What’s the difference? In reality, less than one might think. In general, I think, the “Action Adventure” genre, as exemplified (and coined) by Don Pendleton’s Executioner series, which spawned multiple spinoffs and inspired others (there is actually a flashback in SOBs #3, Butchers of Eden, in which Col. Barrabas remembers a night fighting back to back in Vietnam with Sgt. Mack Bolan), has generally been looked down upon as cheap, poorly-done “pulp,” with even less merit than comic books. “Techno-thrillers,” ostensibly started by Tom Clancy with The Hunt for Red October, are considered better quality and more realistic, though still sneered at by the literati (I had a high-school English teacher speak dismissively of Clancy as “pop-lit.”).
Some reflections on this subject have started, in part because of how long it’s taken me to get into Lex Talionis, in part because of a few of the reactions I’ve gotten to the announcement that the fifth book in the Praetorians series will also be the final one. After all, my primary audience seems to be focused on the Praetorians, so why not keep telling stories about Jeff and Co.? There are a few reasons. For one, when I started the Jed Horn series with A Silver Cross and a Winchester, I found that I just needed a break, a different outlet for my mind. That need hasn’t gone away, which is why I’ve been alternating between series and genres for the last couple of years. I’ve also made the statement that I’ve put Jeff and his boys through some pretty harrowing stuff over the last four books. I was starting to touch on how it was wearing on Jeff as a man (not a Mack Bolan superman) in The Devil You Don’t Know. That’s coming out in spades in Lex Talionis. Most real-world shooters only have so many years of running and gunning before they either go contract