My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the pantheon of Mack Bolan stories this book holds a high place for a couple of reasons. First, it returns Bolan to the jungles of Vietnam where his experiences as an extraordinary and deadly soldier led to the creation of the vigilante known as “The Executioner”. Second, it was a precursor and influencer of the POW/MIA movies that soon followed such as “Rambo II”, “Missing in Action”, and “Uncommon Valor”, plus scores of fiction dealing with this issue. The short novel tells the story of Bolan, now a government operative known as Colonel Phoenix, accepting a mission to rescue a POW imprisoned in a modified Vietcong temple. It’s a compressed timeline story with a linear plot and all of the events taking place in a four hour window so the pacing and action is relentless. Bolan is ably assisted by an aging and noble Vietnamese warrior, his beautiful daughter, and a ragtag group of fighters. It’s a definitely a strong entry in the series and I’m thankful to the writer, Stephen Mertz, for helping to bring the POW/MIA issue to the forefront.