Panic in Philly is the 15th title in Don Pendleton’s enduring The Executioner men’s adventure series. It made its debut in a nifty paperback original published by Pinnacle in 1973, but the edition that first caught my eye—in the Shopko Book Department in the late-1980s most probably—as a teenager was Pinnacle’s reissue. It’s more than a touch corny, but it is so late-1980s from the pastel trimmings to the pastel blue dress to the big hair, and even the Uzi in Bolan’s hand. All it is missing is an explosion in the background with a couple bad guys being blown in the air.
The opening paragraph:
“Panic came to Philadelphia on a cool Spring morning and its name was death—purposeful, clad in black as a symbol of utter finality, moving swiftly in its inevitability.”
One of my favorite components of a Mack Bolan novel is the Bolan “quote” featured on the first page. It is a sort of Rockford telephone message without the intentional humor, and bunches of attitude. And if you’re lucky there may be more than just one. The quote in Panic in Philly summarily prepares the reader for the battle to come: “So maybe I can’t win this lousy war. But I’m going to give it one hell of a try.”