Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Short Story Wednesday


 "Out There in the Darkness" Ed Gorman from 1999's  THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES" also published in Robert Bloch's PSYCHOS. 

Although, to my embarrassment, I am choosing my third story by a male writer, I am disappointed that in this collection , Ed McBain, the editor that year, chose only one story by a woman and that was the ubiquitous Joyce Carol Oates. Twenty years later, women seem to dominate the crime fiction field. I am glad times have changed at least somewhat. 

This story by Ed succeeds as both a crime story and a character study. Four men get together weekly to play poker. Of course, they enjoy the conversation, snacks and ribaldry as much as the game. Their small town has been experiencing a series of robberies, some of them quite violent. They have begun a neighborhood watch to keep an eye on things. When the poker players hear noises, they investigate. Somehow they manage to capture one of the burglars. And then begins the debate on what to do with him. The host wants to call the police; others suggest they try to get information from him first. Things get out of hand as they do with men who have been drinking and men who have differing ideas about the right behavior. 

The story goes on to have lots of twists and turns. Ed used this title on one of his story collections and it seems to have appeared in several places. So because you might want to read it, I am going to end this review here. You don't hear much about neighborhood watches anymore. I am sure they often turned out to be more trouble than help to the police. This story captures just what that trouble might be very nicely. 

I miss Ed so much. And Bill Crider, Randy Johnson, Ron Scheer, Sandra Seamans, and probably others I am forgetting. Certainly Richard Wheeler. Although I have spent time with Bill, the others I knew only online. Yet, they mean as much to me as people I see quite regularly. Many people in my real life are quite amazed and mystified by how this can be. But you guys get it.

 Jerry House

 James Reasoner

George Kelley


Matt Paust   

 Steve Lewis

Cullen Gallagher 

Todd Mason


Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, so true. I thought of Bill a lot while watching BIG ASS SPIDER! on Prime last night, a movie he would have surely loved. Ed Gorman was a great short story writer, and as much as I enjoyed those of his novels that I have read, I would take his short stories first.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Hi Patti,

I posted my link. This Day Keene collection had a intro by Bill, it was wonderful to read his words again.

Todd Mason said...

Mine's up! Cullen's current jag has inspired me to read another Day Keene, among some even greater old favorites and a lop-eared toy bunny of a story from the penultimate issue of DIME MYSTERY (under that title).

Well...between Otto and Evan does a nearly all-stag volume of BAMS strike us as all That surprising? Dannay (and for that matter Bloch or Ed himself) would be less likely to do that...even the anonymous editor of DIME MYSTERY mixes the balance slightly better in the issue I look at.

And, yes, it's a litany of blog friends and acquaintances to be missed...thanks for reminding us of them...

George said...

Ed Gorman was an underrated writer who could write novels and short stories with equal quality.

Rick Robinson said...

Sorry I missed this week, I’ll be back next time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No need to feel like you have to do this every week. I may not myself.

Jerry House said...

It's a fantastic story, but you would not expect less from Ed. My favorite of his is "The Face."

Mathew Paust said...

Oh lort, but I do miss Ed. Didn't have the same rapport with Bill and Richard, but I enjoyed and admired their work as well. Jerry, The Face is my favorite of Ed's short pieces, too. Profoundly mooving. I remember Ed talking about Out There in the Dark, which I haven't read, but which he'd sold the movie rights to someone in Hollywood, as I recall he said it was never made--altho in the back of my mind I have a hunch it did come out, with a different title and strayed from the book, which is not unusual in Tinseltown.

Thanks for linking Caves of the Rust Belt, Patti. Joe Kapitan's polishing up his first novel as I type this. He mentions it cryptically on Facebook, and it should be a humdinger.

Mathew Paust said...

Patti, I just now discovered I must have sent you the wrong link to Caves of the Rust Belt

It's hyperlinked above, and here it is again!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Matt-No matter what I do, I can't seem to get it to behave. Will try again tomorrow.

Mathew Paust said...

Not to worry, Patti. Blogger's "improved" formatting still has a few bugs to work out. I keep having trouble getting the fonts right. I'd switch to WordPress or Medium or one of the newer platforms, but I have way too many posts in Blogger to even think of trying to transfer them to another home.

Margot Kinberg said...

Ed Gorman was a real talent. Your post made me think of him, so thanks.