->''"I am not their judge. I am their judgment. I am their executioner."''

An ActionAdventureSeries created by Don Pendleton in 1969 that is [[LongRunningBookSeries still continuing to this day]]. Over 600 novels have been written featuring the protagonist Mack Bolan and various spin-off characters.

Mack Bolan (nicknamed "The Executioner" by his fellow soldiers) is an elite sniper/penetration specialist in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar when he receives word that his father Sam, a steelworker in Pittsfield, has [[PaterFamilicide gone insane and shot dead his wife Elsa and daughter]] Cynthia ("Cindy"). On talking to the SoleSurvivor, younger brother Johnny, Bolan discovers that his father was being squeezed by Mafia {{Loan Shark}}s and, on hearing that his daughter was prostituting herself to cover his debt, snapped under the pressure.

Figuring there's no point in fighting a war 8,000 miles away when there's a bigger enemy right here at home, Mack Bolan sets forth on a [[OneManArmy one-man crusade]] to destroy TheMafia, using [[CombatPragmatist all the military weapons and tactics at his disposal]] including heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, night-vision scopes, radio-detonated explosives, electronic surveillance, silenced handguns and the [[RazorFloss garrotte]]. Bolan is also fond of [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty using wiles]] to [[DivideAndConquer turn his enemies against each other]].

In 1980 Don Pendleton sold the rights to Gold Eagle Books, who [[ReTool retooled the series]] by having Bolan [[FakingTheDead fake his death]] in order to lead a [[HeroesRUs covert US Government operation]] known as [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction Stony Man]]. Also part of Stony Man are two units whose story is told in their own spin-off series: ''Able Team'' (consisting of [[PowerTrio three Bolan comrades]] from his Mafia Wars -- not to be confused with [[WesternAnimation/ExoSquad Able Squad]]) and ''[[TheSomethingForce Phoenix Force]]'' (a FiveManBand assembled from the [[MultinationalTeam world's best]] anti-terrorist operatives, with no connection whatsoever to [[ComicBook/XMen Jean Grey]]). Ostensibly Able Team was to operate inside the United States while Phoenix Force did so on an international level, but this idea was soon dropped.

After a KGB operation to destroy Stony Man caused the death of his girlfriend April Rose, Mack Bolan returned to his VigilanteMan origins, though he still does the occasional mission for Stony Man on an 'unofficial' basis.

Not to be confused with Music/MarcBolan of the British band T-Rex.

Compare with ComicBook/ThePunisher and Paul Kersey of the ''Film/DeathWish'' series.

Currently (as of 2015) the series is out of print because of its publishing house, Gold Eagle, closing down.

!!Frequently encountered tropes in this series are:

