Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sleeping Dogs: Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman (November 2, 1941 – October 14, 2016) was an American writer and short fiction anthologist. I know him primarily for his work in the mystery field, but he has also published Westerns and horror stories.

I have been a fan of this author for a long time, since I first started subscribing to Mystery Scene magazine. Gorman was the founder of Mystery Scene along with Robert J. Randisi, but by the time I subscribed the magazine had been acquired by the current editor, Kate L. Stine, and Brian Skupin. I have back copies that were published while Gorman was the editor, and he continued writing columns for the magazine. He was well known for being supportive of other authors and he alerted readers to the blogs (ten years ago) that were getting out the word on mysteries of all types.

Ed Gorman also put together mystery reference books, such as Speaking of Murder and Speaking of Murder, Volume II. He edited many short story anthologies. The one I have is The Deadly Bride and 21 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, which he edited with Martin H. Greenberg. He started out writing short stories and his first novel was Rough Cuts, published in 1986.

Moving on to Sleeping Dogs, I want to start off saying that I loved this book. I had read a few novels by Ed Gorman and I expected to like the book, but I wasn't thrilled about reading a novel about politics right now. I should have known better.

Sleeping Dogs is the first in a series of five novels about Dev Conrad, a political consultant. In this novel he is working for an Illinois Senator who is running for reelection. The previous political consultant had a major difference of opinion with the candidate and left the campaign. Six months later, he commits suicide. At about the same time, the campaign runs into major problems with dirty tricks and blackmail.

The attitude towards politics in this novel is very cynical. That goes right along with my attitude towards politicians and elections so it worked for me. There are no demons here. The main character, Dev Conrad, truly wants his candidate to win because he believes he is the better choice of those available, but he does not see one side as bad and the other as good.

As Ed Gorman says in this piece at Patti Abbott's blog, Pattinase:
In Stranglehold, as with the other two Dev Conrad books, I attempt to show that there are very few heroes on either side of the aisle. What we tend to forget is the primary rule followed by virtually every person ever elected to congress--get yourself re-elected. Every other consideration is secondary. And again, this applies to both sides. As Bob Dylan once wrote, "Money doesn't talk, it swears." And money is just about all that matters in politics
Dev Conrad is a great character. Human, not perfect, but he cares about people and about his work. The people working on the campaign appear to be a close-knit, fun-loving group but not everyone is what they seem. The story's ending worked very well. It was logical and made sense but was a surprise to me.

I will look for other novels in this series. I have also read the first three novels in the Sam McCain series and plan to read more of them. Read about the Sam McCain series at The Thrilling Detective.

Other Resources...

An interview from 2014 at Gravetapping
An interview from 2013 at The Rap Sheet

Tributes at 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?' and at Gravetapping


Publisher:   Minotaur Books, 2008
Length:       238 pages
Format:      Hardcover
Series:       Dev Conrad, #1
Setting:      Chicago, Illinois
Genre:       Mystery
Source:     I purchased this book.


J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Tracy: You might note that the co-founder of Mystery Scene was Robert J. Randisi, not "Randy" Randisi. If you fix that reference, feel free to then kill out this comment.


TracyK said...

Thanks very much, Jeff. I appreciate you noting that and letting me know. Fixed now.

Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: Thanks for the post on Ed. I had read some of the tributes on the Rap Sheet and appreciated your perspective. I have not read any of his books. I think I should look around.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Terrific Tracy - I'll definitely be getting this one. So glad there are lots of Gorman fans out there.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to Ed, Tracy! He was such an influence, and so talented, wasn't he? And I think you chose an excellent example of his work. I'm glad you liked it so well.

Clothes In Books said...

Like Bill, I hadn't come across this author before, but have been impressed by the tributes and comments, and must try him.

TracyK said...

I hope you do find some of Ed's books to try, Bill. I am looking forward to trying more myself.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. It is amazing how many lives he touched.

TracyK said...

This is a good one, Sergio. And I expect that the rest of the series will be just as good.

TracyK said...

There is a lot of variety in his writing, from what I hear, Moira. He does some horror, some westerns, and some of his writing is very dark (I hear). And lots of short stories.

col2910 said...

I don't think I've read anything from him apart from in a collection/anthology. I don't think I have anything either, maybe something on the Kindle. I don't think you've tempted me with this series to be honest.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, I missed out on the Ed Gorman tribute over at Patti's due to home renovation and Diwali holidays. I'd been a longtime follower of his blog and liked his narrative style in the two books I read, one of which was a western. Based on that I think he created characters with dignity and compassion.

TracyK said...

I have a book from the Jack Dwyer series, which I will be trying sometime soon I hope. The one I have is supposed to be darker; maybe that would appeal more to you, Col. I need to read some of his short stories, although I hear they are darker also than most of his longer fiction.

TracyK said...

Sounds like you have been busy, Prashant. I have a week off from work and am relaxing for a while. I will definitely be trying one of Gorman's Westerns.

Anonymous said...

Yep, heard of Ed Gorman and sorry to hear he passed away. I'm sure to have several of his mysteries in my tbr mountain somewhere. --K.

TracyK said...

He wrote such a variety, Keishon. I have not tried any of his western novels or his horror stories, but I will. Although horror is not my favorite type of reading.