Occasionally-- say, about two or three times a year-- I indulge in my dirty little reading secret. That is, I break open the stash of "men's adventure" books from the '70's. I hide it right behind the porno and the ELO collection.
The Executioner. The Death Merchant. The Destroyer. Able Team. Etc...
Most of them are not very well-written, and I honestly can't recommend them (except maybe The Destroyer, which always had its tongue firmly in cheek) but they are so fast-paced, so nicely plotted, that I can't resist taking an evening once in awhile to plow through one.
Did I say nicely-plotted? Well, that's not exactly true. Most of the plots are pretty thin, honestly. So I just told you a lie.
No, the real appeal of these books is the over-the-top violence. It's almost erotic sometimes, the loving detail The Executioner books will lavish upon every exploding head, every bullet ripping into someone's guts, every knife slid across a throat.
And the exclamation marks!! Wow!!!
I think the writers of '70's men's adventure paperbacks used up all the exclamation marks, just like the baby boomers used up all the social security. That's why we have a shortage of punctuation these days.
Here's a sample, from one of the Death Merchant books:
"Trapped!... Another snarl of shots. More messengers of death drumming close to Camellion's head! More brick splinters stinging his cheeks!
...The Browning in his hand may as well have been a toy pistol!"
Exciting, isn't it!!!
I actually learned a bit about violent detail from these books when I was a younger writer. "I shot him in the head. Bone and bits of brain matter blew out the back of his skull." Yeah, I wrote that, several years ago, stolen almost line by line from the Executioner.
But I left out the exclamation marks!!!