* AllCrimesAreEqual: Being in the Mafia (no matter how distant the link) is punishable by death. Doesn't matter if you just are an errand boy, you are guilty and must die.
* ArchEnemy: Major General Greb Strakhov, who was behind the KGB operation that led to April Rose's death in ''Day of Mourning''. In the following novel Bolan kills Strakhov's son, so ItsPersonal for him too.
* AuthorFilibuster: Bolan spends entire chapters [[WarriorPoet pondering the necessity]] of violence and the morality of his "War Everlasting," as Don Pendleton created the series in response to the anti-war views of the Flower Power generation.
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: In ''War Against The Mafia'', Bolan deduces that [[spoiler:the Mafia conference going on in the mansion's upper room is actually a decoy by timing it and recognising the actions of the participants are too regular.]]
* AnAxeToGrind: The Orishas in ''Crisis Nation'' wield iron African axes as their weapon of choice.
* {{BFG}}: Bolan likes using elephant guns as sniper rifles -- first a Marlin .444 lever-action, then the Weatherby Mark V in .460 Magnum calibre. This leads to several YourHeadAsplode moments.
** Several of Bolan's enemies were also given to using these weapons, such as the psychopathic giant Igor Baibakov, who not only used the .50 BMG caliber Barrett Light Fifty as a primary sniper weapon, but was big and powerful enough to use the thing as an ''assault rifle''.
* AvengersAssemble: Happens often with Phoenix Force, being a diverse MultinationalTeam. Less so with Able Team as there's only three of them -- usually they're introduced in a MissionBriefing while being flown to their target area.
* BattleButler: Bolan would occasionally run into loyal mafiosi who fit this description when he tried TheInfiltration, which [[WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife didn't make his task any easier]].
* BusmansHoliday: Bolan can't even go kayaking without someone trying to kill him (see #50: ''Brothers in Blood'' and #90: ''Blood Heat Zero'').
* CallingCard: Bolan leaves a miltary marksman's medal at the scene of his killings. Sometimes he has one delivered to a future target as psychological warfare. The mob has been known to leave such medals at murder scenes, either to [[HeroWithBadPublicity frame Bolan]] or cover up for their own inter-gang rivalries. The latter tactic was used so often that one underling reporting a Bolan hit got beaten up "for pulling that stunt," until Bolan (who'd let him live so he could [[NiceJobGuidingUsHero follow the man to his superiors]]) walked through the door and started shooting.
* {{Catchphrase}}: "Live large" and "Stay hard". The latter sometimes gets a [[InnocentInnuendo "What?!"]] reaction, though they eventually figure out what Bolan means.
* CIAEvilFBIGood: Especially after Bolan went back to being a RogueAgent. Federal law enforcement agencies on the other hand are at most obstructive, and more often supportive.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Being turned into a "turkey" is the fate of several people who help Mack Bolan, leaving him to inflict the MercyKill. Able Team member Carl Lyons has been known to use the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique on occasion, though Phoenix Force prefers to rely on [[TruthSerum scopalomine]].
* ColdSniper: An army psychiatrist is quoted as saying that while most soldiers can be a successful sniper ''once'', it's the ability to continue to do so (to see the difference between killing in the course of duty and murder) that separates Bolan from other men. He is described as "a man who can command himself."
* CoffinContraband: One of the novels (likely inspired by the Frank Lucas affair) has heroin being smuggled in coffins marked Remains Non-Viewable (used for mutilated corpses who couldn't be given an open casket funeral) to dissuade anyone from opening them.
* CombatPragmatist:
** When innocent lives are at stake, Bolan has no problem with shooting his enemies in the back, going for groin strikes or eye gouges in hand to hand combat, making use of his surroundings to get the upper hand, and so on.
** Bolan's EstablishingCharacterMoment as a OneManArmy in the first novel. Realising he's being lured into a trap, he raids a warehouse containing surplus military hardware. Up to then he'd fought the Pittsfield Mafia with rifles, knives or pistols, so they're unprepared for being hit with [[MoreDakka rocket launchers and mortar bombs.]]
* ComicBookTime: Early novels stated that Bolan had also fought in Korea; this was dropped as the series continued. Contemporary novels don't even mention his Vietnam service as it would make him seem too old.
* ConspicuouslyPublicAssassination: Bolan often starts his 'blitz' by turning up at a number of Mafia joints, calmly stating the name of his target, whom he kills along with their bodyguards in an [[TheGunslinger impressive display of shooting]], leaving his CallingCard behind. Another favorite tactic is to gun down some bigwigs at a [[ImprobableAimingSkills seemingly-improbable range]] with a sniper rifle. This quickly gets the local mafia 'mobbed up' in a known '[[GarrisonableStructures hardsite]]' (which Bolan has [[CrazyPrepared already scouted in advance]]) where he can [[StormingTheCastle destroy them with overwhelming firepower]] without worrying about innocents getting in the way.
