Blackbird, Farewell (CJ Floyd Series #7)

Blackbird, Farewell (CJ Floyd Series #7)

by Robert Greer

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Overview

The shooting of a Denver NBA superstar reveals a pro-sports underworld of greed, secrets, blackmail, steroids, and murder.
 
Shandell Bird’s career is soaring. But just after the NBA luminary signs a multimillion-dollar contract with the Denver Nuggets, and another as celebrity spokesman for Nike, the “Blackbird” makes headlines again—when he and a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist are shot to death mid-court. Honeymooning in Hawaii, bail bondsman and investigator C. J. Floyd is too far from reality to find the sniper, so he hands his gumshoes to his godson, Damion Madrid.
 
Best friends since grade school, Damion and Shandell grew up on the Glendale courts. At Colorado State University, they led their basketball team to the NCAA Championship finals. They were as close as brothers. Now Damion is hearing stories of Shandell’s connections to organized crime, point shaving, selling of performance-enhancing drugs, and association with low-life sycophants drawn to wealth and fame.
 
But the Blackbird had secrets no one knew—some so private he took them to his grave. On the dark road of discovery, Damion will be forced to shed his innocence and come face-to-face with the cold truth. And when he’s put in the crosshairs of a killer, only C. J. Floyd can help him.
 
 Bestselling author Robert Greer has been hailed as a “taut, powerful writer” (The Plain Dealer). Fans of hardboiled detective stories or the novels of Walter Mosley will enjoy his suspenseful, edgy, “winning series” featuring a tough African American sleuth in the modern-day West (Library Journal).
 
Blackbird, Farewell is the 7th book in the C. J. Floyd Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504043199
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
Publication date: 02/07/2017
Series: CJ Floyd Series , #7
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 343
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Robert Greer, a native of Columbus, Ohio, spent his formative years in the steel-mill town of Gary, Indiana. He graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree and subsequently earned degrees in dentistry, medicine, and pathology from Howard University and Boston University, as well as a master’s degree in creative writing, also from Boston University. He is a professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In addition to authoring the C. J. Floyd Mysteries, Greer founded the High Plains Literary Review, where he serves as editor in chief, and has written medical texts and scientific articles. A longtime resident of Denver, he reviews books for a Denver NPR affiliate and raises cattle on a ranch in Wyoming.
 

Read an Excerpt

Blackbird, Farewell

A C. J. Floyd Mystery


By Robert Greer

MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.

Copyright © 2008 Robert Greer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-4319-9


CHAPTER 1

The $4 million Nike athletic-shoe contract in Shandell Bird's shirt pocket wasn't about to solve his problem — couldn't even put a dent in it — and neither would the $3.2 million he expected to start drawing in October, once the NBA season started. All that money, more money than he suspected any human being was worth, would only add to his problem. Somehow, deep down, he'd always known that.

Months removed from being one of the nation's elite college basketball players, he was now a big-money pro and celebrity, and there seemed to be no way to step away from the limelight. In a sense, he was fortunate that he had to worry about only $7 million and change, not three or four times that, like an NFL draftee. In the NFL the sky was the limit, and salaries weren't limited as they were in the NBA by a rookie scale that was pegged to where a player had been picked in the draft. Although the money tied to his contract wouldn't begin to roll in until he arrived at training camp in October, six and a half weeks down the road, he knew there was no way he'd be trouble free by then. Training camp would only serve to magnify his problems.

Amid NBA draft-day pomp and circumstance, the Denver Nuggets had made him the second overall pick in the draft, assuring him that once the ink was dry on his rookie-year contract, which he'd signed only weeks earlier, the dream he'd been chasing since fourth grade would be his.

Jittery and sweating, "Blackbird," as he was known throughout the sports world, found himself thinking, Money don't buy you love, as he uncoiled his six-foot-eight-inch, 250-pound frame from behind the steering wheel of the $93,000 Range Rover he'd bought just days earlier. He was about to make the bank deposit of a lifetime.

