Friday, July 20, 2018
FFB: Some Die Hard by Stephen Mertz
Rock Dugan, former Hollywood stuntman turned private investigator, is swept into the mystery of why a man being chased by two thugs ended up dead. It turns out the man, who bumped into Dugan during his getaway, slipped an envelope into Dugan’s jacket pocket. The envelope contained gambling IOUs obtained by the dead man before he could deliver them to Susan Court.
Intrigued and feeling an obligation to get the envelope into Ms. Court’s hands, Dugan tracks her down. She hires him and takes him to the estate of her wealthy father. The father ends up dying in a very strange manner which Dugan believes to be murder. I will not give away the locked-room device or its solution, and just say that Stephen Mertz spins a fast-paced and enjoyable journey to the conclusion.
Some Die Hard is also a modern hard-boiled detective story in which the PI, Dugan, is pretty tough but not too hard-boiled. He encounters aggressive suspects, a goonish police chief and a former jockey with a pistol before the action really heats up.
Published in 1979, Some Die Hard was reissued a few years ago by Rough Edges Press and the Kindle version I read had a bonus at the end. In it, Stephen Mertz explains how the book first came to be published by a house specializing in paperback originals, and how that publisher tried screw him out of any money owed him. Stephen Mertz also tells how he got his revenge and his money.
(For more posts on books, check out Todd Mason's blog.)