Fools Rush In: A Sam Mccain Mystery Paperback – Feb 24 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Gorman's engaging seventh civil rights–era whodunit (after 2004's Breaking Up Is Hard to Do), PI Sam McCain goes looking for a blackmailer and finds him dead alongside one of his blackmail victims, dynamic black college student David Leeds. David had been dating the white daughter of a senator, a major scandal in 1963 Black River Falls, Iowa. Given the pervasive climate of racial strife, there's no shortage of suspects, including a racist biker gang and the daughter's bully of an ex-boyfriend. McCain discovers other compromising photographs and a wad of cash indicating further blackmail victims, one of whom may have been driven to murder. The town's inept police chief warns McCain off the case, but the new district attorney, a young, attractive no-nonsense woman, lends invaluable support. While evoking the quiet ordinariness of the time with nostalgia, Gorman realistically portrays the small town's mixed response to the exploding national demand for long overdue justice. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Black River Falls, Iowa, 1963: the violence of the civil-rights era lurks behind the double murder of a Peeping Tom photographer and a handsome black lothario, David Leeds, who was dating the daughter of a white Republican senator. Young Sam McCain, a lawyer and sometime private detective, is on the case. Motives are widespread. The senator was having an affair. Local bikers hated Leeds' success with a white woman to whom they could never aspire. The photographer was a blackmailer, and the white ex-boyfriend of the senator's daughter was a violent bully. Sam McCain is cut from the same cloth as Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder and Bill Pronzini's "Nameless"--series heroes who change as time passes. The sweet, nonviolent, naive young man we met in the series debut (The Day the Music Died, 1999) is now comfortable pistol-whipping a witness. Readers unfamiliar with this fine series should hop onboard now and watch as an Iowa Mr. Marple starts to behave like a cornbelt Spenser. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A lesson long ago learned (for me) on the streets (and through life) is that there are two sides to every story ... and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Although I'm not a big fan of PI novels in general, this one does more than justice to the genre with clever writing, spot on dialogue and that great baseline of 1963 America that makes the read both fun and interesting. This, I believe, is #5 in the McCain series for the author ... which makes me anxious to look back at #'s 1-4.
We should all READ, amici ... every chance we get ... Fools Rush In makes it easy to do so ... it's a pleasure. READ it ...
It's 1963. The civil rights movement is charging across the country. The townspeople of Black River Falls, Iowa are concerned about the tumultuous changes that are happening across the country, but their town has been insulated from the turmoil until a young black man is murdered. His name is David Leeds, and he is a motivated, attractive, and well-liked young man who is attending University in Cedar Rapids, and scandalously dating the daughter of a local Senator.
Sam is again heralded into action by Judge Whitney--the last of the gentrified Whitney family who came to Black River Falls in the 1860s after a disagreement with the Treasury department sent them running from the East coast. He is ordered to find out who killed David Leeds and stop Cliff Sykes, the incompetent local Sheriff, from fouling the investigation. Sam quickly finds himself in a mystery that goes beyond mere racism--he does discover plenty of hate, but he also finds corruption, blackmail, fear, and even a little love.
FOOLS RUSH IN is darker than the previous entries in the series. We find Sam in a new world--the beautiful Pamela Forrest is gone, Mary has returned to her husband and Sam feels himself getting a little older. His father is ill and his world is changing. He is still a wiseacre, philosopher, pulp reader, part-time lawyer, and part-time private eye, but the world is changing around him. Or maybe better said, he is losing his youth and his vision of the world is changing.
The mystery is top-notch. Mr. Gorman gives enough false leads to keep the reader guessing at what is happening, and when the climax arrived I was surprised by who did what, and why. I enjoyed FOOLS RUSH IN a whole lot. It is a worthy addition to one of the better private eye series still being produced, and I hope--oh how I hope!--there is another story or two still waiting to see print. But if there isn't, FOOLS RUSH IN isn't a bad title to go out with.
Ben Boulden, Gravetapping
The American heartland has not been directly impacted by the civil rights movement that has the Freedom Riders all over the south and the nation listening to Negro demands for equality in DC. In Iowa, Sam quickly realizes just below the surface of calm lies plenty of anger and resentment as a black male does not date a white female. However, he also sees another scenario possible as Sam finds wads of money and photos of other victims; he ponders whether one chose to make remittance by murdering the blackmailer with the Negro being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The police want him to stay out of their case although he expects some sort of whitewashing of the truth.
Sam's seventh song titled civil rights era mystery (see BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO and EVERYBODY'S SOMEBODY'S FOOL) is a terrific whodunit. However, it is the small town relatively serene Iowa backdrop that enables the audience to witness the demands for freedom in 1960s America; this seemingly out of the way from the prime civil rights focus allows readers to understand the scope of the movement. Ed Gorman once again combines a fine murder investigation with a touch of nostalgia inside of the grand scale of the local, regional, and national freedom marches that changed America.
When Leeds is found murdered along with a white photographer, there is no shortage of suspects. Any number of Iowans, including the Senator who is running for re-election, were furious with Leeds. The bumbling police chief hasn't a clue and so McCain enters the fray.
Despite the violence, this is a gentle, nostalgic series that attempts to recapture the mood of an earlier, less complicated era. Even though we are now in the increasingly turbulent sixties, McCain is still the same innocent likeable guy he was in "The Day The Music Died," the series debut from a number of years ago. McCain's caught up in the music and the culture of the age and his love life reflects the standards of a different era. It's fun to watch him investigate the crime, although it's hard to take his "investigation" very seriously, but the real enjoyment of these books lies in the era that they evoke.
1. the wonderful immersion into a different time, spanning a decade from the late fifties to the late sixties. The descriptions are detailed, evocative, engaging and realistic. They are exceptionally well done.
2. The protagonist is a likeable average joe, who is easy to identify with and tells the stories in the first person. His back story is as engaging and interesting as the murder mysteries he gets involved in, and has become the main reason why I have become hooked on this series.
3. I like Sam McCain's world view. He is particularly adverse to any extremist tendencies (MCarthy witch hunts, racism, Beatle records burning, religious bigotry, snake handling churches, etc) and any form of social snobbery and elitism. Yet through all the turmoil (of which there was a lot in the fifties/early sixties), he retains a great sense of humor, which will have you smiling on and off, throughout the entire series.
4. There are plenty of connections to the pop culture of the fifties and sixties, which is a bonus for any lover of music, books, cinema and culture of the period.
5. The mysteries are well crafted and keep you guessing until the end.
6. Every single one of the entries in these series is excellent without exception and well worth the read.
Give this a try, you won't regret it. I read all 9 books in 2 months and can't wait for the 10th entry, 'Riders' on the Storm', that will appear in October 2014! I hope Mr. Gorman gets the opportunity to write several more before he retires.