* CoolGuns / ICallItVera. 'Big Thunder', Bolan's stainless steel [[HandCannon .44 [=AutoMag=]]], and 'Belle', his silenced Beretta Brigadier (a civilian Beretta M1951), sometimes fired GunsAkimbo. They were later replaced by a Beretta 93R and .44 Desert Eagle, with the occasional use of "Little Lightning" (a Mini-Uzi). Able Team uses silenced Beretta 93R's (with [[LaserSight tritium night sights]] and [[DepletedPhlebotinumShells steel-core bullets]] for extra penetration) modified by CIA weaponsmith Andrzej Konzaki. Carl Lyons lacks faith in their stopping power, so Konzaki created a Colt .45 with the same capabilities -- as well as Lyon's Crowd-Killing Device, a modified [[{{BFG}} Atchisson Assault Shotgun]] whose effects are [[MoreDakka devastating at close quarters]].
* CrazyPrepared: Although a typical 'blitz' can be over in less than twenty-four hours, Bolan spends a good deal of time beforehand gathering intelligence, [[ClockKing planning his hits down to the second]], and leaving safe houses scattered about the city.
* DeathFromAbove: In the final shootout in ''War Against The Mafia'', Bolan spends a large part of it thinking it's going too easily and wondering when the mobsters are going to unleash their "big punch". It turns out to be [[spoiler:an attack helicopter.]]
* DeepCoverAgent: [[spoiler:Mafia underboss Leo Turrin, actually a federal agent who feeds Bolan inside information.]]
* DirtyCommunists: The Stony Man series is based on the [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar Reagan-era view that the Soviet Union]] was the DiabolicalMastermind behind international terrorism. However the Able Team series, while maintaining this anti-communist stance, is highly critical of US policy in supporting [[BananaRepublic Latin American dictatorships]].
* DualWielding: Bolan prefers fighting at range, but he's not above using a pair of melee weapons if the situation calls for it, such as his paired knife and tomahawk combo in Mission to Burma.
* EnemyMine: Bolan sometimes teams up with those he would normally oppose to stop a bigger threat, such as teaming with members of an El Salvadorian death squad in ''Blood Vector'' to stop a global bioweapons attack. Bolan's makeshift allies almost inevitably turn on him as soon as the greater threat is neutralized.
* EvilAlbino: Played as straight as possible in ''Invisible Invader''. One of the main villain's henchmen is an albino assassin simply called The Albino. While the other villains are described in detail, The Albino's real name and country of origin are never revealed.
* EvilCounterpart: On several occasions elite soldiers (in fact entire mercenary units) are hired by the Mafia to kill Bolan. He is clever enough not to fight them directly, but instead uses hit-and-run and [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty infiltration / manipulation]] tactics.
* {{Expy}}: The comic book hero ''ThePunisher''.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Captain Wade, the head of security for Stony Man Farm, who sells out to terrorist Al Miller in ''Day of Mourning'', resulting in an assault on the farm that ends with the death of April Rose.]]
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Played with in one book with Bolan is arrested for killing a prostitute found murdered in his hotel. At first, the small town cops, D.A. and public defender think it's just a random killing until they find out who Bolan is. On the stand, Bolan's attorney asks why someone would bother framing a man who's proudly confessed to killing countless mobsters. Bolan replies it was a trap, noting how he was nearly killed in the jail shower but ended up killing his attackers.
* GirlOfTheWeek / TemporaryLoveInterest / CartwrightCurse: Bolan encounters a beautiful woman in every novel, though he doesn't necessarily sleep with them. Some die, others live to be encountered in future novels (such as the Ranger Girls, who turn out to be federal agents). The ForgottenFallenFriend trope was somewhat averted; dead allies often weighed on Bolan's conscience past the novel they died in, such as Cuban ''[[ActionGirl soldado]]'' Margarita and federal agent Georgette Chebleu.
* GunPorn: The Gold Eagle novels usually have trading-card stats of relevant weapons. Plus every CoolGun on the planet must have been used by the protagonists at one time or another. The members of Phoenix Force all use different firearms (reflecting their different backgrounds) [[FridgeLogic even though standardization of ammunition, magazines and spare parts]] would make more sense.
* GunsAkimbo: Bolan frequently fights with a gun in each hand, usually a HandCannon and his Beretta. Sometimes his allies or enemies do this as well.
* HandCannon: One of Bolan's regularly carried handguns is the massive .44 Desert Eagle; before this he used the [[RareGuns .44 [=AutoMag=]]].
