Don Pendleton

Arizona Ambush

'Man is that part of nature through which the cosmic process has become conscious and has begun to comprehend itself. His supreme task is to increase that conscious comprehension and to apply it as fully as possible to guide the course of events... to discover his destiny as agent of the evolutionary process...'

Julian Huxley

'I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby.'

Winston Churchill

'There is little comfort in a life dedicated to thunderation and hellfire everlasting. But I accept the role destiny has handed me. The goals then become simplified. I live only for the destruction of the Mafia.'

Mack Bolan, from his journal.

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.


Special thanks to Mike Newton for valuable assistance in the development of this book.


Personal awakening may come in many forms, the variations as infinite as the possibilities of human development. For young Sergeant Mack Bolan, that awakening came one summer afternoon in the form of a telegram. Bolan was completing his second combat tour of duty in South Vietnam when word reached him of the deaths of his father, mother, and sister. Returning to the States to care for those beloved dead, Bolan had been thrust jarringly into head-on confrontation with a shady underside of civilization that most people never see or even imagine.

Mack Bolan's family had run afoul of the Mafia, that sinister criminal society which had blossomed from its own tiny beginnings a century ago into what one recent attorney general called the 'invisible second government' of the United States, with bloody hands dipping into virtually every legal or illicit field of enterprise imaginable.

A highly skilled professional warrior, Mack Bolan early recognized the means by which the evil mafiosi have managed to frustrate and emasculate the American legal system, and he reacted in the only way remaining. It was a technique which, in Vietnam, had earned him the label of The Executioner.

'What's the use in fighting an enemy 8,000 miles away,' young Bolan had asked, 'when the real enemy is tearing up everything you love back home?'

Thus was the Executioner's war brought to America, an unending holy war against the forces of evil, the forces of Mafia. Against all the odds, the warrior survived his first engagement with the omnipotent crime syndicate and swept on to confront the brutal godfathers on other battlefields. Wherever La Cosa Nostra reared its foul head, the implacable Executioner was ready, willing, and able to lop off that head.

The Mafia was taken totally off guard, woefully unprepared to face Mack Bolan's personal style of relentless warfare. They knew that in the end they must win out, the odds were simply too great, too impossible for any one man, even a supremely conditioned warrior, to stand indefinitely against the combined might of the organization. And yet, in the meantime, Bolan seemed to lead a charmed life as he rampaged across the Mafia's fortress America at will, pillaging the empire of corruption and evil.

The Executioner's latest foray against the syndicate legions had been in Cleveland, Ohio, where he frustrated the imperial dreams of one Bad Tony Morello and routed the Mafia troops again. It was Bolan's thirtieth campaign against the mob, and even the soldier himself realized that his string of good fortune could not last forever. It would run out one day, probably sooner than later. But in the meantime, Bolan was determined to use the last ounce of his strength — the last drop of his life's blood — to carry out his war against the enemy. His was a war without quarter asked or given, a war without possibility of peace or surrender, short of the grave.

A Marine captain,[1] in a different war for similar, if not identical, goals, had written a hymn to gallantry in battle which well characterized Bolan's quixotic quest:

Who plows the sky, said a wise man, Shows himself a fool; But he went out to plow it Taught in a different school.

Who sows the wind, says Scripture, Must reap and reap again; But he went out to sow the wind And reaped the bitter grain.

He took his death like charity, Like nothing understood; He freshened all the oldest words With all his blood.

Yeah, Executioner Mack Bolan was ready and willing to spend his blood, and that of his enemies, to freshen those old words. Words like peace, justice, virtue. Words with meaning even yet, although the Mafia had done its level best to distort and erase that meaning.

The Executioner was prepared to put the meaning back into those hallowed words. With all his blood.

Chapter 1


The big man crouched in darkness, immobile, his alert senses sending out reconnaissance probes into the surrounding blackness. Around him, the desert was vibrantly alive with secret movement — the nocturnal thrust and counterthrust of instinctive survival. Insects trilled lightly in the thorny bush beside the man, and somewhere on his flank a sidewinder lisped across the sand in its endless search for prey. The man, Mack Bolan, was also hunting, but his quarry was far deadlier than the venomous desert reptile.

The Executioner was hunting cannibals. He had followed their spoor from the killing grounds in Cleveland to the expanses of Arizona, where he found them in abundance. The Mafia savages were there, daily strengthening their parasitic grip upon society in the Grand Canyon State. There had, indeed, been such a wealth of targets that Bolan spent the better part of a week in Tucson merely cataloguing them and gauging their numbers, seeking the most propitious point and moment to strike. Amid the now familiar recital of scams and swindles which everywhere marked the symptoms of the Mafia cancer, the Executioner had uncovered 'something else.' Beginning with vague whispers, fragmented rumors of a 'joint in the desert,' Bolan had gradually pieced together an admittedly incomplete portrait of something special brewing on the Tucson Mafia scene — 'something else' worth further in- depth investigation.

Bolan had found the 'Joint in the desert' late on his sixth day in Tucson. He had come without preconceptions, expecting nothing and open to any opportunity for a 'handle' on this latest phase of his unending war. What he found was an enigma. A solution without a mystery, an answer lacking the question. And so he had returned in darkness, seeking that question which would, in turn, lead him on to yet other questions and their ultimate solutions.

The Tucson Mafia's 'joint in the desert' was a military-style compound covering some thirty acres and ringed with tall chain-link and barbed-wire fences. In daylight, long, squat buildings were visible near the heart of the compound, all darkened now in the predawn hours.

The big project of the Arizona Mafia was currently narcotics, the wholesale importation of marijuana and

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