Thursday 7 July 2022




The classic 1970s vigilante series is back... for the first time in nearly fifty years.

Ben Martin is a married, Vietnam vet who opens a produce wholesale business in New York City. Life is good until he's threatened by mobsters, who demand protection money from him to continue doing business. But they soon discover that they are the ones who need protection…from him. Instead of backing off, the mob retaliates, leading to bloodshed and tragedy, and spurring Martin into a one-man war on crime that could cost him his soul and his life.

This new edition features an Afterword by Eric Compton, co-host of the Paperback Warrior podcast.

Another author and another series of books that I would have remained in blissful ignorance of without Lee Goldberg and Brash Books republishing them recently.

Jon Messmann wrote six Revenger novels featuring ex-Vietnam vet, Ben Martin back in civilian life and rubbing up against the mob. 

Martin is married with a son, who he adores. One day he spots some heavies trying to extort protection money from a neighbouring small business. He intervenes and sends them packing with violence. The boys he hurts are syndicate men. Things escalate and he pays a heavy personal price which causes an irrevocable rift with his wife.

From them on, it's all out war on the mob with no quarter asked or given. Martin has learned some unique skills as a behind enemy lines assassin in Vietnam, one of only a half dozen or so men who did so. One man against the mob and they don't really stand a chance.

I'm a sucker for a revenge thriller, full of violence and vengeance and unleashed fury. Here I got that, but Messmann also blends the action with some thought and philosophy. What accommodations should people and society make with those who would take advantage of them? Is there a price that can be paid that doesn't surrender too much heart, pride or soul? A little bit given, maybe. Ben Martin is of the 'give them an inch they'll take a mile' school of thought. No Surrender. He breathes fire and brimstone and has the ability to unleash hell.

I really liked this one. I was kind of reminded a bit of John Rambo in David Morrell's First Blood. 

A cracking, bruising start to a series I know I'll love. Roll on the other five! 

4 stars from 5

Read - April, 2022
Published - 1973
Page count - 155
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle


  1. This one sounds power-packed, Col. It is interesting to think about how much we should(n't) give, so I can see how that question might be appealing. And it sounds as though there are some interesting questions about revenge, too. There are times when we can understand why someone would go all-out like that. Mostly I'm glad there are publishers out there who are bringing back some of those stories that might otherwise be lost.

    1. Margot, I've always enjoyed revenge as a motivator for a story. It's quite empowering. I like the focus this publisher gives to forgotten works that still have the power to entertain.