Stephen Mertz writes thrillers (sometimes with a political tinge) as well as westerns.
He tells me BLAZE! A SON OF A GUN is a favourite of his own works. It’s ninth in a series of westerns with the same leading characters – J.D. and Kate Blaze – written by a variety of different authors. J.D. and Kate are two of the deadliest gunfighters in the Old West. They also happen to be husband and wife.
They set off in pursuit of the Ludlow brothers, a trio of crazed and vicious outlaws wanted by the Pinkertons, and trail them to a deserted Arizona ranch. They’re ready for the unexpected – but not running into a young gunfighter who claims to be J.D.’s son! This same young man has troubles of his own: a ruthless cattle baron and a gang of bloodthirsty nightriders on his trail.
Here’s ALAN PINKERTON, head of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, with President ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Real outlaw hide-outs included the ranch run by the BASSETT sisters – ANN and JOSIE – at Brown’s Hole (now Brown’s Park) on the Utah/ Colorado border.
Others were Robbers Roost in Utah
and Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming.
All were frequently used as hide-outs by BUTCH CASSIDY and his Wild Bunch in the 1890s.
Before then, Brown’s Hole was frequented by less well known outlaw bands such as the TIP GAULT Gang, the TOM CROWLEY Gang, the ‘MEXICAN JOE’ HERRERA Gang, the ‘DOC’ BENDER Gang, the MCCARTY Gang and others.
‘Rancho Notorious’ was a 1952 movie featuring a ranch used as a headquarters by outlaws.
Arthur Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich and Mel Ferrer in ‘Rancho Notorious.’
REVIEWS of ‘BLAZE’ A SON OF A GUN:
‘Pure pulp joy. Its plot is simple, linear and well executed.’
‘Blaze at its best.'