bunton

This Book Review is about The Executioner Series, and Mack Bolan written by Don Pendleton

First published in 1969  the book “War Against the Mafia” went on to include 37 sequels over 12 years.

The series tells of Mack Bolan. A Vietnam special operations sniper with a kill count of at least 100.

He returns to the US to bury his father, mother and sister. When he arrives back home, he learns the truth. The deaths of his family are directly related to the Mafia. His father had gotten indebted to the local mob, and this caused the destruction of his family.

This leads Mack Bolan to go to war against the Mafia using the battle skills he learned in Vietnam.

The books were originally written by Don Pendleton. But, in 1980 he franchised them to Harlequin’s Gold Eagle Books who ended up producing over 900 books about Mack Bolan, and the other spin off series.

Mack Bolan went from fighting the Mafia, to waging war on terrorists and international criminals. He even ended up working as a top secret agent for the government and started several strike teams, who spun off into their own book series, Able Team and Phoenix Force.

Mack Bolan started his war when he was 30, in Vietnam. He would be over 80 years old today, and still killing bad guys.

I began reading Mack Bolan in high school in the 1980’s after the Executioner Series had ended. It was just called “Mack Bolan”, at the time.  I traded books with friends of mine, and we would scour used book stores for older books we had missed, along with any action/adventure books of the time.

Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan led to many other authors creating their own action series.

The Marvel Comics character, The Punisher is a creation drawn from Mack Bolan, and has been one of my favorite super heroes.

If you like men’s adventure, and want something to sink your teeth into. This is a good series that I have recently started rereading on my Kindle. Beginning at book number one. “War Against the Mafia”

About the Author:

Don Pendleton is the Father of Action/Adventure. He was born in 1927 in Little Rock, Arkansas. and died in 1995.

His website says :

“During World War II, on December 7, 1942, days before his fifteenth birthday, Don enlisted in the Navy, serving until 1947 as a Radioman.  He returned to active Naval duty during the Korean Conflict.  

Following the war he worked as a railroad telegrapher, CAA/FAA air traffic control specialist, and aerospace engineer.  In the latter career, he was a senior engineer for Martin-Marietta’s Titan ICBM programs and as an engineering administrator in NASA’s Apollo Moonshot program.

He published his first short story in 1957 and his first novel in 1961. Leaving his aerospace career behind, Don turned to full time writing in 1967, and produced a number of mystery, science fiction, and futuristic novels, a screenplay, numerous poems, short stories, and essays. Then, in the year 1968, a time of civil unrest, love and flower power, psychedelic streets of Height-Ashbury and Berkeley, and the horrors of the Vietnam War,  Mack Bolan, the Executioner, was conceived in the mind of forty-year-old Don Pendleton.  The phenomenal success of the first novel, War Against the Mafia, published in 1969, led to thirty-six sequels.  Dozens of imitators, inspired by Don’s success, arose during the early seventies to create a new American literary genre, and the term, action/adventure, coined by Don, soon spread to encompass television and motion picture formats, as well.  The original Executioner novels have been translated in more than thirty languages with in-print figures of more than 200 million copies worldwide.”

The Executioner Books along with Don’s other books, and the later spin off series can be found at Amazon or at the Executioner Series website.


Bio: Chris Bunton is a writer, poet and blogger from Southern Illinois.

Published by .

Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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