Saturday, November 02, 2019

85. The Executioner #21 Firebase Seattle by Don Pendleton

My interest in Mack Bolan was only sparked by listening to the excellent Paperback Warrior podcast. They gave a nice overview of the line of books and their original author Don Pendleton.  He seemed like such a cool guy and the hosts spoke well of the books that I had always dismissed that I decided I needed to at least check one of them out.  I discovered this one at BMV in Toronto and since it was fairly early on in the series (the 21st book being "fairly early on" is saying something) that it might be a good representative.  Also, since I am from the Pacific Northwest and have a fondness for Seattle, at least the Seattle I once knew the choice was confirmed.

Unfortunately, this book was really, really not good. Even if this is one of the worse Executioner books, I would still be reluctant to continue on.  I don't mind stupid and I don't mind goofy.  Firebase Seattle was both, but also the plot was a mess, there were no side characters nor badguys that were of any interest and the entire objective was uninteresting.  Worse though, there is just no tension or doubt.  Mack Bolan, who has dedicated his life to wiping out the mafia, is investigating some grand plot by the mafia in Seattle, a town they had heretofore never messed with.  He discovers that under the guise of Expo 74, they are shipping construction material, tons of guns and other mysterious stuff. Since they never had a presence in Seattle (huh?), this is a sign that they have some major plan going here.

What's weird is how the "mafia" is portrayed in this book. They are more like some kind of international organization of super evil badguys who are plotting to take over the world, like SPECTRE.   Their plans are preposterous and the only thing that makes them The Syndicate is that all the guys working for them have Italian names and mafia-style nicknames.  Since none of the bad guys barely get a scene other than when they get killed and have little dialogue, you have no sense that they are even actually bad.  Bolan just shows up with all kinds of high-tech gear, super-human combat and spying skills and an unwavering desire to screw up all their plans and kill everybody.  And that's what he does.  I did not find it very entertaining. I make it sound simple, but the storyline is quite meandering, with him going from one place to another, connecting with allies who go on and on about how amazed they are by his skills, saving one daughter and banging her, then saving her mother and not banging her but wanting to.  But none of leads to anything and even the ending is kind of a whimper.  I really don't get what the appeal of these books are.  It was just odd and kind of hard to get through.  It didn't take itself too seriously and there are some funny moments where Pendleton goes deeper into Bolan's motivations.  It's not terribly written either.  There just isn't a lot here. 

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