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The Rat Bastards landing in 2022

The Rat Bastards landing in 2022

Posted by Bryson Merrick on Jan 6th 2022

They stormed the shores of men's adventure fiction ...

Halfway across the world, some of the toughest, meanest, deadliest men on earth stormed a beach called Guadalcanal. And they were the heroes! The Rat Bastards blasted their way across the South Pacific in sixteen novels by Len Levinson, writing as John Mackie.

After nearly four decades of being effectively out of print, Bold Venture Press, under license from Len Levinson, will begin issuing new editions with introductions and afterwords by the author. The series will be repackaged in 6" x 9" trade paperbacks.

Among the series stars were Sgt. John Butsko, who seemed only at peace while destroying enemy troops with his bare hands; Frankie LaBarbara, a Brooklyn numbers runner; Sam Longtree, a Native American tracker, and Reverend Billy Jones, who often led the team in prayer (whether they liked it or not) before another bloody campaign.

"Len Levinson established the gold standard in World War II mens adventure fiction," says Rich Harvey, publisher. "The Rat Bastards was gruesome and bloody, but the series also featured genuine moments of pathos. It portrayed both the American and Japanese soldiers as competent players in a deadly game of life or death. The Rat Bastards epitomizes everything great about the men's adventure genre, while successfully aspiring to be much more."

The series debuted in 1983, published by Jove, and appeared in mainstream bookstores for three years. Once The Rat Bastards ended their tour of duty, they became regulars at used bookstores and online book sites.

The first Bold Venture issue is tentatively scheduled for June 2022.

The Rat Bastards
Len Levinson (writing as John Mackie)

  1. Hit the Beach
  2. Death Squad
  3. River of Blood
  4. Meat Grinder Hill
  5. Down and Dirty
  6. Green Hell
  7. Too Mean to Die
  8. Hot Lead and Cold Steel
  9. Do or Die
  10. Kill Crazy
  11. Nightmare Alley
  12. Go for Broke
  13. Tough Guys Die Hard
  14. Suicide River
  15. Satan's Cage
  16. Go Down Fighting