The shoe-contract money in his pocket, small potatoes in the professional athlete endorsement game, which he'd requested (much to the chagrin of his agent) be issued as a cashier's check rather than by wire transfer so it could be photocopied and savored for posterity, hadn't yet arrived when he'd bought the Range Rover. But no one at the dealership where he'd purchased the car — not the salesman, the manager, nor the head of the financial department — had batted an eye at letting him walk out the door a few minutes before closing time into gathering darkness and drive off in the options-loaded SUV. He'd bought the car on the strength of a handshake and the single word "Blackbird" scrawled near the bottom of a hastily drawn-up contract.

For years he'd wanted a white Range Rover, had even salivated at the idea, but his girlfriend, Connie Eastland, had insisted he'd look better in black. "Fits your image better," she'd claimed. "Gets to the heart of who you are on the court." Armed with Connie's advice and the endorsement of his best friend since grade school and his former Colorado State University teammate, Damion Madrid, he'd left the dealership in an ebony metallic Range Rover that screamed to the world, Blackbird here! I'm soaring!

Nike was already well on its corporate way to selling the public the branding package it had developed for him. The image of a soaring raven was emblazoned high on the outside ankle wall of every one of the $180 pairs of sneakers it sold under his name. He was "Blackbird" now, the corporate suits he lunched with never missed reminding him. He was no longer, nor could he ever return to being, the lanky, introverted black kid from Denver's Five Points neighborhood. It was time for him to play the part, shoulder his share of the load, and walk the walk he'd been paid $7.2 million for. He was destined to become a household name, an eye-level product on Nike and the NBA's supermarket shelf. He was an energy drink in the offing, a high-end vehicle endorsement — hell, he'd even heard some of the suits whisper that his name could one day be as recognizable as the Coca-Cola brand.

The Nike suits and their NBA counterparts also seemed to enjoy reminding him, and never in a whisper, that they expected him to stay in character at all times. His image, and by inference theirs, would be reflected to the world by his behavior, he'd been told over and over at his Nuggets and his endorsement contract signings. With his head bent low over the signature pages as Julie Madrid, his attorney and Damion Madrid's mother, and his own mother, Aretha, looked on, he'd never looked up at those signings, thinking that he was selling a piece of his soul. Only Damion, who'd watched from across the room, recognized that what most people would have perceived as a festive occasion was causing Shandell pain.

Stretching and glancing skyward before walking away from the Range Rover, Shandell moved quickly across the always crowded parking lot of the Guaranty Bank in Denver's trendy Cherry Creek shopping district.

"Got Blackbird in the house," the guard sitting inside at one side of the revolving door called across the lobby to a line of four instantly attentive tellers as Shandell strolled in.

Shandell nodded at the moonlighting Denver cop, smiled, and tapped his left fist against the bank guard's. "Ready for training camp?" the cop asked excitedly.

"Yeah," Shandell responded, heading for the nearest teller.

"Well, give 'em what for. Time to let folks on the coasts know we play basketball out here in the Rockies too."

"Sure will." Shandell stepped up to the closest teller and smiled. "Need to deposit this." He nudged the deposit slip and check across a marble countertop. The thin-faced teller, a dark-haired woman who'd emigrated from Russia five years earlier, eyed Shandell, a bank regular, and smiled back. She'd always liked the aloof African American giant with the shaved head, Dumbo ears, and fuzzy growth of mustache that never seemed to fully take hold. He was always polite in a refreshingly un-American way. He also seemed always frustrated, even sad, as if he were chasing something he couldn't quite catch, whenever he visited her window. As Shandell leaned down to meet her gaze, she suddenly had the distinct feeling that he was about to confide in her. When, however, he remained silent, she checked the endorsement on the back of the check and, unfazed by the amount, logged in the deposit.

"Thank you," she said softly, handing Shandell a receipt. Watching Shandell stuff the receipt into his shirt pocket, she asked sheepishly, "How long before your basketball games start?"

