Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Blaze # 1 by Stephen Mertz

Blaze is a great book for fans of the Gunsmith or Longarm series and beautifully written by veteran action writer Stephen Mertz. The author gently and correctly reminded me recently that e-books are the new paperbacks and that men’s adventure stories are enjoying a new golden age as e-books. That certainly appears to be true judging by the popularity of these titles. Blaze is published by Rough Edges Press and various authors have contributed to the series. The first entry introduces J. D. (Jehoram Delfonso) Blaze and Kate, his beautiful wife. They are a husband and wife gunfighter-for-hire team, a unique duo to be sure. They’ve been at this game for five years, and the action in this first tale is spot-on. As shootists for hire, they “never rode the outlaw trail” and hired on to ranchers, the railroad, bank syndicates and others in need of a trustworthy gun. I love that set-up. It’s fresh, it’s exciting and Stephen Mertz knows how to write a great action story. The introduction recounts their first meeting five years earlier when they’re resting up after surviving an ambush. J. D. gets to reminiscing about their first meeting, and then back to the present for their latest hot-blooded adventure. Kate is a fantastic character as well, and with the characters established readers are treated to a solid, exciting story in the grand tradition of men’s adventure pulp paperbacks. I’ve actually read a few of the others as well, and I liked them all. I downloaded them to my Kindle, but I read them on my phone using the Kindle app. I’m still trying to get accustomed to the digital world of e-books. I’d love to see Blaze in paperback on a spinner rack. Maybe someday. Meanwhile, author Stephen Mertz has multiple e-books available. Also recommended - Night Wind, the MIA Hunter series, Some Die Hard, and Sherlock Holmes: Zombies Over London (just the title on this one excites me!). Of course, many of you will recall that he wrote The Executioner # 62, Day of Mourning, a landmark entry in the Mack Bolan series. Recommended.

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