Book Review: Mercenary Blues

If you are a fan of TV shows like Burn Notice and White Collar, you’ll enjoy this book. Mercenary Blues is a fast-paced story of a mercenary and her team seeking revenge after their first contract tries to stiff them on payment. Emma decided the best way to force President Vega to pay her what she is owed is to start up a new coup and cause so many problems for him that it will be cheaper to pay her than to keep paying people to clean up the mess she makes.

It’s an over-the-top logic. But then again, it’s an over-the-top situation. Though Emma is a seasoned mercenary, she has only recently launched her own business and it would hurt her reputation if she doesn’t get paid. And it isn’t like she can sue. Her only option is to force President Vega’s hand. And that is what she sets out to do. Emma is a fun character, and you’ll want to read to the end to find out if she get’s her money or just gets herself killed.

The big problems I had with the story was sporadic head jumping to provide data dumps and peculiar leaps of logic from both Emma and her enemies. For example, in the opening scene, Emma sneaks into a room with a soldier sitting at a desk. The author head jumps to the soldier, who we learn from his thoughts assumes Emma must be a prostitute hired by the General to service the men. Now why the soldier would think a woman dressed in black 5.11 TDU pants, a rapid assault shirt, and combat boots (and carrying a P-90 submachine gun) was a prostitute is beyond me. It’s a weird leap of logic that breaks the continuity of the scene. The scene would have been much better if the author had simply avoided the head jump at all and just let Emma charge the guy without being privy to his illogical thought process.

Later, Emma and her partner are looking for a place to set up a base of operations and decide to use one of the President’s many homes, based solely on the unsubstantiated conclusion that nobody uses the house and there is a cleaning crew there for only a few hours a month. This might have made sense if Emma had previously staked the house out for weeks in the event they needed an emergency place to lay low. But there was no advanced thought in this. Instead, they just picked a house, determined who the owner was, and made a conclusion based on limited evidence.

Mercenary Blues is a fun book despite these issues, however. There is a strong tongue-in-cheek tone throughout the narrative that makes the logical lapses acceptable even when they aren’t plausible.

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