Friday, December 28, 2007

Book Review: Hollywood Hell by Don Pendleton (Chuck Rogers)

Mack Bolan, the black clad Executioner who learned his killing techniques on the jungle battlefields of Viet Nam, only to use them against the Mafia after they slaughtered his family, is headed to Hollywood to break into the film business --- snuff film business, that is.

Don Pendleton’s anti-hero is just as powerful in the world of publishing as he is in the dark alleys of any crime-infested urban hell. The Executioner series, including its many spin-offs, has published more than 675 novels, and that’s a whole lot of confirmed kills and spent rounds. And in case you haven’t guessed, he is also the inspiration for Marvel Comic’s The Punisher.

In number 77 of the series (written by Chuck Rogers), we find Bolan, and his brother/assistant Johnny, watching a porn flick starring Julie, the young daughter of a prominent politician. The girl’s movements appear to be forced, her eyes wide with fear. The outfit that discreetly distributes the film, and others with subject matter ranging from extreme S&M, bestiality, and kiddie porn, is connected to the mob. Could blackmail be the reason for Julie’s introduction into the grimy world of hardcore porn, or could the cause be something even more sinister? In any case, the Executioner has just strapped on his gun-belt in search for the villain of the book (besides Mr. Rogers.) After leaving a trail of dead goons behind him, he eventually meets Iceman (not inspired by the Marvel X-Man, but would have been a better book if he had), a west coast porno magnet with an unnatural attraction to world dictators and violent sex.

A hardcore subject written for the sensibilities of young adolescent males, complete with painstaking attention to the workings of all things deadly, and a plot that you could drive a Sherman tank through, Hollywood Hell is what you would expect for a series novel --- minus the fun.

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