Recently, I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Fools Rush In by Ed Gorman. Pegasus, 2007.Read an excerpt from Pelham Fell Here, and learn more about the book and author at the publisher's website.
I’m a true sucker for the novels set in small towns, prairies, or agrarian societies. I grew up on a rural route and that’s programmed in me. I wouldn’t change it if I could even today when I live outside Washington, D.C.
Ed Gorman’s detective/lawyer Sam McCain is from Black River Falls, Iowa (Iowa City, Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids are the population centers), hooked me from the get-go. Fools Rush In is the second title I’ve enjoyed in the Sam McCain series. The time-frame here is June 1963, so throw in some nostalgia as well.
This engaging story, however, is nothing like taking an leisurely Sunday drive in the country. Sam is caught up in investigating a double homicide with racial overtones. The murdered black university student David Leeds has a relationship with the Caucasian Lucy Williams, the daughter of the powerful, Republican senator Lloyd Williams. Blackmail and pornography play a role in the wrongdoings. Seething in the background is the social news of the Freedom Riders and “Bull” Connor unleashing the cop dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Alabama.
The amiable Sam has friends, beginning with his household of cats that know who their daddy is. Sixtyish Judge Esme Anne Whitney is Sam’s mentor and friend dealing with her own personal issue. Jane Sykes, easy on the eyes, is the new and efficient D.A. Kenny Thibodeau pens those dirty adult books and helps out Sam with his sleuthing activities.
Irish to the core, Sam is easy-going until you shove him into a corner or cross him. Sam holds his own in brawls and has a knack for winning cooperation when he needs it from key witnesses. Like all young men, the complex Sam wonders about his future romance prospects and broods over his past trysts going up in flames. His longings often arise in eloquent passages that put me in mind of James Lee Burke. The images of Friday night in a small town setting are priceless.
All told, I recommend Fools Rush In and look forward to reading more of the adventures from Sam McCain and his friends.
Ed Lynskey's other books include The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Dirt-Brown Derby, Out of Town a Few Days, and A Clear Path To Cross (all detective mysteries).
His work has also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post, and New York Times.
Ed Lynskey's The Blue Cheer, the movie.
The Page 69 Test: The Dirt-Brown Derby.
The Page 99 Test: Pelham Fell Here.