Shandell 'Blackbird' Bird has everything going for him, or so he thinks. Recently selected number two overall in the NBA draft, the 6'8", 250-pound prototype pro-basketball power forward and Colorado State University graduate has a gleaming new ride, a four-million-dollar basketball athletic shoe contract, and a 3.2-million-dollar rookie salary scale contract guarantee. What he doesn't have is the ability to bury secrets from his past. When Shandell ends up shot to death at mid-court on the very basketball court he spent most of his youth honing his skills on, his best friend and college teammate, Damion Madrid, who's forsaken a sure thing in the pros to instead attend medical school, is left to sort out what happened to his friend. Fortunately for Damion, his godfather, cheroot-smoking, streetwise, African American Denver bail bondsman CJ Floyd and his statuesque partner, one time marine intelligence operative Flora Jean Benson, are there for Damion to lean on.Damion's investigation, hampered by his neophyte status in the crime solving world, has him, with CJ and Flora Jean covering his back, following a trail that leads to Shandell's purported peddling of performance enhancing drugs and big game point shaving.
It's not until Damion stumbles across the hidden world of his dead friend - and discovers a 'Blackbird' he never knew - that he is able to put a face on Shandell's killer. "Blackbird, Farewell" is a biting story about the role that money and mandated player conformity play in modern-day sports, and a portrait of the viciousness and hypocrisy that lie behind the facade of the pro-athlete good life. It's a haunting tale of a naive black man buying into a world that can toss you aside as fast as the sound bite of your last post-game courtside interview.
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(229mm x 152mm x 33mm)
North Atlantic Books,U.S.
Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S.
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Greer benches series hero CJ Floyd (The Mongoose Deception, 2007, etc.), who's sorely missed in this slow-moving tale of murder and big-time basketball.Bail bondsman CJ Floyd, whose smarts, toughness and gravitas have served Denver so well, isn't about to be drawn back from his Hawaiian honeymoon, though clearly Damion Madrid, his godson and protege, is in over his head. Damion's friend, and everybody's All-American, Shandell "Blackbird" Bird, has been snuffed out as he stood at the very edge of a brilliant new career. Having signed a multimillion-dollar NBA contract, Blackbird was weeks away from joining the Denver Nuggets when a sniper's bullet ended the dream he'd cherished since fourth grade. So Damion has to know why. And who. Since his godfather isn't available, he turns to ex-Marine Flora Jean Benson, CJ's partner, for badly needed sleuthing help. There's no dearth of suspects: the beautiful, blonde, hard-shelled girlfriend whose six-foot-one meal ticket was showing signs of disenchantment; the on-again-off-again dad whose fondness for Blackbird bloomed suspiciously late; and a surfeit of others. It turns out that Blackbird had as many dark secrets as fancy floor moves. Greer fills his tale with red, white and black herrings, but he takes a long time to get where he's going, and he disappoints when he finally gets there.A low-scoring game. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Robert Greer
Robert Greer is a practicing surgical pathologist and professor of pathology and medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. The author of seven previous CJ Floyd mysteries, including "The Fourth Perspective "and "The Mongoose Deception, "he lives in Denver.