The rain man by James Rada, Jr. ; with historical commentary by Albert L. Feldstein.

rainman  lindaj  Review by:  Linda J.

Title:  The rain man

Author:  James Rada, Jr. ; with historical commentary by Albert L. Feldstein

Collection:  Adult Fiction

James Rada, Jr. writes for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. Besides Maryland Life, his articles have appeared in Allegany, Hagerstown, Frederick, Catoctin History, and Maryland Historical Magazine. He is also the author of four historical novels set in Maryland and a young adult novel. His all-time favorite writing assignment was getting to fly in a B-17 bomber from Pittsburgh to Cumberland.
I really enjoyed reading The Rain Man.  The setting is Cumberland during the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day Flood.  The author combines history and fiction to weave a story of a murder that took place just before the flooding began.  I was able to visualize the setting quite well, because it takes place in the city I live in.  Rada adds tidbits about actual local businesses and citizens, so the story really came to life for me.
Jake is a Cumberland police officer who lost his wife in the 1924 Cumberland flood, so he has a phobia about the rising waters.  He is called out to investigate a murder that took place in an alley between Centre and Mechanic Streets in East Cumberland.  The murderer, we find out, is named Raymond.  Raymond hears the voice of ‘The Rain Man’ every time it rains.  The Rain Man instructs him to hurt people, and Raymond complies.  Jake has to find and stop Raymond before he kills again.   As he is looking for the killer, Wills Creek starts flooding its banks, and the city is slowly being swallowed by the water.  Jake fights to overcome his flood phobia, help victims of the flood, and find the killer.
There is an introduction by Albert Feldstein, another local author who has written a couple of books about the Cumberland floods.  Feldstein gives us historical data about the setting, and Rada incorporates these facts in his story.  I recommend this book because the story is good and the setting is familiar to those of us who live and work in Cumberland!


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