Today is Ed Gorman Day on the blogisphere, a chance to honor the man and his writings on what would have been his 75th birthday with memories, thoughts. discussions of his books and stories, and so on.
I never met Ed, never talked to him, never communicated with him, but through his writings he became an important part of my life. Ed was a fierce, honest, funny, and kind curmudgeonly sort. He didn't like crowds, hated to travel, and loved to talk to people over the phone during late night calls. He loved story, the ability to translate experience and thought into words. He especially loved story that spoke to real people, the type of story that's rarely found in film or novels but could be found in the movies of Budd Boettticher or in forgotten Gold Medal paperbacks. With Robert Randisi, he founded Mystery Scene magazine to help promote those underappreciated authors as well as new and current writers. He worked with his good friend Martin H. Greenberg to bring attention to these writers. He encouraged, sympathized, and aided other writers.
Ed wrote like a dream. He poured his deep understanding of the human soul into his characters; they were flawed but oh so human. He wrote some of the best westerns going. His mystery and suspense novels gave us such unforgettable characters as Jack Walsh, Anna Tobin (the first real-life female police officer in Cedar Rapids), Robert Payne, Sam McCain, and Dev Conrad. His horror novels, written under his "Daniel Ransom" pseudonym were chilling -- despite the fact that he was disappointed in them because (he said) he never knew how to end them properly. His short stories were heart-wrenchingly honest and sympathetic to the ordinary man. He ghosted a lot of books, many of them under house names and -- for the most part -- they were enjoyable. (Best to avoid the ones he wrote for ghost-hunting hucksters Ed and Lorraine Warren, though.)
For a dozen years or so he suffered from multiple myeloma, the evil sonofabitch disease that finally claimed him. Like the Energizer Bunny, Ed kept going and going. Writing, helping, advising, consoling, befriending, and touching every one he met.
He didn't have a charmed life; there were some ugly years early on. I think the last forty years or so were charmed, though, because of three things: he found his writing voice, he found many friends, and he found his wonderful wife Carol.
I had originally written a long, long, long appreciation for Ed Gorman Day. I scrapped it when I realized that it was as much about me as it was about Ed, and because there are many others more qualified than I to write about him. You'll find links to them all at Patti Abbott's blog at pattinase.com. Go there and see what sort of person Ed Gorman was and why he was so loved..