I can't exactly remember the first Ed Gorman book I read. I'm sure it was around 1990 and that it was probably either Murder in the Aisles or one of the early Dwyer books. I do know that Ed Gorman rapidly became one of my very favorite writers. I've followed his career with great enthusiasm and awe in the time since I discovered him.

The 90's were good years for Gorman. I always felt that his finest books came out then: Blood Moon, Cage of Night, Black River Falls. No matter what genre he turned to, the results were always breathtaking. Mystery/suspense, western, horror, political thriller, it didn't matter. The name, Ed Gorman, is synonymous with quality fiction.

Then there are the wonderful McCain novels. These are nostalgic, yet not blind to the injustices of the 1950's and early 1960's. These might well be the ones that Ed Gorman is remembered for.

Gorman spent a lot of his time publishing westerns in this decade, along with his Sam McCain books. He returned to stand alone modern suspense with the stunning Sleeping Dogs in 2008, which could and should turn into another series.

Now he's back with an all-new suspense novel called The Midnight Room. This Leisure release is dedicated to the Gold Medal writers that Ed has admired for years, and it's much more hard boiled than most of his work.

A deranged killer is abducting young girls and he sends their skulls back to their loved ones. He is robbed in his home and the thief discovers evidence of his guilt in the murders and proceeds to blackmail the killer. This leads to a tangled web of blood, lust, betrayal and divided loyalties.

There is a fairly large cast of characters in The Midnight Room, but unlike with other less skilled writers, I was always acutely aware of each of their motivations and personalities. Gorman is expert in swiftly creating individual characters in his fiction, even when they may only be in the story for a few pages. The reader feels an intimate knowledge of each participant and so is emotionally involved in the unfolding events. And as always, Gorman imbues so much humanity to the story that it is sometimes so vividly painful that it is difficult to read. But I doubt that you'll be able to put the book down for very long. I wasn't.

The Midnight Room is one of Ed Gorman's finest novels and I at first felt that it was slightly cheated by being a paperback original. Surely a book this good deserves a hardcover publication. Then I remembered the dedication and how The Midnight Room is his own version of a Gold Medal novel and I realized that a paperback publication is entirely appropriate.

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