Robert Greer Robert Greer

The C.J. Floyd Mystery Series

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First of State
Prequel
The Devil's Hatband
1
The Devil's Red Nickel
2
The Devil's Backbone
3
Resurrecting Langston Blue
4
The Fourth Perspective
5
The Mongoose Deception
6
Blackbird, Farewell
7
Astride a Pink Horse
8

Astride a Pink Horse
A Denver Post bestseller

Astride a Pink Horse

Book 8

"...though the crime is awful and the motives dark, the reader will enjoy the journey to a satisfying resolution."
   —Booklist

The Cold War ended years ago, or did it? For Thurmond Giles, a decorated African American Air Force veteran found dead, naked, and dangling by his ankles inside an entry tube to a deactivated minuteman missile silo in desolate southeastern Wyoming, the answer is no. The labyrinthine investigation that follows—led by Air Force fighter pilot Major Bernadette Cameron and ex-college baseball phenom-turned-reporter Elgin "Cozy" Coseia—reveals how the atomic era's legacy has continued to destroy minds and lives.

Set in contemporary times, Astride a Pink Horse follows Bernadette, Cozy, and Cozy's eccentric boss Freddie Dames as they match wits with a gallery of unforgettable murder suspects: a powerful, politically connected cattle rancher, long bitter over government seizure of his land for defense purposes and the expulsion of his son from the U.S. Air Force Academy; a declining 76-year-old WWII-era Japanese internment camp victim and her unstable math professor nephew; an idealistic lifelong nuclear arms protestor; and a civilian Air Force contractor with a 20-year-old grudge against the murder victim. Do three amateur detectives stand a chance against these characters and the conspiracy that may be behind it all?

Robert Greer's trademark mix of vivid eccentrics, surprising plot twists, and political edge makes this one of his most memorable thrillers.

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Blackbird, Farewell

Blackbird, Farewell

Book 7

"Greer's books in this series also give readers a strong sense of place (the Denver area) and a rare look at a diverse community that works together regardless of racial and economic barriers."
   —Library Journal, starred review

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.

Robert Greer's trademark mix of vivid eccentrics, surprising plot twists, and political edge makes this one of his most memorable thrillers.

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Blackbird, Farewell

The Mongoose Deception

Book 6

"Greer is a confident and generous storyteller."
   —Kirkus

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, America's thirty-fifth president, was as dazzling a public figure and politician as America has ever seen. Today, forty-three years after his assassination, America and the world remain fascinated by JFK, his administration's short-lived Camelot, and the Kennedy myth. The mystery surrounding JFK's assassination has proven to be an endless source of both controversy and conversation for everyone from political and media pundits to the man and woman on the street, all with a bevy of conspiracy axes to grind. The Warren Commission, formed to investigate the Kennedy assassination, fingered Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin, but conspiracy theories continue to abound.

When Cornelius McPherson, a sixty-three-year-old one time miner turned Colorado state highway maintenance man, who in 1968 worked on the original Interstate 70 Eisenhower tunnel bore that drove its way through a Colorado mountain and the US Continental Divide, ends up thirty-nine years later, trapped two days before his retirement, mid-Eisenhower tunnel in an earthquake, a vital key to the nuts and bolts of JFK's assassination descends on him from behind the tunnel's earthquake-damaged walls. That key takes the form of the frozen, well-preserved, still recognizable tattooed arm of one of McPherson's original mining comrades—a man who, more than three decades earlier, had confided to McPherson in a drunken stupor one night that he knew who had actually killed JFK.

McPherson turns up dead soon after the rest of the frozen remains of the tattooed murder victim are discovered and CJ Floyd, cheroot-smoking reluctant investigator and part-time bail bondsman turned antiques dealer, is drawn into a murder investigation when the frozen remains of the long-dead man are linked directly to CJ's friend and business associate Mario Santoni, an eighty-two year old curmudgeon and former Denver mafia don with a passion for antiques and rare collectibles.