"A couple of months." His response was mechanical.

"You'll do good," the teller said reassuringly as Shandell flashed her a parting smile and pivoted to leave. On his way out, he gave the bank guard a halfhearted high five before stepping out into the bright noonday sun. It was a picture-postcard Mile High City late-summer day, but the undeniable crispness in the air announced that autumn, always a time of renewal for Shandell, and his favorite time of the year, was on the way. For him, fall had always meant a return to school and friends after a summer filled with loneliness, save for his friendship with Damion Madrid and his recent romance with Connie Eastland.

Now, instead of returning to the security of high school or a college campus, he was headed for a grueling job that started in October and, depending on how the Nuggets' season fared, might not end until the NBA playoffs the following June. A job in which his every action would be scrutinized and his deepest thoughts dissected. He would be talked about and written about, idolized and put down, and regardless of what he'd told Nike and the Nuggets, he wasn't at all certain how he'd react to that kind of scrutiny. All he could do, as his mother so often put it, was go with the flow. He'd spent most of his twenty-two years climbing a mountain that would have been insurmountable for most human beings, and now that he was at the top, he wasn't sure he wanted to be in a place where the whole world could see him, and only him.

As he slipped into the Range Rover to head home, he had the feeling that Damion, who'd passed on the NBA to head for medical school and a life away from the limelight, might have chosen the better path. Without Damion there to offer him guidance, he knew that for the first time in a very long while, he'd pretty much be on his own.

Moments after he started the engine, his cell phone chirped out its Connie Eastland-programmed aviary ring tone. "Bird here," he said, responding quickly.

The person on the other end of the line chuckled. "See you're at the bank. Puttin' in or takin' out?"

"Who's this?"

"You know who it is, Blackbird. Your guardian angel — and we need to talk."

Shandell opened his door, stepped out of the vehicle, and looked around only to hear the person he was talking to laugh. "Too late for looking, friend. You should've done that long ago." Still chuckling, the caller added in the singsong voice of a tattletale child, "I know something you don't know. So when do we talk, Mr. Number-Two Draft Choice?"

With his cell phone pressed to his ear as he continued to scan the parking lot's perimeter, Shandell weakly asked, "This evening?"

"What time?"

"Seven." Shandell's response was a nervous half-whisper.

"Where?"

"The Glendale courts," Shandell said without hesitation. "Across from the post office."

"I know where they are, friend. Seven o'clock, then. See you there."

The line went dead as Shandell stared into the distance, looking flustered. Several heart-pounding moments later, he sighed, gritted his teeth, and slipped back into his vehicle. Almost as an afterthought, he plucked the bank-deposit slip out of his shirt pocket and eyed it briefly before wadding it into a ball and tossing it onto the floor. Backing out of his parking space, he drove out of the parking lot, slipped his cell phone's earpiece into his ear, and hastily dialed a number. When the person on the other end answered, sounding groggy and half asleep, Shandell said, "It's showtime. Seven o'clock. The Glendale courts. Don't be late." He hung up and sped east on First Avenue, his back to the snow-capped Rockies.

CHAPTER 2

Rosie's Garage, a legendary Denver landmark, had been located at the corner of Twenty-sixth and Welton Streets in Denver's historically black Five Points community since 1972. Roosevelt Weeks and his wife, Etta Lee, had started their gas station and automotive repair business three months after Roosevelt, known simply as Rosie to his friends, had finished his training at the Denver Diesel Mechanics School. At the time, there was nothing on the premises but two aging Conoco gas pumps, an unpaved gravel drive, and a lean-to service hut for oil changes and lubes. A few locals maintained that the business had succeeded on the strength of Etta Lee's brains and Roosevelt's back, and when you came right down to it, there was more than a little truth to that statement. But no one, especially Rosie and Etta Lee, was keeping score, and over the years Rosie's Garage had grown from a run-down eyesore into a substantial enterprise. The now spotless concrete drives sported three service islands with six tall, stately looking 1940s-vintage Conoco pumps identical to those that had come with the place when Rosie and Etta Lee had originally signed on. The original lean-to hut with its grease-monkey pit had been replaced by a modern garage with three service bays, a gymnasium-sized storage facility, and a small business office. Whenever Denver politicians wanted to catalog the black community's business successes, they never failed to single out Rosie's Garage.