* HeroLookingForGroup: In the second novel ''Death Squad'', Bolan enlists several Vietnam veterans to help him in his war against the Mafia, but all of them get killed except for '[[MrFixit Gadgets]]' Schwartz and '[[TheSocialExpert The Politician]]' Blancanales, who along with 'Ironman' Carl Lyons become Able Team in the Gold Eagle books.
* HopelessWar: Bolan calls it his "War Everlasting". He [[TragicHero knows he can never win]] but feels he must fight anyway, as every bad guy he kills saves many innocents.
* IcyBlueEyes: Bolan's icy blue eyes are mentioned on numerous occasions. For many people it's the last thing they ever see.
* ImpersonationGambit: Bolan would pull this on both the local police (to gather intelligence) and the Mafia (in order to destroy them via a BatmanGambit), usually by posing as a federal agent or an [[ProfessionalKiller elite hitman]] sent from New York to kill Bolan.
* ItsWhatIDo: Bolan uses these exact words on more than one occasion.
* IWantThemAlive: The mob bosses would love to get Bolan alive so they can torture him to death. The more practical hitmen assigned to this task tend to ignore these orders.
* JudgeJuryAndExecutioner: Local police and mafiosi suspect that Bolan is secretly working for the CIA. Ironically Bolan was offered a 'license' by Justice Department official Hal Brognola early in the series, only to turn it down as he didn't want to "drag the rest of the country into hell with him". Hal Brognola continued to feed Bolan information though, and later convinced him to join the Stony Man program.
* KnifeNut: Bolan occasionally goes up against these, such as the group of Southeast Asian pirates/terrorists in Blood Tide.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: Occasionally when two different groups are both opposing Bolan, he will manipulate or bait them into fighting each other while he escapes or lurks around picking off members of both sides.
* LongRunningBookSeries: Surely one of the principal examples, currently clocking in at ''[[OverNineThousand over six hundred titles.]]''
* LoveInterest: Valentina "Val" Querente, whom Bolan met in the first novel, though their relationship didn't continue. [[HeroesWantRedheads April Rose]] was introduced as an electronic spying specialist for Hal Brognola at the end of Bolan's Mafia War arc; she later became MissionControl at Stony Man. Although [[GirlOfTheWeek beautiful women continued to pop up on every mission]], Bolan never slept with any of them until after April's death.
* MacheteMayhem: Bolan often engages in jungle warfare with terrorists throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and other regions where machetes are commonly carried by both soldiers and civilians. As such, it's not uncommon for Bolan to be attacked by panga wielding rebels in Africa, Filipinos packing bolos, parang wielding Indonesians, and so on. Sometimes, Bolan himself will turn these weapons on his attackers.
* MagicBullets: Bolan goes to a lot of trouble to protect police and innocent bystanders, but it seems unrealistic that no-one is ever harmed by stray bullets or flying shrapnel, especially when he's using military weapons in inner-city areas.
* MagicPlasticSurgery: Bolan had his face changed to look like an Italian-American buddy who was killed in Vietnam, in order to help him infiltrate the mob.
* MasterOfDisguise: Bolan calls this "role camouflage", which is based on psychology rather than physical disguises. He knows that no-one will associate the friendly telephone repairman or smooth elite hitman from New York with the notorious blacksuited OneManArmy.
* MeaningfulName: When posing as a Black Ace hitman Bolan uses the alias Omega (i.e. the End). After [[FakingTheDead faking his death]] in the fiery destruction of his war wagon, Bolan takes the identity of Colonel John Macklin Phoenix, [[ThePhoenix rising from his own ashes]] to lead the Stony Man operation.
* {{Mook}}: Bolan mows down dozens of unnamed thugs, gangsters, terrorists, gangbangers and other scum in every book without breaking a sweat. In one book, Bolan even refers to some of them as mooks.
* MookFaceTurn: Usually an underling whose life Bolan spares early in the book ends up helping him. The most notable case is Jack Grimaldi, a mercenary AcePilot for the mob who joined Bolan's crusade and ended up working for Stony Man. A number of law enforcement officials end up turning a blind eye to his activities as well, such as LAPD cop Carl Lyons who later joins Able Team.
* MurderInc: The Black Aces, elite {{Professional Killer}}s led by the Talifero brothers and answering only to the New York Mafia Commission. They are held in awe by the average [[{{Mook}} Mafia footsoldier]] and are often described as [[AffablyEvil radiating 'class' and charisma]]. Bolan is able to use this awe to his advantage by posing as a Black Ace in order to manipulate events.
* NeverBeAHero: Mack discourages his kid brother from following in his footsteps. Later Johnny teams up with his brother after his own run-in with the Mafia, but eventually decides he doesn't have what it takes to engage in the War Everlasting, so provides MissionControl services instead.
