That publishers can sometimes be morons is no secret, but Ed Gorman's
statement that his novel 'Cage of Night' written in the 90s was rejected
by many of them "because they couldn’t figure out if it was
a crime novel or horror fantasy" speaks volumes about the craziness
of the mass publishing world, where marketing and labels count more
than quality. What really matters, it seems, is to produce books which
can easily fit in the right shelves in bookstores (crime, mystery, horror,
fantasy, SF), never mind if that book is good or not.
Not surprisingly, Gorman's novel is now made available once again thanks
to one of the most prestigious and prolific small imprints in the UK,
the multi-award winning PS Publishing, and rightly so because the novel
provides further evidence that Gorman is one of the best living fiction
writers and storytellers.
This time he depicts the events befalling Spence, who, just returned
home after being discharged from the Army, falls in love with beauty
queen Cindy Brasher, unfortunately engaged to local basketball star
David Myles. The relationship between David and Cindy is ambiguous and
uneasy, so Spence seems to be lucky enough the conquer the girls’
favors, much to the dismay of both her boyfriend and the newly appointed
young cop Mike Garrett, who's also in love with Cindy. The sentimental
plot is closely entangled with a supernatural background: an alien thrown
on Earth during a meteor fall last century, is living at the bottom
of an abandoned well in the woods. It communicates with Cindy and controls
the minds and the will first of David and later of Garrett, leading
them to commit violence and murder. To tell more would mean spoiling
the reader's pleasure in discovering the fascinating development and
the tragic ending of this gripping novel.
As aptly observed by Stephen Gallagher in his Introduction to the volume,
the novel is a fine example of well-crafted popular fiction, based on
pure storytelling. Writers like Gorman understand that storytelling,
far from being a lower form of literature is "the ticket to ride"
(and smart readers, I'd like to add, feel just the same).
Here we have a solid story written in a steady, engrossing narrative
style by a master in the art of creating true characters, who speak
in credible dialogues and act as people do in everyday's life. And,
just because everything sounds so real, you'll be scared and unsettled
but you'll find yourself unable to put the book down until you've reached
the last page.