Friday, September 16, 2011

Bad Moon Rising -- Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman's series about lawyer Sam McCain has always been a favorite of mine. Plots, characters, setting, and attitude. This series has it all. The song titles that are used as the titles of the novels give you the time period. They begin in the '50s (okay, the first book, The Day the Music Died, uses a line from a song and not a title), and we're not well into the darkness of the late '60s/early '70s with Bad Moon Rising (Creedence released the song, one of the all-time greats, in '69).

There's a hippie commune just outside Black River Falls, and when the daughter of one of the town's prominent citizens is murdered there, McCain is drawn into the case. Everyone except McCain seems to believe it's an open-and-shut case, especially Cliffie, the town's police chief, who doesn't figure as much in this story as in previous books. McCain begins his own investigation, and things prove to be a lot more complicated than anyone thought. Ugly secrets are uncovered, but Gorman, as usual, is wonderfully even-handed at presenting the human beings involved. Nobody's painted in one color here. Even the worst have redeeming qualities, no matter how small. And even the best have their flaws.

I'm sad to say that this appears to be the final book in the series, unless Gorman plans to take it in a new direction. My greatest regret is that McCain will probably never give his secretary's husband the butt-kicking he so clearly deserves. I've enjoyed every book in this series, and if you haven't read the others, I'd advise you to get started. It's worth your time, and like the rest, this one's a real keeper. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, Bill.

Scott Cupp said...

These books are among my favorites by Ed