A number of you have asked me about the first two volumes of PS Publishings Collected Short Stories of Ed Gorman. The Booklist (of volume one) was good calling me "a modern master"(or was that modern bastard? ) and the other two reviews (forget where) were good too.
The list price is $30 per volume If anybody would like bother hardcover volumes (unboxed) for $45 e mail me and let me know.
Here's the only review I've seen of volume two.
THE MOVING COFFIN
(PS Publishing 2007)
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Author of countless stories, winner of many literary awards, Ed Gorman is considered – and rightly so- a master of crime and suspense fiction, even though, truth be told, labels don’t stick easily to his work.
The UK-based imprint PS Publishing is undertaking the demanding but commendable task of assembling the complete collection of Gorman short stories in a series of volumes. ‘The Moving Coffin’ is the second book in this projected series and concentrates mainly on the author’s crime and mystery tales.
If, incredibly, you still don’t know this author, here’s an excellent opportunity to make his acquaintance. If you're already a fan of Gorman's work, here's a collection you shouldn't miss because it features twenty among his stronger and more compelling journeys into the mysteries of human soul. Gorman is not a creator of mere action thrillers, although his stories are certainly not devoid of action and thrill, but a writer who likes to explore the darker side of human nature and the disreputable aspects of the world we inhabit.
Fine examples are the opening story, ‘Famous Blue Rraincoat,’ a grim reflection on how strange and unpredictable love and marriage can be, as well as ‘The Long Silence After’ a sad story of misery and despair and ‘The Face’ a thoughtful look at the horrors and inhumanity of war.
Obviously there are true samples of straight crime stories, like ‘Intent to Deceive,’ a very enjoyable piece reminiscent of those old black-and-white detective movies,or ‘Favor and the Princess,’ an engrossing tale showing Gorman’s personal view of the femme fatale theme, also developed in ‘Muse,’ a story with a complex plot featuring pop stars and newspapermen.
Other motifs tend to recur. In ‘The Right Thing,’ a piece full of melancholy graced by an excellent psychological analysis of the main characters, a man comes back home to attend his young son’s funeral and to make things straight. A similar theme – a father avenging his son’s murder- is addressed in the nasty but less accomplished ‘Surrogate.’ The title story, ‘A Moving Coffin’ is a piece of solid fiction where a man’s phobias force him to confess his dirty secret, while ‘Pariah’ is a moral parable proving that some truths are best left undisclosed.
‘Yesterday and the Day Before’ shows Gorman at his best in a cruel tale where tragedy generates tragedy, while in ‘Prisoners’ the depressing visit to the prison by a convict’s family reveals a blood-chilling reality.
Family tragedies are among the writer’s favourite subjects as in ‘Riff’ .a bitter tale featuring a man dying with cancer and his cheating wife or in ‘Eye of the Beholder’ a powerful, terrible piece about the power of beauty, a blessing which may turn into a curse.
The most convincing demonstration of the author’s enormous talent is perhaps ‘The End of it All,’ a high-calorie dish whose ingredients include the miracles of plastic surgery, love, sex, murder, etc. as in an ordinary soap opera. But in top of all that there's Gorman’s uncanny storytelling which makes the story unforgettable.
Highly recommended to any lover of good, entertaining but thought-provoking fiction.
© Mario Guslandi
Reproduced with permission