The investigation takes CJ on a trip into the bowels of arguably the most intriguing assassination case in world history as he tries to find out how the popular 35th president was set up for the kill and who really killed him. It is a retrospective trek that has CJ investigating CIA plots, mafia dons, and Cuban conspirators. However, it is not until CJ realizes that there were in truth two attempts on Kennedy's life prior to his actual assassination on that fateful November day in 1963 in Dallas—one in Chicago and one in Tampa—that he's able to hone in on a trail leading to those who might have really killed the president. It is a journey that takes CJ from the pristine mountains of Colorado to the muggy swamps of Louisiana, and one that ultimately leads him to a grieving, long-silent Louisiana backwoods Creole mother who long ago lost her only son.

In unraveling America's most important twentieth-century political crime, CJ enlists the aid of his always-faithful cadre of street-smart former rodeo cowboys; his insightful former secretary, Julie Madrid, now a top-ranked legal shark; and his partner, Flora Jean Benson, a former U.S. Marines intelligence operative, to solve the most compelling murder case ever to capture the American imagination. CJ puts his own life on the line as he travels the potentially lethal trail that may lead to the identity of the killer, and to the one person living who actually knows the entire story about who killed JFK.

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The Fourth Perspective

The Fourth Perspective

Book 5

"Greer has mastered "street lingo" and his characters' voices are true. The Fourth Perspective entertains with interesting characters and a good puzzle."
   —The Boulder Daily Camera

Few events in America capture the nation's imagination like those that push the envelope of a new frontier. The building of the transcontinental railroad in post Civil War America, that culminated with the driving of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, was such an event. The construction of that railroad was testament to powerful personalities, the indomitable human spirit, engineering marvels and human toil. Three historical photographs of the actual Golden Spike ceremony arose from the event—one by Alfred A. Hart, a second by Charles R. Savage, and the most famous photo, "East Meets West—The Joining of the Rails," by Andrew J. Russell. These priceless pieces of historical art now hang in the National Archives and the Central and Union Pacific Railroad museums.

For almost the entire one hundred and thirty-seven year period since the Golden Spike ceremony, there have been rumblings in academic circles, talk among museum curators, and whispers and innuendos circulated in collector's circles, intimating that a fourth Golden Spike ceremony photograph exists.

When a young Nicaraguan immigrant on a student visa appears in CJ Floyd's recently opened Denver antique and western collectables store—a store eons removed from CJ's former bail bonding and bounty hunting life—toting a rare book on Montana medicine, CJ uses the last cash he has in the world to purchase the book. A book that turns out to contain a lot more than the dry mundane history of the medical profession in Nineteenth Century Montana, and a book that for many years had the famous fourth Golden Spike ceremony photograph strapped with fishing wire to its end boards.

When the young student, sans book and photograph, is found murdered in an alley a few blocks from CJ's store, a police investigation pegs CJ as a suspect and CJ must turn to his former bail bonding partner, Flora Jean Benson, and his band of rough cut urban cowboys and comrades in arms, to investigate the killing themselves. As they investigate, CJ drops through the dark side of a strange historical looking glass that has him following eccentric power brokers, museum curators, art dealers and collectors, and small minded academics down a trail of greed and corruption in their search for a jackpot day in the sun. All the while, CJ must also out maneuver his psychopathic and ever present, former Rhodes Scholar nemesis, and Olympic swimming champion, Celeste Deep Stream, who is out to extract revenge on CJ for causing the death of her twin brother.

The Fourth Perspective is a swift moving full dress treatment of the last great American railroad construction project and its priceless photographic history, and a pivotal novel for CJ Floyd. Clad in his trademark Stetson, his river boat gambler's vest and with an ever present cheroot clenched between his teeth, CJ, in The Fourth Perspective take's readers on an action filled tale of the old and new American west, a tale that is filled with action and intrigue.

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Resurrecting Langston Blue

Resurrecting Langston Blue

Book 4

"A taut mystery intertwined with political intrigue and colorful detail."
   —Ebony

Scandal, intrigue, murder—CJ Floyd is back to face the most life-threatening assignment of his career!

