Chet Cunningham authored six Executioner novels between 1983 and 1986 beginning with the 59th installment, Crude Kill. I have always enjoyed Cunningham's blunt writing style, and I liked his violent Executioner novel, Baltimore Trackdown, the series' 88th entry. With another exceptional Gil Cohen cover, a solid author and the promise of quality consistency, there was no hesitation behind choosing Crude Kill to read and review.
After liberating hostages from a Milan stronghold, Bolan learns that a mastermind-terrorist named Lufti has targeted an enormous oil tanker called The Contessa. His evil plan is to dump thousands of tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea if he doesn't obtain millions in gold and the obligatory freeing of all criminal cohorts associated with his criminal empire. Of course the ransom won't be met because Bolan arrives just in time to terminate the baddies. The real enjoyment is the journey to get there.
After working closely with series mainstay pilot Jack Grimaldi, Bolan's first target is to destroy a commandeered former German U-Boat that Lufti's forces are using as protection. Cunningham soaks 40 pages with blood and guts, propelling the narrative, along with Bolan, onto the oil tankard's deck. The remaining 150-pages is saturated with bullets, bravado and bombs. Cunningham's literary style always borders on the grotesque – brains jellied, intestines splattered, flesh searing – but it’s all just an over-the-top attempt to please his dominant male audience. The intense violence factor is probably a prerequisite to write Bolan books. Trust us, none of his fans were tipping off Tipper Gore in 1983.
Crude Kill is another enjoyable Bolan saga sure to please fans of the series. The book also features an explanation from Don Pendleton regarding why he handpicked Chet Cunningham to join his revolving carousel of Bolan authors. Based on just Crude Kill, the reason is obvious.
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