I’ve always loved Ed Gorman’s Sam McCain series. What’s not to like? Good mystery with a rock and roll twist and some of the best writing going these days. Sam McCain started back in the early days of rock and has been moving up through the years. BAD MOON RISING lands old Sam in 1968, an era I was just reaching my maturity(like most teenagers I thought I was “gown up” at the exalted age of eighteen). It’s a time I remember. The time of most of the earlier novels I was to young to remember much about the time, to busy being a kid.
The Viet Nam War. Nixon. Hippies. All that was there. I was never a hippie, but I did cultivate the long hair and the quiet dislike of most adults(one extremely minor incident with a cop showed me where I stood in that respect, a ticket simply because of the long hair).
Wandering to much here. Get back on track.
Sam McCain gets called to the local commune outside of Black River Falls by the leader, Richard Donovan, on a matter he can’t discuss over the phone. Sam had represented the commune a few times in harassment matters. There were a few in town that didn’t like them and wanted them gone. The sheriff, Cliff Sykes(Cliffie as Sam calls him), in addition to being a bigot as not especially competent and the local “radio” preacher who focuses on them come to mind.
He’s shown a body in the barn of a young woman, Vanessa, daughter of Paul Mainwaring, one of the richest men in town, and knows a shit storm will hit the commune over this one.
The distraught father hires Sam to find the killer. The one who comes under suspicion almost immediately is a troubled young man, Neil Cameron, who’d fallen for the victim, a notorious tease among the local males and been rebuffed, a member of the commune, a man broken from the war.
Sam doesn’t believe him guilty, which puts him in the middle of opposing sides as usual as he continues to investigate the death and those that follow, much to the displeasure of most of the folks involved.
Ed Gorman does his usual fine job of painting small town life and the folks who inhabit it, getting the period details right in a town in which I would feel completely at ease, one about the size of the one I grew up in. BAD MOON RISING was a lot of fun with me remembering incidents of my own, laughing out loud a time or two at McCain, almost an everyman, with his antics and reaction to folks in the course of his poking around.
Highly recommended. The book is due for release on October 11th.