I just finished The Night Remembers by Ed Gorman. This edition is the Ramble House, a handsome book from Fender Tucker’s imprint. I have the trade paperback with an understated cover by Lou Carbone. The introduction is by Bill Pronzini, which is appropriate, as the introduction reads:
This is for Bill Pronzini and somebody else who shall remain Nameless
Mr. Pronzini does a much more eloquent job of pointing out Ed Gorman’s skill as a writer than I ever could. I’m a fairly late comer to Gorman’s books, having just discovered him in the last few years as I began prowling the internet and finding blogs of interest. He’s one of a number of writers with whom I’m engaged in trying to catch up.
A probably never ending job as I’m so far behind and they all continue to publish.
Jack Walsh is an early sixties retired policeman, a widower. He serves as an ad hoc manager of his apartment building for a reduction on the rent, supplementing his income as a private investigator. He has a lady friend much younger and they have a baby together. She has health problems that are addressed throughout much of the novel.
All that’s what I liked about Walsh. He’s just an everyman, someone with which most of us can identify. He’s definitely not your stereotypical fictional PI, the fist-fighting, gun-slinging type that generally shows up on to many network TV series.
One day, a woman named Lisa Pennyfeather shows up at Walsh’s office and wants to hire him to prove her husband innocent of a murder for which he’d been convicted and served a twelve year prison term. The catch was that Walsh, while still a policeman, had arrested George Pennyfeather for that crime years ago.
Walsh refuses the case, still believing the husband guilty. Later that night, he gets an urgent phone call from the woman, wanting him to come to her home, saying something had happened. What he finds is a woman stabbed to death in a gazebo on the property, amidst a party going on to celebrate Pennyfeather’s release from prison.
Walsh gets caught up in the case then.
What follows is a couple of more murders, another PI, lies upon untruths, the horrendous crimes behind the whole mess. All this while having to deal with his lady’s health, which takes up a good portion of the novel.
I liked this mystery. It was unpredictable. Whenever I thought I knew what was going on(after all, I’ve read a lot of these things), Gorman leads you off down a different path.
This is the only Walsh novel, his one previous appearance a novelette, “Friends”, in 1990. I would love to see more.
Worth a look.
P.S.: Pronzini is another one I’m behind on, having not read any of the Nameless novels. I guess I need to get up off may butt and find some of them.