Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Richard Wheeler; Gorman

Ed,

Terrill Lankford's guest piece is filled with truth, graciously stated, and I find myself admiring him enormously. I too had noted that the WSJ story didn't really come to grips with the way established authors are being ratcheted out of business by chain buyers who order only the net sale number of the author's previous book. In fact, I thought the WSJ reporter just didn't get it. I am glad you are offering a forum to a person as gifted and truth-seeking as Terrill.

Richard Wheeler

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From Ed

Every once in a while I read a short story that seems to me just about perfect in every respect--character, plot, atmosphere and some combination of the three that will keep it in memory for years to come.

Ian Rankin certainly doesn't need any more publicity or praise but in the case of "The Hanged Man," he certainly deserves it. A contract killer is hired to off a fortune teller/astrologer. But her personality is such that he gets drawn into a mysterious psychological game she's playing in her shabby little room with all the proper psychic-scam props. Not wanting to tip the author's hand, let me simply say that he builds suspense to a nail-biting degree and then slapsy ou across the face with a truly shocking ending.

I've now read the story three times and let me tell you that there were so many ways he could've tripped over his own cunning I'm awestruck that he stage-managed every single element of this tale flawlessly. A masterpiece.

In case you don't know why Rankin is now a world-wide bestseller, look for this story in the forthcoming A New Omnibus of Crime edited by Tony Hillerman and Rosemary Herbert. It's probably been reprinted in other antholgies as well since it's first appearance.

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