Sunday, January 22, 2017

MIA HUNTER: L. A. GANG WAR by Stephen Mertz (Jack Buchanan)

A three-man strike force accustomed to rescuing prisoners of war in the jungles of Vietnam is stateside on a rogue mission in Los Angeles. Mark Stone, known as the MIA Hunter, is asked by an old war buddy, now a deputy chief with LAPD, to help rescue Rick Chavez from a Colombian drug cartel. Chavez is a Pulitzer award winning journalist who has been writing a series of hard and insightful articles about the drug trade in L. A. The articles have enough detail that the LAPD and the drug gangs—Crips, Bloods and their Colombian suppliers—want to know where his information is coming from.

When Stone and his team arrive on scene, Chavez is being held prisoner in a palatial home in San Clemente; a few doors down from Richard Nixon's house. It takes the team only a few minutes, several hundred rounds of 9mm lead slung by MAC 10s, some smart one liners, and a close call or three, to pull Chavez out of the house. But this is the beginning for the MIA team because as the team is exfiltrating from the firefight, Stone sees a familiar face. A face that belongs to a man who tried to kill Mark Stone in Vietnam.

MIA Hunter: L. A. Gang War—the thirteenth entry in the series—is an entertaining example of the men’s adventure mania of the 1980s. Originally published in 1990 (an honorary member of the 1980s), it is a time capsule of the era, capturing society’s anxiety with an escalating war on drugs, violent street gangs spreading the poison and in the process claiming entire neighborhoods, all in the shadow of America's defeat in Vietnam. It is non-stop action, accented with betrayal, revenge, and the MIA team’s seeming endless supply of bravado and super hero combat skills. There is also a touch of humor, if you look closely, and even a big idea or two. L. A. Gang War is a top-notch example of both the series and the genre.          


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Ben, the MIA Hunter: L.A. Gang War series sounds like a spin-off of Don Pendleton's The Executioner as well as Able Team and Phoenix Force series, all of which are my kind of action novels.

Ben Boulden said...

Prashant. The MIA Hunter series is very much in the vein of The Executioner. In fact, Stephen Mertz was one of the early writers of the non-Don Pendleton Mack Bolan books in the mid-1980s.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I'm growing old, Ben. In a post on Mack Bolan couple of years ago, I did, in fact, mention that Stephen Mertz, Mike Newton, Thomas Ramirez, and Mel Odom were some of the writers of the non-Don Pendleton Mack Bolan novels. I should have remembered that.