Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer

Robert Greer's latest book, Blackbird, Farewell, is a good one. I have not read any of Mr. Greer's work before this one, but I will be checking out his other books. Blackbird, Farewell is listed as the 7th CJ Floyd mystery but centers more on Damion Madrid, who apparently has worked with CJ on other mysteries.

Here's the summary (from the author's website): BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL is Damion Madrid's story, and with this novel, he takes his rightful place as CJ's protégé. Just before he is to start medical school, Damion's best friend and basketball star cohort, Shandell "Blackbird" Bird, is murdered after signing a multi-million dollar contract with the Denver Nuggets. News of the high-profile murder of this family friend still reaches CJ, who is honeymooning in Hawaii. But he decides to stay where he is and enjoy this special time, leaving the sleuthing to the professionals.

Or so he thinks.

Raised around CJ, Damion thinks nothing of launching his own investigation, with the help of the Floyd network. He can't help but. He and Blackbird grew up together on the Glendale courts, in Five Points, and at Colorado State University, where they almost took the basketball team all the way to the NCAA Championship. It's that "almost" that is worrying Damion now. A local loudmouth has accused Blackbird of giving away the final game. Plus, a former teammate claims that Blackbird sold performance enhancing drugs to kids back on his home turf in Five Points. None of this makes sense to Damion. He can't believe that Blackbird would have involved himself in illegal activities, especially given his prospects in the draft. Why risk it?

In a thrilling, fast-paced ride through the worlds of college and pro sports, Damion discovers the tragic answer: that Blackbird had a secret that he felt was so private, he did almost anything to protect it.

When I started the book I wasn't aware that this was the latest in a series. (This seems to be an issue for me...I need to start checking that out ahead of time!) The beginning starts solidly, we are drawn in quickly and given good background before the murder takes place. I felt like I could easily see Damion, a.k.a. "Blood", and Bird talking, feel their bond of being life-long friends. And then after the murder, when Damion is looking into what happened, I felt bad for him that he learned all these things about his best friend and the others around him.

It was a good mystery, with interesting whodunit questions and action. I felt like some of the characters were not quite developed and were stereotyped - but since I now know it's a series, than those characters are probably fleshed out better in earlier books.

Early on there was some writing that seemed a bit odd or forced, particularly when dealing with the police. The part that sticks in my mind is about how the detective had to write everything down in his Blackberry and we were told each time he wrote something. That felt weird and I worried that was how the whole book would be written. However after the first few chapters, it was well-written and the writing was 'unnoticeable' - which to me means good! I don't want to notice the writing - I want to remember the story.

I am glad I had the chance to read Blackbird, Farewell. I am going to put the rest of Robert Greer's CJ Floyd books on my list to be read. It looks like another good mystery series that I will enjoy.

Rating: 4/5 stars

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I hope you're feeling better.