Every pump at Rosie's featured full attendant service from a bygone era. At Rosie's uniformed local high school students or college kids from the University of Colorado at Denver or Metro State still cleaned your windshield, checked the oil, and made sure the pressure in your tires was even all the way around. If they didn't, they knew they'd have Rosie or Etta Lee to contend with, and although Rosie, six-foot-four with no appreciable neck and massive shoulders that made him appear as if he was always wearing football pads, was generally even-tempered and slow to anger, he could intimidate almost anyone if crossed.

During Rosie's ownership, the garage had become more than a tourist attraction and community gathering place. Its back storage room, known throughout much of Denver simply as "the den," was a place for locals to not only hang out and shoot the breeze but gamble, play the numbers, and buy liquor on Sundays, a transaction that was still against Colorado law. Rosie didn't mind folks hanging out, since they accounted for a large amount of his business, but if he caught anyone cursing in front of a female customer, or if a poker game turned sour and ended in a fight, he'd send them all packing, often with a lot more than a simple nudge. Although local politicians, prosecutors, and cops knew what went on in Rosie's back room, it rarely got a mention at the precinct station, in the newspapers, or at City Hall, largely because Etta Lee knew the right palms to grease — and as she'd once commented boldly during a radio interview, "White folks ain't interested in black-on-black crime."

The morning had been slow, and Rosie had his head under the hood of a Jeep Cherokee in the first bay, socket wrench in hand, doing what he did best, as the SUV's owner, Damion Madrid, looked on. Looking perturbed, Rosie stepped back from the vehicle he'd kept in running condition during Damion's college years at CSU, set the wrench on a shop table, shook his head, and said, "If you're gonna keep this struggle buggy runnin' another four years, Damion, you're gonna have to treat it with a little more tender lovin' care. Hell, you coulda been drivin' yourself a brand-new Range Rover like Shandell's, ya know."

"Don't start, Rosie," Damion said, sounding irritated. "I hear enough about my stupidity from strangers. No need hearing it from family." Although Rosie and Damion weren't related by blood, they were indeed family, united by their common bond to CJ Floyd, Rosie's lifelong friend, and Damion's mother, who'd once been CJ's secretary. Julie Madrid had spent three years working her way through law school at night while working days on Denver's famed Bail Bondsman's Row as CJ's secretary. Now she was a successful criminal defense attorney and in large measure the person who kept Rosie, and more importantly the den, out of the newspapers and the limelight.

"I ain't startin' nothin', Damion. Just reflectin' on the truth. Hell, the Trailblazers were ready to snatch you up like a hot biscuit right after Blackbird if you'da decided to go on playin' basketball instead of wantin' to become a doctor. Their GM said so."

"I know, Rosie. I know." Damion sounded exasperated. He'd heard the same comments scores of times. He'd heard the Five Points trash talk — the claim that he didn't have a champion's heart — and he'd put up with the criticism of people he respected, people he'd known and looked up to all his life, as they were quick to remind him in supermarkets and 7-11s that he was crazy to pass up a sure $3 million for an MD.

"People gotta do what's best for 'em, I guess," Rosie grumbled as he grabbed one of the six quarts of oil he'd lined up on a workbench earlier. "Shit, CJ and Mavis just proved that," he added with a smile. "The two of 'em smokin' outta here for Hawaii and gettin' hitched without so much as a peep to none of us. You can't top that."

"Have you heard from them?" Damion asked, hoping to steer the conversation in a new direction. Hours earlier, just like Rosie, he had learned that CJ and Mavis Sundee, the soft spot of feminine sweetness in CJ's otherwise hard-edged life, had run off to the Big Island of Hawaii and gotten married, and he too was sorry he'd missed the chance to celebrate with them.

"Nothin' but a phone call from CJ yesterday sayin' they were married and they'd be gone for the next few days. You know, Etta Lee's really pissed." Rosie broke into a toothy grin. "The woman's been lookin' forward to bein' maid of honor in that weddin' for years."

Sympathetic to Etta Lee's disappointment, Damion nonetheless found himself thinking, Good for them. He was thrilled that CJ, after two tours of Vietnam and more than a three-decade career as a bondsman and bounty hunter, and the woman who'd stood by him all that time had tied the knot — happy that they'd finally made their vows before some disgruntled bond skipper or deranged cokehead ended up taking CJ out for good.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer. Copyright © 2008 Robert Greer. Excerpted by permission of MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Blackbird, Farewell (CJ Floyd Series #7) 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TimV57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first CJ Floyd mystery I've read, and CJ himself appears only for the last few pages, although his shadow looms large throughout the book. The main plot line concerns the assassinations of the number one draft pick in the NBA, a Pulitzer winning journalist- and shortly thereafter, the draft pick's father. Numerous people close to the deceased conduct investigations, including his best friend and college teammate, Damion Madrid.Let me start with the good points- this book kept my interest through out, and I did wonder what the resolution would be throughout. Some of the characters were pretty interesting and the dialogue was decent throughout. Greer does a nice job of painting a portrait of the black neighborhoods and people of DenverBut for the good aspects of this book, there were also many disappointments. The plot gets a little needlessly complicated at points, likely to send the reader off the trail of who the murderer might be, but it winds up becoming a little distracting and unbelievable. There's an awful lot of poking around by amateurs- yet they always seem to get answers from folks who are in way too deep, with very few of them telling the would-be gumshoes "talk to my lawyer" or "I don't have to answer you". The character of Flora Jean Benson is well developed (ahem), but I couldn't help but visualize Jackie Brown-era Pam Grier throughout- perhaps that's what author Robert Greer had in mind, but I found it a little distracting. And as much as I tried to suspend my disbelief, as an NCAA basketball fan, I had a hard time not chuckling when they mentioned Colorado State in the NCAA finals.In all, a mixed-bag, one I would recommend only to true fans of this genre. I do plan on seeking out a CJ Floyd book that actually includes CJ Floyd to see if that would make a difference in the end result.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Blackbird, Farewell is the seventh and latest in the series of CJ Floyd novels. CJ is only a minor character in this story, however. Shandell ¿BlackBird¿ Bird is a talented basketball player who's recently been drafted into the NBA. When he is found murdered, his best friend Damion vows to track down his killer, even though it means digging deep into Shandell's private life. It is painful for Damion to discover that his best friend was not who he pretended to be.This book was an easy read that has the potential to be a movie. It has a bit of everything ¿ action, suspense, violence, romance, and a screenplay-like epilogue. This is my first CJ Floyd novel, so I was at a disadvantage because I did not know the regular characters, but I was still able to follow the plot. Normally I prefer cozy mysteries, and this is not a cozy. There is some profanity and violence, and a sex scene which were a little graphic for my tastes, but it would be mild to most readers. I was easily able to skim over any parts that bothered me and continue with the plot. So this book would appeal to a wide audience. I would recommend this book to modern day mystery fans ¿ and also basketball fans. Greer does a good job of portraying the dark side of professional sports while weaving his mystery.
