Friday, December 21, 2018

The Executioner #10 - Caribbean Kill

It's no secret that I really didn't care for the ninth installment of Don Pendleton's vigilante series 'The Executioner'. “Vegas Vendetta” was a marathon of complacency, resting on the laurels of Bolan's status as the mob killer. With that novel, the narrative was one-dimensional, relying on planning and plotting The Strip's war of attrition, but Pendleton just never got to the white-knuckle action. Or, really any action. Thankfully, the author shifts gears with the tenth volume, “Caribbean Kill”. It begins and ends with a bang.

Bolan, fresh from his Vegas hit, boards a plan and haphazardly flies it smack dab into a mob mansion on Puerto Rico's southern shoreline. Bailing before impact, the flying firebomb scorches the site, scattering Glass Bay's mob army into the jungle. The tone is set as Bolan diagnoses his situation: He had two full eight-round clips of ammo, plus six rounds in the service clip. He was literally up a tree, soaked to the skin with sticky salt water. He was hungry, and he was just about physically exhausted. Less than a quarter-mile away, an army of some fifty to seventy-five guns was methodically sweeping the periphery of the bay in a determined hunt for his person – page 32.

From some brief but captivating cat and mouse tactics, Bolan begins to diminish and demoralize the ranks, eventually catching a ride into San Juan where the majority of the book's action takes place. Bolan eventually befriends a female cop named Eve. She's running a covert scheme to take down a mobster named Sir Edward. The two become a romantic item, with the author going as far as describing Eve as the Female Executioner. They hide out with farming couple named Juan and Rosalita while the mob scours the countryside for their whereabouts. 

With the help of a pilot named Grimaldi, Bolan is able to ebb the tide. Hunting both Sir Edward and Quick Tony Lavagni (had a cameo in Executioner #05), the fight takes him through the jungle, up the shoreline and into the city streets. It's this wild-ride that's bumpy, thrilling and laced with gunfire. With “Caribbean Kill”, Don Pendleton is firing on all cylinders. Place this one up there with the series debut, “Nightmare in New York” and “Chicago Wipe-out” as early standouts.