Wednesday, March 05, 2014

First Wednesday Book Review Club: GHOST TOWN, Ed Gorman

I have not read all that many westerns. LONESOME DOVE comes to mind. THE SISTER BROTHERS is another. A few years ago, Ed Gorman sent me two of his. 

GHOST TOWN was a great story, well-told, with interesting characters in an unfamiliar setting. Don't let the "notion" of reading a western fool you. This story could have been set in many different venues.

The book takes places in a small Wisconsin town overrun by both malaria and a few suspicious types who run the bank and the town. It's the story of Bryce Lamont, who comes here to get his share of the take from a jewelry theft that put him in prison. (Do you see how similar this is to a crime story set in say, Chicago?) What he finds in that Wisconsin town will lead him down a bloody trail, jeopardizing himself and the people he loves.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot here, but let me say this--nearly every character in Ghost Town is complex--neither all good or bad, and this includes, of course, the protagonist. Although there is a lot of action in the novel, it never feels overdone. There is plenty of time to look around at the scenery, the clothes, medical practices, woman's issues, the news of the late 1800s in a small mid-western town. Despite this, the book is succinct, fast-moving and exciting.

Its greatest asset is-- this book has heart. You can feel it beating on every page. And that's not easy to pull off in any genre of writing. Grit and heart in one slim volume is a gift.


Ed Gorman had written dozens and dozens of book and edited many others. You can find him at http://newimprovedgorman.blogspot.com. Or on Amazon, of course.

You can read more reviews at Barrie Summy's blog.

17 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I heard this was a good 'un, Patti! Glad you thought so too.

George said...

You can't go wrong with an Ed Gorman book.

Jerry House said...

What George said.

Anonymous said...

Ditto. I hsven't read this one yet but I jsut read his TROUBLE MAN last week (another western) and it was a good one. The "bad guy" was not just a one-dimensional villain.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

I read this not long ago. Quite good.

Sarah Laurence said...

Sounds fun! I don't read westerns but it's interesting to hear about a genre new to me.

RT said...

I'm convinced. I now have to find some Ed Gorman books.

BTW, Patti, I am beginning a new blogging enterprise (a spin-off from my previous offerings that had different topics) because I am at my core a die-hard (guilty-pleasure) reader of mysteries, and here is the link to the first installment:

http://ahsweetmysteriesoflife.blogspot.com/

Moreover, each Friday will include a special review that you might find useful for your special Friday edition.

Rose said...

I don't usually read Westerns, but you've certainly made this book sound appealing. Interesting characters are what I always enjoy, no matter the genre.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hey, R.T. I can't keep up with you. I have changed your blog address at least four times this month. Just send me the link on Friday.

RT said...

Yeah, my blog adjustments are annoying, aren't they. This version, however, is the long-term, permanent form. I will get back to you on Friday.

Ron Scheer said...

I came upon Ed's BLOOD GAME, about boxing as a killing sport in a Midwestern town. The characters were complex and darkly shadowed. The plot development full of surprises. Have yet to read one of his westerns.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Read this one, Ron. It's great.

pattinase (abbott) said...

thanks, RT. Cannot get my link to change.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

This does sound like a good one, with lots going on! Great review!

Cap'n Bob said...

I've read just about all of Ed's westerns and they're all excellent. No one writes people the way he does.

Barrie said...

Sounds very interesting! I don't read a lot of westerns, but I see what you're saying....this book isn't about the Which is what makes a good read for me. Thank you for reviewing!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I don't know that I've read a western!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!