Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jerry Ahern

Jerry Ahern (1946-2012) was a Men's Adventure author best known for the Survivalist series.  His fiction was workmanlike - well plotted with well crafted action scenes, but he was just too restrained for my taste.  He excelled in plotting stories over a series - each book worked when read individually as they carried out a long term story.

Some characteristics:

Not too much gun porn, but a ton of holster porn.  Holsters, sheaths, and scabbards mentioned by brand and described in detail every time a weapon went in or out.

Ahern mentioned Detonics weapons like he had stock in the company.  Which, seeing as he was their president for several years, he probably did.

Ahern is a great example of writing right-wing fantasies without being a bigot.  If anything his books had a forced multi-racialism, with every color of the rainbow being represented.

When making up names of tertiary characters, Ahern usually went Polish.  There are like five "-ski"s in the Defender series alone.

Ahern had strong female characters, at least for the genre.  I assume the credit goes to the influence of his wife and co-author Sharon Ahern.  A lot of little female touches, mainly having to do with periods or bra straps and stuff.

  • They Call Me the Mercenary (as Axel Kilgor, 18 books, 1980-4)
  • The Survivalist (34ish books, 1981-1993,2013-)
  • Track (10 books, 1984-5)
  • Takers (3 books, with Sharon Ahern, 1984-2001)
  • Defender (12 books, 1988-90)
  • Surgical Strike (3 books, 1988-90)

The following non-series books were all co-authored with Sharon Ahern:

  • The Freeman (1986) 
  • Miamigrad (1987) 
  • Brandywine (1988)
  • The Yakusa Tattoo (1988)
  • WerewolveSS (1990)
  • The Kamikaze Legacy (1990)
  • The Golden Shield of the IBF (1999) 
  • The Illegal Man (2004) 
  • Written in Time (2010) 


  • CCW: Carrying Concealed Weapons: How to Carry Concealed Weapons and Know When Others Are (1996)
  • Survive!: The Disaster, Crisis and Emergency Handbook (2010)
  • Armed for Personal Defense (2010)
  • Gun Digest Buyer's Guide to Concealed-Carry Handguns (2010)
  • Defend Your Home (2011)

Additionally, Ahern was a columnist for several firearm magazines.

Learn more at, still updated by Sharon Ahern.


  1. I read Jerry growing up and still enjoy him today. I was fortunate to interview him for my blog a couple of years before he died and he was very nice to a gushing fanboy. The Track series was my favorite, but that was his least favorite, which I think had a lot to do with being a for-hire gig with a lot of publisher interference. His books are great fun.

    1. I've got some Tracks but haven't read them yet. Glad to hear he was a cool guy - he always looked a titch stern in his publicity photos.

  2. It was an act. I think he was too soft to be as hard-boiled as his fictional alter-egos.