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The first Sam McCain book. This series about a young lawyer working for a judge in Black River Falls IA in 1958 completely captures the time and place. And a good time and place it was! With his 1951 ragtop Ford with matching skirts and his quick wit the 5 and a half-footish Sam McCain roars through the 50s and early 60s like a rock & roll detective.
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Veteran mystery writer, editor, and anthologist Ed Gorman plays all the right notes in his latest book--hopefully the first of a promising period series. It's 1959 (the book says 1958, but that must be a mistake, because everyone knows Buddy Holly died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959), and Sam McCain--"a young lawyer in a town that already had too many lawyers"--is working as an investigator in Black River Falls, Iowa, for Judge Esme Anne Whitney, a wealthy and eccentric old woman who smokes Gauloises in Chesterfield country and takes pleasure in shooting McCain with rubberbands while they confer.
The day after a long drive to and from what turns out to be Buddy Holly's last concert before his fatal plane crash, McCain finds the murdered wife of Judge Whitney's rotten nephew, Kenny, and then is unable to stop Kenny from killing himself. Everybody, including the town's loutish police chief, is sure that Kenny killed his wife--only McCain has his doubts.
Complicating things are the troubles of a local black former football star now crippled by booze, and those of McCain's teenage sister who is trying to abort her baby. The period details about race and sex seem dead right; the people of Black River Falls, especially McCain's family and various girlfriends, are all sharply-sketched; and even the very late appearance of a possible villain can't spoil the considerable fun.
Previous examples of Gorman's craft, or sullen art, include Daughter of Darkness, Black River Falls, Dark Trail, The First Lady, Hawk Moon, The Marilyn Tapes, Senatorial Privilege, Trouble Man, and Cage of Night. --Dick AdlerAbout the Author:
Ed Gorman is known for his numerous titles in the mystery, suspense, horror and western genres. He's been writing since the 70s has won a Shamus and Spur award. He lives in Cedar Rapids.
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