The McCain series may well be the crowning achievement of Ed Gorman's illustrious career. If I had to pick a particular favorite novel, I might have to go with either Black River Falls or Cage of Night. But if I had to point my finger to the area where Gorman's writing shines the brightest, it would almost certainly be the McCain books.

Each book in this nostalgic series has name of a classic rock and roll song as its title. the first one, The Day The Music Died, was published in 1998. It introduced readers to young Sam McCain, a poor but up-and-rising lawyer living in 1950's Iowa. McCain adores Buddy Holly and takes a trip to see his idol perform, but Holly never makes the show. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper are killed in a plane crash on February 3rd, 1959. This tragedy sets a melancholic tone for the story. McCain, who also dabbles in odd private eye jobs, takes on a murder-suicide case in it.

The subsequent books in the series are (in chronological order): Wake Up Little Suzie, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Save The Last Dance For Me, Everybody's Somebody's Fool, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Fools Rush In, Ticket To Ride, and Bad Moon Rising.

The novels follow McCain as his life progresses through the 1960's, and each one reflects the social and political climate of its day. There is great nostalgia in these books, and Gorman obviously feels a lot of fondness for the period. However, he also never lets us forget that all was not as nice back then as some would lead us to believe. There was racism, sexism, spousal abuse, and other not-so-pleasant things going on in American society.

Still, it's hard not to be moved by McCain's adoration of his ragtop car. His refusal to grow up and act respectable. His love of rock and roll. The burger stands and dances. Ed Gorman brings to life the styles, the attitudes, and the fun that people had in the mid-20th Century. Always against a backdrop of some sort of mystery that McCain finds himself trying to figure out.

There are nine novels preceding the next McCain book. That might seem daunting to some of you, but there is plenty of time to read them before Riders on the Storm is published this October. Just try the first one and I think you will be hooked.

As for me, Riders of the Storm is my most anticipated publication of 2014.

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