Audio'ed: Bad Moon Rising by Ed Gorman, 2011, from Overdrive.com.
Gorman passed away a couple weeks ago and that news pressed me to read or listen to another one of his novels. For some reason the writing and plot seem a lot like Max Allan Collin's work. Maybe I'm sticking the IA guys together. But, the way Gorman writes about love, sex, and relationships has a strong feel to Collins's work.
Ninth book in the Sam McCain series but the first one I have read. McCain is a small town lawyer in the Iowa town of Black River Falls. Black River Falls is fictional but near Cedar Rapids. Or was it Waterloo? There is a River Falls by Waterloo. Anyway, the town doesn't really matter except that McCain grew up there and knows a lot of people. McCain also works for an investigator for the local judge and, therefore, has some legal authority.
McCain's law practice is not thriving but he does have clients and some of those clients live in a hippie commune outside of town. The Hippie Leader in Chief gives McCain a call for help. McCain drives out to see a murdered woman in the commune's barn. Uh-oh. McCain questions Hippie Leader, McCain determines someone to talk to, McCain gets wonked on the head and person of interest runs off.
Anyhoo. Like most of the novels I really enjoy the novel's plot is not always that important. The characters and how they act is important. What they think, how they interact, what they wish for or want to hide are important. Finding a killer or driving to the store for beer are just a way for us to meet these people.
McCain is a short guy who deeply misses his dead father, loves a woman who is reticent to marry, and gets a burr up his butt about the war in Vietnam and poor treatment of young people and "hippies". McCain has a sharp tongue and is not unwilling to throw a punch.
The communes drop-outs are there for a variety of reasons and the murder victim and her family were splitting apart over a new stepmother and the dad's new swingin lifestyle.
The rabble rousing local Am radio preacher is scheming for more cash and blaming hippies and anti-war sentiment for the falling apart of America. (Some things never change.)