* NightmareDreams: Bolan dreams of wading through rivers of blood while everyone takes pot-shots at him. He doesn't need a shrink to interpret the meaning of this.
* NobleShoplifter: In ''War Against the Mafia'', Mack Bolan starts his crusade against the Mob by breaking into a gun store and taking a large amount of firearms and ammunition. However, he leaves behind enough cash to cover what he took, plus the damage to the store. When interviewed in the newspaper, the proprietor says he doesn't consider this a robbery, but rather a transaction that took place while the store was closed.
* OneManArmy: Bolan constantly goes up against hordes of mobsters, terrorists, cartel members, and other heavily armed groups and wipes them out while receiving only minor injuries.
* PhotographicMemory: Bolan uses this to good effect when posing as a Black Ace; Mafia footsoldiers are flattered that he appears to know minor details about their lives.
* RecklessGunUsage: Late in ''War Against The Mafia'', Bolan spies on a presumably untrained mobster scratching his shoulder with the barrel of his gun.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Bolan denies that he's acting out of revenge; he's simply [[JumpedAtTheCall the man most qualified]] to fight what he sees as a cancer on society. This view tends to go out the window when a GirlOfTheWeek gets turned into a turkey.
* RogueAgent: Though unlike [[FromCamouflageToCriminal most examples]], he started off [[VigilanteMan as this]]. After being framed by the KGB and the death of his LoveInterest, Bolan decided to go back to fighting evil his way. Though he still does the occasional 'deniable' job for his old colleagues.
* SexyShirtSwitch: Mack's GirlOfTheWeek in ''Dixie Convoy'' does this; lounging around the war Wagon in one of Mack's shirts.
* SpyCatsuit: Bolan's infamous 'blacksuit', worn not only to hide him in the dark but also for its psychological effect.
* TheSyndicate / NebulousEvilOrganisation: Bolan thinks he's fatally weakened TheMafia, but discovers (even as he's preparing to move to Stony Man) that it's remarkably resilient. Other criminal organizations include TRIO (a union of Oriental crime groups such as {{Yakuza}} and the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]]) and MERGE (its Western/Latin American equivalent), along with the [[DirtyCommunists KGB]], renegade CIA, [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-Nazi groups]], and various [[TerroristsWithoutACause terrorist organisations]] -- Bolan and his allies must have fought every bad guy in existence by now.
* TelecomTree: In ''Dixie Convoy'', the truckers helping Mack Bolan use CB radio to spread a message from one coast of the U.S. to the others.
%%* TerrorHero
* ThouShaltNotKill: '''Definitely''' averted! But it is worth noting that, as the series has progressed over the decades, not every book ends with Bolan putting a bullet between the eyes of a villain begging for mercy. A few times (gasp), Bolan even decides to let them stand trial, though granted this more often occurs with non-organized crime targets.
* TranquilFury: Mack Bolan ''never'' goes into UnstoppableRage.
* {{Tykebomb}}: In ''American Nightmare'', Blocker, the main villain has three people working alongside him, posing as his family. His "children" are two siblings who were left behind during the final moments of UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, whom he bought and raised to be hardened killers.
* VigilanteMan: Mack Bolan during the "Mafia Wars" and frequently during the later novels.
* VillainsWantMercy: Invoked occasionally, often in the last page or two, and usually just before Bolan puts a gun between their eyes and pulls the trigger.
* VulnerableConvoy: Armoured limousines are no good against an opponent who uses anti-tank rockets on a regular basis.
* WarriorPoet: Bolan is very well read -- each novel begins with a couple of quotes from a literary work, then a quote from Bolan's [[{{Diary}} journal]] giving his own take on it. His favorite book is ''Literature/DonQuixote'' by Miguel de Cervantes, as Bolan often sees himself as WindmillCrusader.
* WeaponizedCar: The "war wagon" (a 26-foot GMC motor home equipped with laser-enhanced infra-red cameras, electronic surveillance devices, a computer database with phone link (in the 1970's!) and guided missiles) was [[WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys constructed with the help of moonlighting NASA engineers sympathetic to his cause]], and financed with [[RobbingTheMobBank stolen mob money]], much to their chagrin. Replaced by the Laser Wagon (with upgraded electronics and weaponry) once Mack became official.
* WouldNotShootAGoodGuy: Bolan doesn't kill civilians or law enforcement officials, both for moral reasons and because he knows people will turn a blind eye to his activities as long as he's just killing the bad guys. (This is in contrast to some Executioner-inspired series where collateral damage, even against cops, is handwaved away as part of the job.)