Carroll & Graf, Jan 2001, 22.95, 208 pp.
In 1959 throughout the heartland, everyone knows the Ruskies are coming with Khrushchev visiting Iowa. The Soviet Premier's visit stirs up much activity as the anti-Communists shout "Better Dead than Red". Right wing activists target left wing sympathizing Americans such as noted local writer Richard Conners.
Taking the threats to his life seriously, Richard turns to attorney-sleuth Sam McCain. However, someone still kills Richard painting a hammer and sickle on the victim's forehead. Sam begins to investigate his client's murder with the biggest problem being there is plenty of rabid suspects in Black River Falls.
The third McCain trip back to the fifties is a wonderful trip back in time especially for the older members of the boomers. The story line is fun, the mystery is complex and taut, and the milieu is perfect as Ed Gorman presents Cold war bogeyman number one Khrushchev (with shoes on) visiting Iowa. Sam is a fabulous guide to the era. The historical tidbits add to the feel of a great novel that vividly brings to life an intriguing historical moment that only Mr. Gorman and perhaps the Chambers Brothers would understand.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner