The murder of a wealthy young woman sparks a backlash against the hippie commune that has recently arrived in Black River Falls
A hippie commune has invaded Black River Falls. While the majority of the townspeople believe that the bohemians have to right to stay—despite how bizarre some of their ways can seem—as always there is a minority that constantly accuses them of everything from criminal activities to Satanism. As usual, lawyer and private investigator Sam McCain finds himself in the middle of the controversy, especially when the teenage daughter of Paul Mainwaring, one of the town’s wealthiest men, is found murdered in the commune’s barn. A deeply troubled young man (and Vietnam vet) named Neil Cameron is immediately charged with the crime but Sam has serious doubts. In this lively and atmospheric new mystery novel, Ed Gorman offers readers his richest portrait yet about Black River Falls and its people.
Social turmoil overshadows the sleuthing in Gorman s excellent ninth Sam McCain mystery (after 2009 s A Ticket to Ride). In 1968, a hippie commune near Black River Falls, Iowa, both horrifies and entices the townsfolk with its uninhibited lifestyle. Sardonic lawyer and investigator McCain becomes involved after the discovery of the body of Vanessa Mainwaring, the teenage daughter of a well-to-do local, at the commune, and a Vietnam vet who s one of its members flees. Interference by a bigoted sheriff, an opportunistic preacher, and a hysterical father makes matters even worse as Sam tries not just to solve the murder but to help the people around him caught in an intensely stressful situation. The real crime, as Sam eventually realizes, is how one generation exploits the next while the younger generation devours itself. In turn mellow and melancholy, this book grapples with problems that are too complex for any detective to untangle.