enance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Former basketball All-American and NBA draft pick Shandell "Blackbird" Bird, who seems oddly unhappy with his eminent NBA stardom, and pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Grimes are murdered during a secret, late night meeting. Shandell's best friend and former teammate Damion Madrid, friend of bail bondsman CJ Floyd, vows to find his killer. Damion will need all of the help he can get to survive discovering all of Blackbird's secrets amidst a sea of unsavory suspects.Blackbird, Farewell has good twists and turns, and is an entertaining read. Like many sequels, the character development may seem a bit abbreviated to readers like me who have not read the other books in the series. Some of the details about high level college sports did not quite ring true, but this did not influence the major plot points or the book's ability to move along at a good clip. All in all, a three pointer if not a slam dunk.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Greer, Robert. Blackbird, Farewell. Berkley: Frog Books, 2008.I took a chance requesting Blackbird, Farewell for the Early Review program. For one thing, I don't know that much about basketball (the little I do know I learned this season from watching the Celtics win the championship this year). For another, I have never read a CJ Floyd novel. I didn't want to make comparisons or see how it stacked up against to other CJ Floyd books. None of that really mattered when I got down to the serious reading.Blackbird, Farewell starts out a little rough. It begins with Shandell "Blackbird" Bird going to make a deposit at a bank. Within 27 pages he is dead. Leading up to his murder Bird is described as "having a problem", jittery, frustrated, sad, mechanical, dismissive and blank. It seems excessive considering the reader already knows he is to die. The cliches did little to pique my interest as to what was really wrong with Bird or care when he was killed.When Bird's best friend and college teammate, Damion "Blood" Madrid decides he needs to solve the murder the plot of Blackbird, Farewell picks up. Madrid is the godson of famed CJ Floyd, a Denver, Colorado bail bondsman. While rough around the edges Madrid does a good job tracking down key players in the mystery. Of course he has his beautiful girlfriend, Niki, for a sidekick as well as the mafia, a hitman, and a Persian Gulf war vet (flora Jean Benson, CJ's partner). Blackbird has enough drama (violence & sex) to make it interesting but not overly stereotypical of murder mysteries. The streets of Denver, as well as surrounding towns of Fort Collins and Boulder serve as an accurate and appealing backdrop for Greer's mystery to play itself out.Final thought: If Greer is trying to sell Blackbird, Farewell on the popularity of other CJ Floyd mysteries he shouldn't. CJ Floyd doesn't even enter the picture until the final 20 pages of the book. It is misleading to lure readers in by saying CJ Floyd is there to watch Madrid's back (back cover) when he isn't even in the book until the very end. Floyd fans are sure to be disappointed. Blackbird, Farewell stands alone a fun read apart from the CJ Floyd series.
freemiki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick and mostly enjoyable read. Decent characterization made up for the occasionally clunky prose, but nothing on this earth could make up for the lame exposition. I realize it's hard to get new readers of an ongoing series up to speed - but seriously - this was painful. I did really like the fact that women were so important to the story and they were all distinct from each other. Oh yeah - if i ever have the misfortune to tangle with criminals, i really, really hope they are as moronic as the ones in this book. Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to read more of the author's work - but I don't think I'll reread this one.
Jax450 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't previously read the earlier books in the CJ Floyd series. In this new installment, CJ Floyd very briefly appears...most of the legwork is completed by his Godson Damion Madrid.The story flows fairly well but there are some parts that could be cut and keep the story intact (note that I was reading an uncorrected gallery copy so this may be different now. Also, some of the comments made in the book about certain characters seemed gratuitous and didn't really add anything to the character development.The ending of the story...the reveal of the murderer was satsifying but there were many other parts that felt unfinished. There were only a few sentences exploring Shandell's secrecy which seemed to be the core of the story. I would have liked to have seen this flushed out a bit more...maybe some flashbacks to Shandell.A decent read for a rainy day.
drsyko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shandell Bird is a star basketball player who is about to start his NBA career. One night he goes to meet a reporter who knows his secrets, and they are both murdered. His best friend, Damian Madrid, cannot let this murder lie and he vows to find the killer. He begins to investigate, and uncovers a lot of information that causes him to realize that he didn't know his best friend as well as he thought. Ultimately, of course, along with help from some friends, he uncovers all his friend's secrets and unmasks the murderer. The story takes place in Denver and Greer obvioulsy knows the geography well. He also seems to know the world of high stakes college hoops and all the things that go on in the shadowy background, including