Watching the Detectives

Watching the Detectives

Cold in The Grave by Stephen MertzLike the guy in the Elvis Costello song who can’t seem to get to first base because all his girl wants to do is watch the detectives on TV, I had one heck of a time balancing my high school homework with all those detective shows that dominated my TV watching as a teenager. I’m talking about the days of Peter Gunn, 77 Sunset Strip, not to mention scores of second rate imitations like Bourbon Street Beat. Johnny Staccato. Richard Diamond. And on and on and on.

Most of my teenage reading time, including study hall, consisted of absorbing the literary (if that’s the word) equivalent of those shows. King of the private eye writers will always be Mickey Spillane and his hardboiled hero, Mike Hammer. But as with the TV shows, there was an endless array of tough guy investigators from whose adventures one could choose: there was Mike Shayne. There was Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and Shell Scott and Ed Noon and Lou Largo and . . . well, you get the idea. There were a whole lot of those series; most of them with vivid covers showing barely clad babes posed holding pistols. Such books crowded the paperback spin racks when I was coming up. And I read most of them.

My latest novel, Cold in the Grave from Wolfpack Publishing, is in some ways a return to my roots after all these years. Kilroy, my new PI hero, is a retro old school tough guy all the way; the contemporary embodiment of those hard-hitting PI’s I grew up watching and reading. When one Amazon reviewer commented that Kilroy was reminiscent of Mike Hammer, I knew I’d accomplished what I set out to do.

I’ve created a character who isn’t afraid to take a stand and is mercifully free of the doubt and negative baggage and moral ambiguity that hobble so many of today’s so-called heroes. Any man would be proud to consider Kilroy a pal. A woman could do worse. He’s the friend any of us would call first when trouble comes knocking. An old school PI for today who wears his heart on his sleeve and a .44 Magnum in his shoulder holster.

Cold in the Grave is the first in this new series and is available now in eBook and paperback here.