Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DEAD MAN'S GUN, and Other Western Stories -- Ed Gorman

Of all the valuable stories in this collection "The Face" alone is worth many times more than the $2.99 you commit to download the book. Many times more. It is a masterpiece of craft, sensibility and sheer artistry. If you are uncomfortable with the image of the revolver pointing out from the cover of Dead Man's Gun, you may find solace in regarding it as a symbol of the cruel, true and timeless poetry "The Face" will fire into the depths of your heart.
 For this price, every high school history and English teacher in the country can afford to download it in the classroom, and every high school student should be assigned to read it. There need be no test given afterward. "The Face" will stay with them the rest of their lives, as it will with their teachers and with you, as it will with me. This I can guarantee without fear of contradiction by any who have read this brief, profound, elegant, haunting story, no matter their religion, their politics or their station in life.

I came to "The Face" because I am a longtime admirer of its author, the late Ed Gorman, a prolific, masterful spinner of tales in almost every genre imaginable. This book contains the first of his western stories I've read, and although westerns are not ordinarily my cup of tea those in
Dead Man's Gun are no less entertaining and enlightening than his mysteries and political thrillers - my preferred genres. "The Face", in fact, falls outside all three of these categories.
Ed Gorman
 It's a story from the American Civil War, as told by a Confederate battlefield surgeon. I'm something of a Civil War buff, having grown up in the Midwest and lived most of my adult life in Virginia. I do not exaggerate when I say "The Face" is the most sublime, horrifying and memorable Civil War story I have read. It may well be the most powerful anti-war story ever published. 
[For more Friday's Forgotten Books check the links on Patti Abbott's unforgettable blog]



  1. Just about everything Ed wrote is worth your time, Matt. And I agree that "The Face" is one of the most powerful stories ever.

  2. OK, you talked me into it. I bought a copy. And I am sure I will enjoy it.

  3. I used to read western stories many years ago, back then when western movies were a big deal in my life as well. Haven't read any in a long while though I still have some around here some place. Thanks for this review, Mathew. I may download this book based on your enthusiasm. This is what is so wonderful about reading.

    1. Ed was not your usual breed of cat,Yvette. You will love these stories, I--as they pronounce it in Cajun country--gay-rawn-tee!

  4. Mathew, I have heard a lot about Ed Gorman's THE FACE and after reading your excellent review, I'm going to get myself a copy right away.