doping, point shaving, illegal gambling, etc. Dr. Greer integrates the elements of the city, basketball and Black culture seamlessly into this tale. The story is engrossing enough that I kept reading past my bedtime to finish it. There are some great moments and exciting action sequences that really grab your attention. But it's also got some problems.The pace is choppy, and really bogs down into too much detail at times. There are so many characters, some of whom have very similar names, that it was hard to keep everyone straight. The dialogue is at times stilted and seems a bit stereotypical--everyone talks like a stock character out of a movie and acts exactly as you would expect them too. The hoods talk like hoods out of a video game, the good guys are always honorable, etc. None of these people is particularly interesting or three dimensional in the end. And the supposed plot twist-- where we find out the real secret about Shandell, is disappointing and stereotypical. This is a good, but not great book. Even with it's problems, I did enjoy it.
alans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Blackbird Farewell" is part of a series of novels that involve a bounty hunter by the name of CJ Floyd. All of these novelstake place amidst the African-American community ofDenver, Colorado. In this particular novel, CJ is absent for most of the novel as he is off on his honeymoon. The novel concerns a soon to be major league basketball player by the name of Shandell "Blackbird" Bird. Having received his first contract with an NBA teamand a major sponsorship, Blackbird is set to live a verycharmed life, having been raised by a single motherin dire poverty. Early on in the novel Blackbird is murdered while meeting with an investigative reporter. The rest ofthe novel concerns the actions of his best friend, also a star basketball player by the name of Damion Madridwho attempts to solve the mystery of who murdered his best friend. Damion grew up in the same environment as Blackbird but instead of pursuing a career as a professional basketball player he has decided to attend medical school in the coming month.There are numerous suspects as to who performed the murder in this book (and a third murder is added as thestory unfolds).Most of the suspects are mob types withnames that became so similar to me that I was confused as the reader to try and figure out who was who.Throughthe course of the story, there is the growing suspicion thatBlackbird wasn't as virtuous a player as his family andfans thought he was. Much of the novel takes place wherepeople discuss the possiblity of Blackbird 'fixing' his lastgames. For me there was far too much discussion of this arising. I also found the novel too long.To whom do I think this novel would appeal? It was interesting to read a mystery that had characters from theAfrican-American community because this is something I haven't encountered before. Also if you are a sports fan,and more specifically a fan of professional and collegebasketball, this novel will probably have a great appeal.Overall I found the book to be too long. Perhaps a shortervisit with these characters would have made it a moreenjoyable stay for me. There are as of the publication of this novel, six in the series. I don't plan to spend anymore time with this series as it had little appeal to me.
Melsar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very ambivalent about this book when I picked it up. I was excited to possible discover a new mystery author, but disappointed that the focus was probably going to be about sports given the basketball player on the cover. I got to be wrong on both counts. I enjoyed Greer¿s style of writing and the characters pulled me in quickly. Basketball was almost a minor detail, but the characters it brought in made for a great diversion. The mystery develops well, but I was ultimately disappointed with an almost contrived ending. Except for the unbelievable fact that he passed on the NBA I enjoyed the character of Damion Madrid and having never read Greer before I didn¿t miss the usual hero, CJ Floyd. The sidekick character of Flora Jean seemed a little too stereotypical bad-ass and actually started to get on my nerves. I can¿t rule out picking up another CJ Floyd mystery some day, but I wasn¿t inspired to run out and read them either.
heatherw7373 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has taken time for me to enjoy this book, potentially, because I am not interested in basketball in the slightest. Or maybe it is because the author spells out the detail about each character early in meeting them. The character's personalities and foibles are not unfolding or revealing; they are just outright expressed. A few twists and turns which keeps it interesting. Not really my gig, although not a waste of time. Sorry I am not more appreciative.
