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Posted: June 26, 2022

Ed Gorman should be better known

Book Review

By Derryll White

Gorman, Ed (2002).  Vendetta.

The church and violence – how does that fit in today’s world? Forgiveness is a hard moral commandment to live up to. Ed Gorman does a good job of reaching back to the American Civil War and conjuring up the feelings America was left with. The central figure, Father Pete Madsen, came through that period and the looting and killing after the war and has since tried to atone for his behaviour.

Gorman throws in love, sex (in a restrained but evocative manner), and commitment. The writing is lean and direct, building characters very crisply. The author was born and grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Many of his novels, like ‘Vendetta,” are set in small, dusty Western towns

Ed Gorman is very successful in both the western and mystery genres. His style sets him apart and his sympathy toward humanity brings readers willingly into his fold. It is hard to understand why he isn’t more well-known.


Excerpts from the novel:

TALENT – A couple of times he smiled to himself.  Couldn’t help it.  Noah was an intelligent, hardworking, and upon occasion charming man.  But as a gunfighter, he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot.

RACE – He looked around at the merchants and clerks getting ready for their town day.  Every once in a while the idea of town intrigued him.  Life was so different here from at the mission.  But no, he thought, that’s the old Madsen.  The selfish Madsen.  The people in and around the mission needed him.  What with all the trouble they had with the U.S. Government – anybody with red or brown or yellow skin was automatically suspect in the eyes of the government – they needed a good friend to help them.

HELPING – “I’ve never needed the help the monsignor does.  Plus, you’ve changed.  You obviously feel more of a need to help.  And that’s good for you.  Gets you out of yourself.  Sometimes I think that’s the worst trap of all – ourselves.  It’s so hard to get away from all our own thoughts and problems and complications.  That’s the nice part about helping others.  It makes you concentrate on them.”

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at



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