Stephen Mertz is an American fiction author who is best known for his mainstream thrillers and novels of suspense. His work covers a wide variety of styles from paranormal dark suspense (Night Wind and Devil Creek) to historical speculative thrillers (Blood Red Sun) and hardboiled noir (Fade to Tomorrow).
His novels have been well-received critically. Booklist called Night Wind, “fast-paced...a white-knuckle read.” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine labeled Mertz, “an action specialist."
Mertz is also a popular lecturer on the craft of writing and has appeared as a guest speaker before writer’s groups and at universities.
During high school and college, Steve regularly scandalized his “literary, well-intentioned” creative writing teachers with “thud and blunder melodramas.” Throughout military service, travel, and a wide variety of jobs, his goal remained to become a publishing, full-time freelance professional. “It was never a question for me of if, but always when." His first national sale was to a mystery magazine, and his first novel, a detective thriller entitled Some Die Hard, was published under the pseudonym of Stephen Brett. Another Brett novel, The Vampire Chase, followed, as did a string of mystery and suspense short stories.
Steve’s writing output increased dramatically when he emerged as one of the country’s most in-demand writers of adventure paperback novels, averaging four books per year for ten years. His work on Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan series is regarded by fans as some of the best in that series. He also created the Mark Stone: MIA Hunter and Cody's Army series, written under the pseudonyms Jack Buchanan and Jim Case respectively.
Later he concentrated on reducing the volume of his output and further improving the quality of his prose. This strategy paid off with the publication of his hardcover novel, Night Wind (Five Star, 2002), written under his own name. Steve has also written short stories for publishers including Mysterious Press, Tor Books, New American Library, and Black Lizard Press. “Appearing in The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction meant a lot to me. I was privileged to share a contents page with the likes of Ray Bradbury and Mickey Spillane. I was paid for the story, but some things are worth more than money!”
Edgar-winning bestseller Joe R. Lansdale praises Steve for writing “a hard-edged thriller for those who like their tales straight and sharp and full of dark surprise.” And this from Edgar Award winning author Max Allan Collins, author of Road to Predition: "Stephen Mertz is one of my favorite novelists...a wonderful writer."
Steve’s recent novels include Hank & Muddy, and The Korean Intercept, which received this rave review from Booklist: “Fans of political thrillers will relish this high-action tale! An adrenaline rush!” His latest published novel is The Castro Directive (Crossroad Press).
Stephen Mertz has traveled widely and is a U.S. Army veteran. He presently lives in the American Southwest, and he is always at work on a new book.