Mercy Sparx #01: Heaven’s Dirty Work  by Josh Blaylock, Matt Merhoff Meet Mercy Sparx – a Devil Girl hired by the big shots in Heaven to secretly take down rogue angels. Follow our unlikely heroine as she battles the forces of “good” while trying to figure out which side is the lesser-evil. It’s either succeed and get a free pass through the pearly gates, or fail and risk going somewhere much worse! Paperback, 144 pages Published November 2009 by Devil’s Due Publishing (first published 2009) ISBN 1934692611 (ISBN13: 9781934692615) “Mercy Sparx was born in the land of Sheol. A strange place between heaven and hell and purgatory. Against her will she was sent to our world charged with a mission from god. A devil girl secretly living amongst us, Mercy now hunts rogue angels hiding on earth. doing heavens dirty work.” We get very little introduction to the actual land of Sheol. Mercy is introduced to the reader as a quick-to-anger girl who loves to drink and spend time at the bar. She is very upfront and hates being told what to do,or even worse, being forced to do something she doesn’t want to do. She can take a punch, but is quick to fight back and can kick some major ass. In the beginning bar scene, Sheol is shown to be a place of many different types of creatures. She is approached by a Demon who tells her she is required to take a job on Earth and tells her she does not have a choice. Of course, she mouths back, refuses and gets knocked out, only to awake on Earth in a human form. The first job we get to see her do is to de-halo the angel Serendipity. Serendipity is a DJ at a club and Mercy tracks her down. By transforming into devil form she is able to fight stronger and better. She also has some great weapons that help her fight the angels. The reader does not really find out what happens to the angels after she takes their halos. They just fall into a sleep-like state and she dumps their bodies at the agreed upon spots. Serendipity has a friend that follows Mercy and knocks her off her motorcycle. Here is where we finally get some answers. The angel asks Mercy why she is taking down other angels. Is it because they have gone rogue? Or is it a random attack? We find out then that most angels who have gone rogue, do so to gain some freedom, or to have sex with humans. Mercy tells the angel that she is not on her list and lets her go. Next we get introduced to Hank, Mercy’s room mate and maker of the bad-ass weaponry that Mercy has started using to battle the angels. Sometimes he also comes to her rescue as well. Mercy’s next job is to capture a muse named Elsa who became a guardian and then went rogue. Elsa is expecting Mercy and knows about the special weapons she has been using. But with the help of Hank, Mercy is able to overpower her as well. The demon tells her  to check in with pastor Jeremiah from now on. But when she finally does, the pastor announces that her jobs have all been completed. However, he requires her to do one last thing … get baptised. There is not much as far as character development. It jumps from action scene to action scene until the story-line is developed. After Elsa though, Mercy starts asking questions about why she was really sent to Earth. She wants to know why she’s been instructed to hunt down specific angels, especially when they are not necessarily the more dangerous ones. It seems that Mercy is stuck between a century-old battle between heaven and hell. The dialogue and scene setting are incorporated as part of the artwork. When Mercy speaks, it’s in black bubbles with red writing. When the angels talk it’s blue bubbles and yellow writing. There are also contrasts between scene changes or introducing new characters into the story. It was the first time I have seen that incorporated into the graphic novels and when looking at the whole page, it was visually effective. But when actually reading, I found some of the red on black harder to read. I thought this story was a very fast and entertaining read. Constant action and a combination of fun characters.  
I’m back at work now. The back has improved enough for me to be able to work again as long as I take regular breaks and keep my core exercises consistent. This is fantastic because I need to get Blaze Dark cooking, and do my Too Sharp edits. Tara Sharp 3 (Too Sharp) is slated for September release – so that’s exciting. I’ll update you on Blaze Dark when I know. It’s good to be back in routine after what feels like an eternity away from writing. Other news reminders are that I’ll be in Perth in April for SwanCon, and at Supanova Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. Unfortunately have to miss Gold Coast and Melbourne this for family reasons. I’ll also be appearing at WriteFest in Bundaberg and the Gold Coast Literati event. This year, I’ll be introducing Graphic Novel reviews to this site. Reviews will done by Krista Mckeeth who helps me out on Burn Bright and Delacourt sites. So welcome Krista! All in all it’s shaping up to be a busy year! On top of that, it’s my youngest’s last year at school, so a lot of focus is going on that.
Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 -- Sisters in Crime Australia 

 

 

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