Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ed Gorman, R. I. P.

Many of you who read this blog knew Ed, either through reading his books or emails or telephone conversations.  Not many were lucky enough to have met him in person (I count myself among those lucky few).  You probably also know that Ed had struggled with multiple myeloma for a number of years.  That struggle ended yesterday.

No other writer did as much for me and my career as Ed did.  A long time ago, he and I had the same agent, and she recommended his books to me.  His horror novels written as "Daniel Ransom" were what inspired me to become Jack MacLane for a while.  I don't remember when I first got a phone call from Ed, but it must have been quite a few years ago, more than 25.  He was warm and funny, just the way you'd hope someone you admired would be, and he was that way every time I talked to him.

He leaves behind a great literary legacy.  I hardly know which titles to recommend to you.  Just about anything has sharp writing, empathetic characters, and a deep compassion for flawed people.  Sometimes, as in the western werewolf novel, Wolf Moon, he pulls off something you'd think nobody could.  His series of Sam McCain mysteries is a wonderful portrayal of an era of the recent American past.  If you've never read one of his books this week, honor his memory by giving one a try.  Just about anything you pick up will reward you.

I met Ed's wife, Carol, long before I met Ed.  We always said that we'd married far above ourselves and were incredibly lucky to have found women like Carol and Judy.  Carol was a guest in Beaumont at the Golden Triangle Writers Workshop back in the late 1980s, and Judy and I had the pleasure of driving her from Beaumont to Houston, where she was to visit Joan Nixon.  We had a delightful time on the drive and and a delightful lunch with Joan, her husband, Herschel, and Carol.  I'll be thinking a lot about her and her family today and for a long time because I know the kind of loss they've suffered.

Ave atque vale, Ed.  We won't see your like again.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, hell. Depressing news, if not surprising news.

I, too, was lucky enough to meet Ed in person, twice, and will always treasure those meetings. He was a not an easy person, but he was a good person. Thanks for posting.

Stilwell

Ben Boulden said...

Ed was a great writer, and a compassionate, complicated man. I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, but my communications with him over the past ten years have been one of the treasures of my life. He will be missed, and my thoughts are with his family right now.

Ben

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Oh, damn, That really sucks. As Steve said, not surprising but depressing.

I consider him one of my favorite modern short story writers. Just every story is worth reading, and many are memorable indeed. He also wrote some excellent westerns.

RIP

BVLawson said...

Your post was the first I'd heard of the news, Bill. Very sad and depressing - I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, and I now I never will. But I'm very grateful to him for his literary legacy, and I'm off to grab some of his writing to enjoy in memoriam. R.I.P., Ed.

Richard Robinson said...

So sorry to read this news. I've read a few of his books and enjoyed each one.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about his passing. I first discovered Ed from the short story he had in the book Stalkers which he also edited with Martin Greenberg. I started reading and collecting all of his books that I could find after that. I exchanged emails with him once about purchasing books at used book stores. I hate to hear that he is gone.


Danny

Mimi Wolske said...

How sad. I haven't heard or read this yet. He did leave a great legacy of anthologies as well as his own books. Thank you for your Hail And Farewell post.

Peter Enfantino said...

Deadline Press was lucky enough to publish a book with Ed and my nightly phone calls (way before the internet) were something I always looked forward to. I'd call to ask Ed if he thought a certain story should be included and he'd bypass the question and launch into a verbal essay on the joys of Gold Medal or Richard Stark or Johnny D. (as Ed called JD MacDonald). Ed went out of his way countless times to see to it that some of the "old writers" got published in new collections. He was one of a kind. This one really really hurts.

Ron Clinton said...

Very sad -- not unexpected, given his long battle with cancer, but very sad. His was a talent that will be sorely missed -- and based on my communication with him and from what I've read from others here and elsewhere, he was also one helluva nice guy. This one really hits hard.

Anonymous said...

I owe a lot to Ed Gorman. Everyone who loves crime and western fiction owes a lot to Ed. As a cancer survivor I owe Ed. He set a standard that lifts us all and right now, I just feel hollowed-out. A loss.

RiP Ed, and Thanks

David Laurence Wilson

Livia J Washburn said...

I was very saddened to read of Ed’s passing. He was a literary giant who leaves behind many mourning friends.

Integrated Digital Solutions said...

Bill is am undeserved sadden by the news he and had talked many times about book coveting and one of favorite authors William Campbell Gault l loved his Sam setie. His
westerns were top shelf RIP good soul

Larry Chavis said...

I did not know him, but know his work. He will be missed. Condolences to his family and friends.

Bill Pronzini said...

Very, very sad news. We never met in person, but spoke often on the phone and corresponded regularly for 25 years; he was a close and unfailingly supportive friend. And a fine writer who never quite got his due.

RIP, Ed. You won't be forgotten by any of us who knew you well.

george ibarra said...

It's always awful seeing your heroes get old, knowing they won't always be around. Ed was one of the really good guys, and this is suck ass news

Richard Moore said...

So sad to hear this news. I loved his writing. We corresponded a bit and I spoke to him once or twice on the phone. A fine writer and a great guy!

piggie zee said...

I know it's utterly irrational to think that someone should somehow defy statistics and hang around forever just because they've managed to massively entertain you...and yet, still, I am not only saddened but *irked* at writers I enjoy doing these "mortality" things.

Dammit, Ed.

Go with God, son, go with joy.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Bill, I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Gorman's passing. I read a couple of his Westerns and marvelled at his narrative style, so effortless and lucid. I will be reading one of his books in his memory. He was a very supportive blogger, too, always forthcoming with his incisive comments.

Aubrey Hamilton said...

