I decided to read and review Dying Art, the very latest (as of this post) Mack Bolan novel. The Gold Eagle line used to be for action what the rest of Harlequin was for romance. Now after the December 2015 closure, it’s reduced to a Mack Bolan every few months.
So how does the absolute latest Executioner stack up?
Who and What
There’s a plot featuring Mexican cartel leaders, art thieves, mercenaries, and contractors making a super-railgun. Despite less action, it feels better paced than Season of Slaughter (written by a different author) was and considerably less “overstuffed”. But it also feels less exciting.
The characters are archetypes that were old when the original Pendleton Executioners were young. But there’s no attempt at fun exaggeration. They’re just not the most interesting people. And this version of Mack Bolan himself is one of them.
DEEP HISTORY OF TEM
It’s less infodumpy than Season of Slaughter, which actually reinforces the “IKEA Thriller” feeling. It’s because everything is played very safe overall.
Even the zombie sorceresses are in a lethargic mood in this book, putting everything into place but not going an inch beyond it. The way it’s set up has all the drawbacks of something over-the-top (How many low-level down and dirty crime thrillers have super-railguns in them?) without the advantages (the actual action and villains are bland and pedestrian).
The action also has the same “generic” problem that plagues the rest of the book. It’s still action-movieish, but it’s not as wild and over-the-top or crazy (or even just as good) as others in its genre. Mack Bolan still fights a lot of people and ultimately uses the super-railgun for good rather than ill.
The Only Score That Really Matters
This works as the kind of throwaway reading it was meant to be. Dying Art is readable and smooth-flowing, and what it does have is good enough. But it feels even more “check the boxes on the assembly line”-y than many past Bolans and has neither has the talent nor the outlandishness to stand out from the very, very large pack.