Don Pendleton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He served in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean War. His first short story was published in 1957, but it was not until 1967, at the age of forty, that he left his career as an aerospace engineer and turned to writing full-time. After producing a number of science fiction and mystery novels, in 1969, Pendleton launched the Executioner saga with War Against the Mafia. The series, starring Vietnam veteran Mack Bolan, was so successful it inspired a new American literary genre, and Pendleton became known as the father of action-adventure.