In 1950s Iowa, a murder-suicide forces a lawyer to put aside his rock-and-roll grief.
Sam McCain loves Buddy Holly, because he's the only rock-and-roll star who still seems like a dweeb, and Sam knows how that feels. With the unrequited love of his life at his side, Sam drives more than three hours through the snow to watch his idol play the Surf Ballroom. That night, Buddy Holly dies in the most famous plane crash in music history, but Sam has no time to grieve. Because there are too many lawyers in this small town, Sam makes a living as a PI, doing odd jobs for an eccentric judge - whose nephew, it seems, has a problem only a detective could solve. His trophy wife has been murdered, and as soon as Sam arrives, the nephew kills himself, too.
The police see this as a clear-cut murder-suicide, but Sam wants to know more, diving into a mystery that will get dangerous faster than you can say "bye-bye, Miss American Pie".
©1999 Ed Gorman (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Narrative makes the world go round.
American detective fiction tries to be too action packed or grisly for me, cozies tend to be too cute, and I usually skip anything containing the PI acronym-- but I’m very glad I took a chance on this. The Sam McCain series seems to be the same “weight” of a Charlotte MacLeod, with similar gentle humour, humanism and craftsmanship. McCain is a young small town PI/lawyer who sleeps with his cats since his romantic ideal eludes him; He confers with his Mom and Dad and gets sick if he drinks alcohol (but still it doesn’t get too cute).
Gorman is I think an older author, and there is thread of respect for elders and veterans running throughout the three in the series that I’ve enjoyed so far. This is more “nostalgic” rather than historical fiction written with modern sensibility, but that made it a better comfort read, the kind of mystery that soothes a head cold and relieves tension from listening to too much about current affairs. I get the feeling that Gorman is capable of much heavier fiction, but he gifted the world with some needed diversion instead.
Pinchot's narration was perfect. I bought the book as a Kindle edition first, thinking it would be better as a speed read, but it was written and narrated so well that I recommend the audio (check whisper sync price).
I have read several of these stories. I like Sam, his town and his cases, but I don't need the useless politics. It's heavy handed and annoying. Do I have know you think abortion is cool? Is it really useful that all the bad guys are Republicans?
Unfortunately it just makes a good story tiresome.
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