A rather interesting series of books written by Don Pendleton about Mack Bolan, a man whose family was killed by the Mafia. Bolan goes on an all-out vendetta against the Mafia, killing them left and right. Bloody, violent pulp fiction, but it doesn't get any better than this.

The first few books in the series were actually very, very good in terms of both entertainment value and just plain good storytelling. Surprisingly, the books do a wonderful job of defining Bolan's character and showing him change and grow and succeed and fail. The books are also incredibly violent, and they know it. Bolan knows it. It bothers him a lot. He doesn't like it. But he's out for revenge.

Eventually, further into the series, Bolan is just going through the motions. Somewhere deep inside, he knows that his reasons for killing the Mafia have long since faded. It long ago stopped being about revenge. He's just settled into a comfortable pattern of violence, killing and killing and killing again and justifying it by occasionally getting hurt himself, thus reinforcing the badness of the badguys and making it feel right to kill them some more.

Alas, in spite of this rather intriguing and wonderful (if you can stomach the violence) character portrayal, the series starts to get a bit old and repetetive by about the twentieth book, and I quit reading it.

The series is no longer in print (the publisher having gone out of business long ago), and rumors in the seventies and early eighties of an Executioner movie never came to fruition.