etrainer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book. Although the plot device was good enough to drive a well written mystery (see the other reviews here), there was nothing else in the book interesting enough for me to enjoy the story. Essentially all the characters were stereotypes. I thought the dialog was forced and cliched. Very little of the action seemed believable to me - not that unbelievable can't be good if skillfully done. This one just seemed amateurish. I would not recommend Blackbird, Farewell.
satchmo77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Robert Greer, and probably the last.The story is about a basketball player who is murdered along with a reporter. As a mystery it is run-of -the-mill. The author seems to delight in making all of the characters unlikeable. The farther I read, I began to hope the killer would take a few of the main characters out. I had hoped to find a new series that I could read, but this isn't the one.
franoscar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an "early review" book, as, I'm sure, did everybody else who has already posted a review of it. That is a lot of attention for a poorly plotted, poorly written book.Please don't read the rest of this review if you haven't read the book & hope to read it without any idea of the plot & characters.Blackbird, farewell is the latest volume in a series featuring a set of characters. I think it takes a writer better than almost all writers to maintain characters over many volumes & many plots. I haven't read the other books in this series & I know it is possible that some of them are better than this one, and that particularly the first 1 or 2 might have had some freshness.But these are stock characters who the author knows too well & has developed his own cliches for describing. I found the interrelationships both formulaic and unbelievable. Why would these basically decent people be relying on the protection of a mobster & a hit man. Hit men murder people. But every hero now has his or her tame "connected" shady connection to move the plot forward.Etc. The plot made no sense to me. I envisioned a "ripped from the headlines" flag, like they use for Law & Order. It wasn't believable and the motivations were weak or incomprehensible. And I know you have to make a plot that fills up a whole book, but there were a few too many "regular" folks ready to take part in or countenance really evil stuff.I know it is hard to craft sentences and make a book. The writing is very pedestrian. The style reminded me of Walter Mosley & reminded me how much I think the latest Easy Rawlins books have fallen off in quality. The writing plodded along, with lots of description tucked into conversations.I gave this book 1.5 starts because I didn't hate it the way that I hate some books but I do not think it is worth anybody's time.I enjoyed being an early reviewer.
Dutchfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the seventh book in the CJ Floyd series, although CJ does not have a big role in this book. Instead this book is centered around his friends and "family", mainly his Godson Damion Madrid. Damion, with the help of others including CJ, is trying to find the reasons and culprits of his best friends murder.All in all this was a decent book, and I will search out some of the earlier books in this series.
jeffg2000 More than 1 year ago
Could not get through this for many reasons, I thought my interest would be higher, living in the Denver area.
Buy a differant book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Denver based bail bondsman CJ Floyd is in Hawaii on his honeymoon when he learns that Shandell Bird, the friend of his godson reporter Damion Madrid, was shot and killed at center court. The two friends had led Colorado State University's basketball team to the NCAA basketball championship game losing to UCLA. Bird was the NBA¿s second overall draftee.-------------- With a desperate need to know why especially when rumors sprout that the late superstar tanked the UCLA game and the murder was obviously a professional hit, Madrid begins to investigate after receiving the investigator¿s point spread from CJ's partner Flora Jean Benson. From the islands CJ also arranges special protection of Damion by some cronies. Another former teammate insists Bird was dealing in their Five Points neighborhood, which seems illogical to Madrid as Shandell was worth millions once he went NBA. However, as he begins to uncover a side of his friend he never knew especially the roles of the superstar¿s retinue Madrid begins to learn the full truth including the secret that Bird tried to hide from everyone even in death.---------------- Whereas CJ takes a breather (see THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION), Madrid cuts his teeth on an investigation that at times is amateur sleuth because he fumbles and bumbles his way until he realizes what Benson warned of this is no game with preset rules as his adversaries will make them as needed including killing nosy former teammates. The story line is driven by Madrid¿s obsessive need to know but along the way his naive innocence turns to hardball reality that in the game of life, your teammates better not be shaving the score.------------ Harriet Klausner