The Original Sam McCain Mysteries

The Original Sam McCain Mysteries is the author’s revised and preferred combined edition of his first two Sam McCain mysteries, The Day The Music Died and Wake Up Little Susie, both of which are now also available individually as e-books and trade paperbacks. Each book includes a new introduction from Ed Gorman, as well as the author’s preferred and revised text, and has been completely reformatted for Kindle.

Ed Gorman’s Sam McCain has become one of the most beloved characters in the American pantheon of literary private investigators. Beginning with The Day The Music Died, set in the late 1950s, Sam McCain sees through the Ozzie and Harriet veneer of the decade and reveals the racism, hypocrisy, and adultery that existed just under the surface, and does so with grace and humor. Sam, a young lawyer and part time private investigator in the small Iowa town of Black River Falls, uses humor and a keen eye for the truth to look past the obvious suspects—particularly the ones the local sheriff insists are guilty—to find the real perpetrators. Sam McCain is not only an exciting, unique character, he is the honest voice of the 1950s that is rarely heard.

The Day The Music Died, the first book in the series, begins in the winter of 1959, the day after Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. Sam is asked by the local judge to discover who killed the wife of her nephew, Kenny, despite the fact that everyone else in town is convinced that the murderer is Kenny himself.

Wake Up Little Susie, Gorman’s sequel to his first Sam McCain mystery, is set in the late summer of 1957 on the day that Ford introduced its new “revolutionary” Edsel automobile to America. When the dead body of the District Attorney’s wife is found in the trunk of one of the new Edsels, Sam is tapped to find the real killer while the sheriff makes plans to hang the most obvious suspect.

Biography of Ed Gorman (1941- )
Ed Gorman has been an astonishingly prolific writer since he turned to writing full-time in 1984 after 20 years in advertising. Since then he has produced two to three books a year, several pseudonymously, written over a hundred short stories, edited many anthologies, and co-founded and edited the news magazine of the mystery field, Mystery Scene.

He has been dubbed the ‘Poet of Dark Suspense’ and much of his work haunts that ill-defined land between horror and mystery where the emphasis is as much on fear and shock as it is on crime and detection.

Gorman has created several series characters, most prominently Jack Dwyer, an ex-cop turned security guard and part-time actor; former FBI psychological profiler Robert Payne; the temperamental and turbulent Tobin, a movie critic whose life is just too complicated; and more recently, Sam McCain, a young attorney in small-town Iowa in the fifties.

Gorman has written more one-off mysteries of late including some superior ones which he signs as E.J. Gorman. These include The Marilyn Tapes, which recreates the investigation into Marilyn Monroe’s death, and The First Lady, a political thriller where the President’s wife is accused of murder. One of Gorman’s best psychological noir novels is Daughter of Darkness, in which an emotionally and mentally troubled young woman may have murdered a man but she has no memory of it. Similarly, Senatorial Privilege is a vivid recreation of small-town politics and violence.


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