Miserable news. I am so sad to hear about his passing. I loved his Sam McCain series, these books hold a place of honor on my shelves. I admired the anthologies he edited. And he was a cat person! We are all a little lessened by his absence.

Harry Shannon said...

A wonderful guy and a mentor to me early on.

wayne d. dundee said...

Sad news indeed.
Ed was very helpful to me early in my career. I corresponded with him, talked with him often on the phone, met him and his lovely wife on a number of occasions. Unfortunately we drifted apart in recent years and now I regret that more than ever. He was sick for a long time, may he rest in peace.

Deb said...

Oh God--2016 takes another good guy. My father-in-law passed away from multiple myeloma and once I knew that's what Ed had, I was on tender hooks because I know the toll that illness takes. RIP, Ed.

Rick Ollerman said...

I don't have the curse words for this. The English language probably doesn't have the curse words for this. God damn it.

Bill Crider said...

My father-in-law,too, Deb. Ed never gave up.

Mike Doran said...

Another death in our family.

You know, Bill, you really threw a scare into all of us with your own medical dustup a while back; On top of Max Allan Collins's own scare, and then followed by Max and Barb's his-and-hers bouts just now, I've spent much of '16 in a constant state of worry over distant friends that I only know through print.
Now I realize that I had all but forgotten Ed Gorman's long-running cancer bout (I don't suppose that I'm the only one, sad to say; when someone's in the grip of an endless illness, we seem, in a weird way, to take it for granted).

That came out wrong; what I guess I mean is that -

- no, that's coming out wrong too ...

Hell and Maria.

You who knew Ed Gorman have your memories of the man.
All the rest of us have the books, the stories, the essays, Mystery Scene.

Gormania lives.

jhegenbe said...

Something like 27 years ago, I worked for Ed, writing reviews and con-reports for Mystery Scene. It was a thrill to know him. He found ways to help me when I was starting in the field and I'll always be grateful. Fortunately, we can all visit him again in his fiction.

Jerry House said...

Shit.

Stark House said...

Ed Gorman was the best friend that Stark House ever had. Very supportive, very generous, filled with great ideas for future projects, a pleasure to talk to in his curmudgeonly way. He always told like it was. Never met him in person, but wish I had. I miss him already. He'd make a disparaging comment about this one, but it's been an honor to know him.

Mathew Paust said...

Spoiled my day, Bill. Beautiful sunny day turned rotten. Damn.

Jan Grape said...

Damn. This sucks big time. Can only say the world is a lot darker. But don't you know there's a fantastic writers circle going on in that big publishing house in the sky right now. If you haven't read one of Ed's books, pick one and enjoy. Thank you my friend for the great encouragement and mentoring. Thank you for all the crazy conversations and laughs. So glad Elmer and I got to meet you. Wasn't easy since you wouldn't travel. But we came to Cedar Rapids and you had no choice.Love to Carol and family. RIP Ed you deserve the rest.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

He was, quite simply, THE BEST!

Dave Zeltserman said...

Bill, a beautiful tribute to Ed. A terrific writer and even better man.

Graham Masterton said...

Terrific writer. Generous and humorous man.

Cap'n Bob said...

I echo all of the above. It's a crime that he wasn't named an MWA Grandmaster during his lifetime.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Ed was unfailingly generous to new mystery writers (including me); I curated a section in _Mystery Scene_ for a while on Malice Domestic authors when he asked me to. Knowing the multiple health issues he had faced and beaten, I really thought he was indestructible. He was certainly indefatigable.

Fred Zackel said...

Shit. I will always owe him everything. RIP, pal.

Fred Blosser said...

Terrible news. Ed was a best -- a great writer, a discerning editor, a wonderful man.

Fred Blosser said...

Sorry, not a best -- THE best.

Anonymous said...

I just pulled Wolf Moon off of my book shelf.

I am soon off to work and I will start to re-read it on the bus ride.

He was an incredible storyteller.

I look forward to entering his world again and am sad that no new stories will follow.

david middleton

michael said...

His otherwise regular blog site had been quiet since early Summer. Shocking news nonetheless. Typically his last message is one supporting another writer (Max AC, for whom he had deep admiration. Looking at it from a distance it seemed like Ed was the fabric holding an entire community of mystery and western writers together. Undoubtedly my favourite writer. I felt I got to learn him best through the figure of Sam McCain. If you want to get to know him, that would be a great place to start (The day the music died). If you're anything like me, you'll be hooked in no time. What a dreadful loss. Damn indeed.

Jon L. Breen said...

Bill, I second what so many others have said: Ed was my best friend I never met. One additional note: years ago, when our mutual friend Bill DeAndrea (who would die in his forties tragically young) was working on while warding off cancer, Ed said to me in a phone conversation that he doubted he could ever face anything like that with such courage. We certainly know now that he could and for more than a decade, continuing his prolific writing and his life-long policy of helping and promoting other writers all the while. My best wishes for your own health!

Jon Breen

MikeGibbonz said...

I'm saddened by the news of Ed Gorman's passing. He's easily one of my favorite writers of fiction, period. Great tribute, Bill.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened and so sorry to learn this morning of the passing of my absolute favorite author. Like another mentioned here, my discovery of Ed was the first Sam McCain novel "The Day The Music Died" when it was first published. Prior to each subsequent McCain novel, I would reread the entire series. My appetite for vintage mysteries was fed via mainly his blog, through which he introduced me to so many other authors, both well-known and others sadly all but forgotten. I am thankful that there are still some novels of Ed's that I have yet to read.
Thank you Ed so much for all the laughter and intrigue that your novels provided over the years (and will continue to provide), and for introducing me to the larger literary world of so many other great mystery writers!
-Jonathan from RI