No one emerges unscathed from war, and ER doctor Carmen Nguyen is no different. More than thirty years after Vietnam, when the ghosts of that distant war come calling, Carmen decides to look for her father, Langston Blue, an army sergeant and Vietnam combatant, whom she never knew. Blue remains a shadowy figure, forever missing from Carmen's life and presumed dead since the end of the war. But Ket Tran, Carmen's feisty aunt and the guiding light in her life, has a sliver of evidence that Blue may still be alive—and on U.S. soil. Against her better judgment, Ket tells Carmen what she knows and Carmen enlists the help of CJ Floyd, the streetwise, Denver-based, African-American bail bondsman, Vietnam vet—and reluctant investigator.

With the help of CJ Floyd and his new partner, former Marine intelligence sergeant and Flora Jean Benson, Carmen charts a course to resurrect and reconstruct her father's past. A complex, dangerous course that untangles a decades-old mystery involving the disappearance of Amerasian war babies, illegal U.S. paramilitary operations, yellow journalism, political corruption, and power grabs that leads all the way to the halls of the U.S. Senate. Resurrecting Langston Blue is a riveting read—a mystery and political thriller that twists and turns right up to the very end.

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The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone

Book 3

"Greer relaxes into a lean, loose style that fits his western mysteries like a beat-up pair of lizard-skin boots."
   —New York Times Book Review

There were only two things that terrified retired rodeo star and all-around gadfly Hambone Dolbey. One of them was water. So when Hambone's lifeless body was found floating in a wet suit, those who knew him best knew for sure that the cowboy had been murdered.

Two of them, a deaf-mute old rodeo clown and a former bull rider, ask CJ Floyd to find the killer. CJ has just chased down a rail-thin bail-jumper named Bobby Two-Shirts, earning himself a $3,000 finder's fee, a vicious bite, and a new enemy: Bobby's beautiful, long-legged sister. Driving bare-breasted through the desert heat, she is in hot pursuit of the man who put her brother away.

Now CJ has to watch his back and his front. He discovers Hambone Dolbey's colorful career included a kinky, forbidden, and potentially dangerous affair, and unearths a trail of deals and greed pointing to the mountainous landmass known as the Devil's Backbone. But while CJ hunts a murderer who has already struck twice, Bobby Two-Shirts's sister is laying a trap...

This is a novel rich in detail, from a parking lot father-and-son New Age black Houdini act to Denver's colorful Bail Bondsman's Row, where the porches of old Victorian houses sport garish neon signs. And with CJ Floyd, a man of courage, integrity, and just a little too much old-fashioned stubborness for his own good at its center, The Devil's Backbone is a classy, classic American mystery novel, set in the new American frontier.

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The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Red Nickel

Book 2

"The energy just leaps off the page... The characters are well-drawn, his scenarios compelling and evocative—think of Dashiell Hammet and Chester Himes in a pickup truck."
   —Austin

The music spelled freedom for a young black man in the early 1960s: the doo-wop singers and dance rhythms that sailed west on a powerful A.M. radio signal from Chicago. CJ Floyd is not as young or carefree as he once was. But a certain wisdom has come with the years, and cruising in his '57 Bel Air, CJ can still get off on the doo-wop sound—until it comes to him with a backbeat of murder.

For CJ, the case begins when a beautiful black woman hires him to look into the death of her father, one LeRoy Polk, a.k.a. Daddy Doo-Wop, a famous Chicago D.J. Sleek, smart, and hard-driving Clothilde Polk is sure her father did not die of the heart attack doctors first suspected. CJ agrees to investigate.

Before long, he realizes that the death of Daddy Doo-Wop is part of a bigger story, one that reaches back to Chicago in the fifties when the Mob called the tune. From payola to paychecks, from the dirtiest of deals to some old tapes that still might be worth gold, CJ is entering into a realm where a great melody can lead to a deadly refrain, and where someone has a murderous hit parade of his own.

From a family-run soul food joint to the glimmering grass of Mile High Stadium, from a bail jumper's funny trail of funny money to the parched plains around Pueblo, The Devil's Red Nickel is a mystery that's as original as its unconventional investigator and as startling as the squeal of brakes in the neon night. In it, CJ Floyd is an authentic American Hero—a man of honor and action as unforgettable as a song that won't leave your heart.

