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.
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.
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
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.
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.
While “The Face” stands out for me in this book, the entire collection has deepened my appreciation of Ed Gorman's extensive talent. In another story, “Gunslinger,” he combines the art of suspense wrapped in intricate detail with the unveiling of a human life and personality aimed at an inevitable showdown so filled with tragi-comic irony I could only gape in admiration.
Gorman, with characteristic modesty, admits he has felt the same way reading other masters. In Dead Man's Gun's last entry, a nonfiction piece called “Writing the Modern Western,” he calls The Shootist, by Glendon Swarthout, an exemplary modern western— its prose real poetry at times, its psychological portraiture so considered and wise that you feel decimated after finishing it.
I have yet to read The Shootist, but the stories in Dead Man's Gun have shown me precisely what Gorman meant.
[For more Short Story Wednesday links visit Patti Abbott's unforgettable blog]