Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fake or Real? An Ed Gorman Signature

A real-life detective story, or something. I purchased a nice edition, nearly fine, of Ed Gorman’s Dark Trail (Evans, 1990) on eBay a few weeks ago. As an aside (in the listing as in my purchasing decision) it was signed. I have several signed books by Ed, and this one is a little different.

The “G” is very different (an awkward nearly lower case) and the last name is rushed and illegible. The “E” in Ed is similar (with sharper, less rounded edges) to the signatures I’ve seen, but the “d” is a little different. I’ve also never seen Ed cross out his name on the title page.

The signature in Dark Trail is in the top photo, and for comparison sake the signatures in the three photographs below are from Cemetery Dance’s limited edition of The Autumn Dead / A Cry of Shadows (1996), PS Publishing’s limited edition of The Cage of Night (2008), and Leisure’s paperback of The Poker Club (2000).  


The total purchase, including shipping, was $5.50, which I’m pleased with and provides little incentive for forgery.

What do you think? Is the signature is real or fake?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mystery Scene Issue No. 148

The latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine—No. 148—is at a newsstand near you. It is MS’s special Holiday Issue and it is packed, as usual. It features a terrific essay on recent legal thrillers by Jon L. Breen, a profile of Ian Rankin, who was slated to be an accountant (a profession close to my heart), and the first part of an essay by Lawrence Block, “How to be a Writer Without Writing Anything,” which I’m using as a manual for my future projects.

It also features my second short story review column, “Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered.” A column I’m (still) excited about, and, as it turns out a column I am no longer considered as the interim, but as the permanent writer. All of the column reviews are currently only available in the print edition; however, I discuss:

Crimson Snow, edited by Martin Edwards, featuring a slew of Christmas-themed traditional British mystery stories.

The 60th Anniversary Issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

The October – January issue of Strand Magazine, which, amazingly, includes a never before published story by H. G. Wells.

Lyndsay Faye’s Sherlock Holmes collection The Whole Art of Detection, which will be very well appreciated by Sherlockians.

Issue No. 148 also includes my best of 2016 line up (Shadow Games and Other Sinister Stories of Show Business by Ed Gorman, The Mistletoe Murder by P. D. James, and “The Silent Order of God” by Stephen Ross), and three standalone book reviews I wrote. The titles: World, Chase Me Down by Andrew Hilleman, The Edit by J. Sydney Jones, and The Death of Kings by Rennie Airth. The book reviews are all available at MS’s website:

World, Chase Me Down by Andrew Hilleman is a fictional retelling of the larger than life kidnapper Pat Crowe. Something of a campfire tale with both humor and action.

The Edit by J. Sydney Jones is an intriguing, sometimes ugly story of a convicted Nazi war criminal hiding in a South American country.

The Death of Kings by Rennie Airth is an, at times, slow moving traditional British puzzler.

The reviews are available online at Mystery Scene’s website—click the titles above.

Mystery Scene is available at many newsstands, including Barnes & Noble, and available for order at MS’s website.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Giveaway: And the winners are...

The winners of the Blaze! Red Rock Rampage drawing are in…

Drum roll, please—

And the winners are:

Eric H., Youngstown, OH
Bill K., Mesa, AZ

Thank you everyone for entering. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Book Giveaway: "Blaze! Red Rock Rampage"


I received a box of books in the mail yesterday. And not just any box of books, but a box of my novel, Blaze! Red Rock Rampage. As a celebration, I’m going to send a copy to two lucky or, depending on your perspective, unlucky winners. 

All you have to do is send an email to zulu1611@yahoo, with “Blaze! Giveaway” in the subject line no later than 11:59 PM (MST) February 15, 2017. Unfortunately, due to the cost of shipping the contest is limited to U. S. residents only. 

And to sweeten the pot a little, you can choose to receive the signed paperback or the Kindle ebook version. All I ask is if you read and enjoy it, leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads. The review can be as simple (one sentence) or complex (22 pages) as you want to make it.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

"The Face" by Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman is one of the most undervalued writers of his generation.  His work, at its best, is seemingly simple, but has a subtlety and power rarely approached in genre fiction. His characters tend to the real rather than the flamboyant and caricature.  His 1990 story “The Face” won a Spur Award for best short story, and it truly deserved the honor.

“The Face” is a Civil War story.  It is the first-person narrative of a young Confederate doctor who can see the end of the war, and the true situation of the decaying Confederacy—

“As a young doctor, I knew even better than our leaders just how hopeless our war had become.  The public knew General Lee had been forced to cross the Potomac with ten thousand men who lacked shoes, hats and who at night had to sleep on the ground without blankets.  But I knew—in the first six months in this post—that our men suffered from influenza, diphtheria, smallpox, yellow fever and even cholera; ravages from which they would never recover; ravages more costly than bullets and the advancing armies of the Yankees.”

