Friday, February 16, 2018

"Brothers" by Ed Gorman and Richard Chizmar

“Brothers”, a novelette written by Ed Gorman and Richard Chizmar, is a dark crime tale about brotherhood and loss. Chets and Michael’s mother died when they were teenagers, their father, a cop and a drunk, was emotionally absent from their lives. Chet, the oldest, raises Michael. As adults, Chet can’t let go of his perceived responsibility. Chet helps Michael straighten out his life after he finds trouble with gambling and booze. He gets Michael on as a police officer, finds him a wife. And when Michael begins backsliding into is old ways, Chet once again tries to save him.
“Brothers” is an example of what Ed Gorman did so well—dark, melancholy tales with characters as real as our own neighbors, friends, siblings, and spouses. A subtle pre-determination that—no matter how hard the characters struggle and plan—will lead them to failure and sorrow. A bleakness counteracted by the portrayal of the flawed individual as worthwhile and human. 
“Brothers” is an expansion of a short story Ed published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2006 (I think). A significant amount of story was added, including an interesting childhood event that adds depth to Michael. While the original short story is excellent, this collaboration is even better.


Mathew Paust said...

Ed did everything so well, Ben, yet I'm naturally averse to dark stories (which tend to nip at my insecurities, and I always fear they'll depress me) so I haven't read many of those by Ed. I need to get past this unrealistic block, tho, and Brothers sounds like a good place to start. Thanks for the nudge!

Ben Boulden said...

The thing I've always liked about Ed's darker tales is the underlying goodness about them, which is generally seen in the characters. In this case, Michael's wife.