The Target Is H
Of the Mack Bolan knockoffs, one of the most unfortunately named is “The Penetrator”, written by Chet Cunningham and Mark Roberts. Snicker-worthy name aside, this managed to reach dozens of entries, starting with 1973s The Target Is H.
Who and What
Ok, so Vietnam veteran Mac-ahem, Mark Hardin (as if the title of the series wasn’t Freudian enough) battles heroin-smuggling mobsters. That’s basically the entire plot of the book right there. Hardin himself is a typical action hero with a few colorful sidekicks, and the mobsters sound like unintentional parodies of gangster movies. Still, the minimal plot never feels clunky.
DEEP HISTORY OF TEM
Compared to say, the original War Against the Mafia, The Target Is H has a lot more detailed descriptions of its weapons and a lot more (comparably) exotic weapons. It’s an example of what the genre would later become (to excess).
The contrivances are the usual “exotic weapons, exotic cars, and dozens of goons slaughtered by the hero” action ones. Hardin is slightly more vulnerable than some of the later superhuman action novel protagonists, but only slightly.
The action is what one would expect from the genre, and executed well by those standards. It is, however, closer to later cheap action thrillers than the debut Mack Bolan book in terms of tone and the hero’s capability.
The Only Score That Really Matters
This is better than its goofy name might suggest, and is recommended for any fan of 1960s-1980s action novels.