The Confederate army is disintegrating from the costly war, and its men—in fact mostly young boys of 13 or 14—are beginning to desert.  The narrator’s camp is different; none of the men have deserted and its preparations for war continue.  This changes when a single soldier is brought into camp.  He has no visible wounds, but he is comatose with a disconcerting look on his face.  When he is brought into camp the commanding general physically flinches at the sight of his face and immediately puts him in quarantine.

The soldier’s face is never completely described in the story beyond the camp’s priest’s description—

“It’s God’s face.  I had a dream last night.  The man’s face shows God’s displeasure with the war.”

The men of the camp sneak into the tent to look at the face, and each sees the horror of the war on the soldier’s face.  The men begin to sabotage the camp and desert.  The doctor, whose name we never learn, also begins to dream about the battlefields he has witnessed and worked.

“The Face” is a difficult story to categorize.  It is certainly a historical story, which captures the ugliness of war, but it is also something akin to straight up horror—its soft edged, almost dream like setting creates an atmosphere of the purely gothic.  It is also reminiscent of a superior episode of The Twilight Zone, but it is also as much a piece of literature as anything currently being written and published. 

“The Face” is a story that will survive the ages.  In a brief note included in The Moving Coffin collection, Mr. Gorman explains, “The Face” was inspired by a Civil War surgeon’s journal. It is also the most reprinted of all his stories.  It will surely continue to be anthologized long into the future because it is truly one of the best short stories written in the past twenty years; genre or literary.

“The Face” was originally published in the 1990 anthology Confederacy of the Dead edited by Richard Gilliam, Martin H. Greenberg, and Edward E. Kramer.  It has been reprinted numerous times in both anthologies and author specific collections, including The Moving Coffin (PS Publishing, 2007), and The Long Ride Back (Leisure Books, 2004).  It is currently available in an eBook collection titled Dead Man’s Gun & Other Western Stories (The Western Fictioneers, 2013).

This review first appeared in slightly different form on June 16, 2013.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Virtual Reading of Red Rock Rampage

Click the image to pre-order!
 Some may think, and perhaps I would agree, in a moment of undisguised and shameless self-promotion I turned my camera on and read the first chapter of my forthcoming novel, Blaze! Red Rock Rampage. Then uploaded it to YouTube, shared it to Facebook, and now to Graetapping. These things are all true, but…


…well, anyway, here it is. Me reading a few hundred words of the latest Blaze! novel; the fifteenth in the series if you’re keeping track. I hope you enjoy it.


If you’re interested, Blaze! Red Rock Rampage, is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle now—at the unbelievable price of $2.99—and it will also be available in trade paperback. Its official release date is February 6, 2017.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

MIA HUNTER: L. A. GANG WAR by Stephen Mertz (Jack Buchanan)

A three-man strike force accustomed to rescuing prisoners of war in the jungles of Vietnam is stateside on a rogue mission in Los Angeles. Mark Stone, known as the MIA Hunter, is asked by an old war buddy, now a deputy chief with LAPD, to help rescue Rick Chavez from a Colombian drug cartel. Chavez is a Pulitzer award winning journalist who has been writing a series of hard and insightful articles about the drug trade in L. A. The articles have enough detail that the LAPD and the drug gangs—Crips, Bloods and their Colombian suppliers—want to know where his information is coming from.

When Stone and his team arrive on scene, Chavez is being held prisoner in a palatial home in San Clemente; a few doors down from Richard Nixon's house. It takes the team only a few minutes, several hundred rounds of 9mm lead slung by MAC 10s, some smart one liners, and a close call or three, to pull Chavez out of the house. But this is the beginning for the MIA team because as the team is exfiltrating from the firefight, Stone sees a familiar face. A face that belongs to a man who tried to kill Mark Stone in Vietnam.

MIA Hunter: L. A. Gang War—the thirteenth entry in the series—is an entertaining example of the men’s adventure mania of the 1980s. Originally published in 1990 (an honorary member of the 1980s), it is a time capsule of the era, capturing society’s anxiety with an escalating war on drugs, violent street gangs spreading the poison and in the process claiming entire neighborhoods, all in the shadow of America's defeat in Vietnam. It is non-stop action, accented with betrayal, revenge, and the MIA team’s seeming endless supply of bravado and super hero combat skills. There is also a touch of humor, if you look closely, and even a big idea or two. L. A. Gang War is a top-notch example of both the series and the genre.