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The Fixer
Jon F. Merz
Pinnacle Books, 340 pages

The Fixer
Jon F. Merz
Jon F. Merz was born in Norwood, Massachusetts. Before becoming a full-time writer, he served in the US Air Force, worked for the U.S. Government, co-owned a website development company and worked at the Boston Martial Arts Center. The Fixer is his first novel. Others in the Lawson Vampire series are underway.

Jon F. Merz Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Lawson isn't your typical hit man. He's a fixer, which means when vampires step out of line and threaten the law of Balance, (the code of ethics that protects the oblivious humans as well as vampire kind) he steps in and takes care of them. It's easy for him, because he's not worried about their mythological strength, or their hypnotic power. He's a vampire too.

Years ago, he came up against a rather nasty piece of work named Cosgrove, who he wanted to sanction with extreme prejudice, but the council forbade it. Lawson couldn't understand their decision... Cosgrove had gleefully murdered 50 humans. He decided that he had to go after Cosgrove despite orders, and almost got himself killed. When he hears Cosgrove is back in Boston, Lawson is less than thrilled. He has a few scores to settle, scores that go much farther back than Cosgrove's last visit to town. To make things even more complicated, he finds himself attracted to Talya, a beautiful human who isn't adverse to taking revenge into her own hands.

Lawson is a really amazing character. He has a down-to-earth sense of humor combined with a dedication and practicality that I found intriguing. He dispels many of the myths that we hold about the Vampire kind... he can go out in the sun, he can eat regular food, he doesn't adore drinking blood, which he calls juice. Jon F. Merz has taken the idea that vampires are just another branch of the evolutionary tree and built an unusual vampiric society, filled with carefully maintained rules and laws meant to insure the survival of both races. Lawson also tells us a lot of his own history, describing for us through snippets of his own past the real culture of his kind. This way of using the main character's past to tell about his race is very clever, and it keeps the reader involved in the telling, rather that creating distance.

Talya is ex-KGB, the fiancée of one of Cosgrove's recent victims. She's human, which means right away that Lawson is forbidden to love her or tell her about the fact that there are vampires running around. She's tough without being snippy, a smooth professional whose true intentions are uncertain. This uncertainty adds a lot to The Fixer, taking it from a simple track down and kill Cosgrove and turning it more into an espionage story, filled with conspiracy and shattered loyalties.

Humans are fascinated by vampires... a fact which I realize isn't news to anyone. I admit to my own affection for anything walking with fangs readily. It's very hard to do anything different in this genre, but Merz achieves difference, going away from the dark eroticism of Anne Rice and telling a story with a character that owes more to James Bond than Lestat. This reforging of ideas and myths does not take away from the mystery or horror of the genre, but adds to it. Sometimes a bureaucracy such as the council can be much more frightening than a few vampires flittering about on their own. Something's a little scary about the fact that anyone can be a vampire, and that there is no easy way of knowing until it's too late.

Mr. Merz has several books in this series scheduled to come out, the next of these being The Invoker in October. He plans to introduce us to werewolves and other such creatures, and it'll be a treat to see what he does with them.

Copyright © 2002 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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