Monday, May 18, 2009

The Midnight Room - Ed Gorman

I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of serial killer novels. You can trust Ed Gorman to give you something different, though, even when he’s writing about a serial killer. Because he doesn’t just write about the person who’s murdering teenage girls in a small Midwestern city. In THE MIDNIGHT ROOM, which will be out from Leisure in July, he also gives you the team of police detectives looking for the killer, their friends and families, the family of a girl who has disappeared and is believed to have been abducted by the killer, the politicians, the news media, the ex-con looking for revenge, and the burglar who discovers the killer’s true identity . . . and decides to try his hand at a little blackmail.

Yes, there’s a lot packed into this book. The wonder of it is that while the plot never slows down for long, Ed also manages to include enough details to make all these characters come to vivid life. I think that may be one of the secrets to why his books are so good. In too many contemporary thrillers, the reader never learns much about the characters beyond what they need to know for the plot. In too much literary fiction, the author provides such an abundance of information about the characters that nothing ever happens; there’s no room for anything else. But Ed strikes a perfect balance in his work between the characters and the plot.

And speaking of plot . . . I thought I knew what was going to happen in this book, but then Ed surprised me not once but twice, changing the game part of the way through in a move that most writers wouldn’t even attempt, let alone pull off successfully. For me as a reader, being able to look at a book and say, “Huh. I didn’t see that coming,” is pure joy.

Obviously, objectivity goes out the window when I’m talking about Ed Gorman’s work, since he’s been one of my best friends for more years than I like to think about. Luckily, a lot of people who don’t even know him like his books. (That didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean.) Trust me on this. THE MIDNIGHT ROOM is really, really good, one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages. Treat yourself this summer and pick up a copy.


David Cranmer said...

Yeah maybe that line came out kind of funny but you gave me a chuckle. I'm looking forward to reading Ed's book after this review.

Cap'n Bob said...

Ed's a master at creating fully-rounded characters and his books are always an engaging read.