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The Devil's Hatband

The Devil's Hatband

Book 1

"Greer's highly complex story flows with the rapid ease of a downhill run on fresh powder."
   —The San Antonio Express News

Cheroot smoking African-American bail bondsman CJ Floyd is a man who plays the odds whether chasing down bond skippers, keeping a thumb on Denver's gang-banging vermin, or working on the occasional bounty hunting case that comes his way. Dressed in a Stetson, cowboy boots and a black leather gamblers vest, CJ, a Vietnam veteran help keeps his "home front" community of Five Points together and its denizens on the straight and narrow.

When a couple of corporate "oreos" toting fashion-statement briefcases and sporting manicured nails appear in CJ's office one day asking him to locate the missing daughter of a federal judge, CJ reluctantly accepts the job, hoping the money he earns will help him meet his always shaky expenses for the month. It turns out that the missing black trophy debutant of a daughter has joined a group of eco-terrorists whose mission is no less than the destruction of the entire western cattle industry. Seems the missing woman, Brenda Mathison, has skipped out on a high paying, high tech job at Carson's technologies where her father was on the Board of Directors. Missing along with her are important proprietary bio tech documents that Carson Technologies wants back.

When CJ leaves Denver for the snow-capped Rockies in search of the beautiful and charismatic Brenda, he doesn't expect to find her dead, but he does; strangled to death in the kitchen of her home in a remote Colorado mountain valley. With a new $5000 offer from the men who hired him in the first place to find Brenda's killer plus more if he locates the mysterious missing documents, CJ plunges headfirst into an investigation that could be his last.

As CJ slides through the neon night in his pride-and-joy two-tone '57 Bel Air with John Lee Hooker tapes blasting, he develops a list of murder suspects who that includes several of her eco-terrorists compatriots, a powerful well connected cattle rancher, and even Brenda's dear-old-dad. Much of the fast-paced action in The Devil's Hatband switches between the barren and unforgiving Colorado Rockies and "Five Points," the core of Denver's African-American community since the early 20th Century. With the back drop of the Rockies and Five Points serving as his stage, CJ negotiates his way between two desperate settings, the crystal clear Colorado High Country and his Denver home base where the smell of high cholesterol, high fat, mouth-wateringly delicious southern fried food always hangs in the air. As CJ fights with local Five Points gang members who are out to have his hide, he learns that the missing bio tech documents that Brenda Mathison has stolen hold the key to her death. In a land of big vistas and frigid blue sky, a battle between land owners and environmentalists has turned deadly, and the stakes are higher than anyone knows because an extraordinary scientific discovery has fallen into the wrong hands.

In CJ Floyd, Robert Greer has created a truly remarkable hero and in The Devil's Hatband he has written a novel that hypnotizes and fascinates from the first page to the last.

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First of State

First of State

Series prequel

"CJ Floyd is one of crime fiction's hidden gems, and this is a satisfying entry in a rewarding...series."
   —Booklist

Robert Greer's latest novel—a prequel to his CJ Floyd mystery series—takes readers back in time to a very different CJ Floyd. It's 1972, and the twenty—two-year-old decorated war vet has recently returned to Denver from Vietnam with post-traumatic stress disorder. Navigating depression, he finds a friend in World War II vet and amputee Wiley Ames, who shares his passion for rare and valuable western memorabilia.

When Ames and a mysterious Chinese man are found murdered, CJ's already fragile world threatens to collapse. His attempts to find his friend's killer are thwarted at every turn, and finally he joins his Uncle Ike's business as bail bondsman and bounty hunter. Five years later one of Ames's treasured antique license plates turns up at a Denver flea market, and CJ is once again off and running. Equally a white-knuckle-ride murder mystery and a tale of a traumatized young man coming to terms with his past, First of State features the kind of fresh characters, street-smart dialogue, and ingenious plot twists that have made this series a critical and commercial success.

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