First of State [NOOK Book]


Robert Greer’s latest novel—a prequel to his CJ Floyd mystery series—takes readers back in time to a very young CJ Floyd. It’s 1972, and the 22-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 ...
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First of State

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Robert Greer’s latest novel—a prequel to his CJ Floyd mystery series—takes readers back in time to a very young CJ Floyd. It’s 1972, and the 22-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. The trail to Wiley Ames’s murderer leads CJ down a dark path strewn with backstabbing antique dealers, conniving friends and relatives of Ames’s, and a shadowy musician. 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.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Greer's engaging eighth mystery to feature black Denver bail bondsman CJ Floyd (after 2008's Blackbird, Farewell), a prequel, reveals much that's new about CJ's background and character. Soon after returning to Denver from two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1971, 20-year-old CJ meets WWII vet Wiley Ames, who, like him, collects old license plates. When Ames is gunned down in an alley, Floyd vows to find his friend's killer. Meanwhile, Floyd's alcoholic uncle, Denver's first black bail bondsman, takes on CJ and teaches him the business. CJ never lets go of the search for Ames's murderer, and his slow, painstaking unraveling of the case over the years mirrors his growth as an investigator. As in Greer's earlier books, the black Five Points neighborhood comes vibrantly alive. This is a must-read for series fans and a great introduction for others. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This prequel to Greer's series of mysteries featuring Denver bail bondsman/detective CJ Floyd (Blackbird; Farewell) begins with his return home in 1971 after two tours in Vietnam. An avid collector of license plates and other memorabilia, Floyd meets a World War II veteran who works at a local pawn shop. When his new friend is killed in what the police call a botched robbery, Floyd decides to investigate. The story proceeds over the next five years as Floyd learns the bail bonds business from his uncle and slowly readjusts to civilian life. He continues to work on the case as well, uncovering suspects and clues with the help of his friends and advice of his uncle. VERDICT Filling his intriguing mystery with images of life in an African American neighborhood in the 1970s and details of antiquing and flea market excursions, Greer creates a richly realized setting. This should appeal to followers of the CJ Floyd series and is a good introduction to new readers. It will also attract fans of African American mysteries as well as readers looking for a good mystery with a setting just outside the ordinary.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583944059
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Series: CJ Floyd Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 396
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Robert Greer is a professor of pathology, medicine, surgery, and dentistry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, where he specializes in head and neck pathology and cancer research. He is the author of eight previous CJ Floyd mysteries.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful sense of place, time and people

    Robert Greer is the writer of the critically acclaimed C.J. Floyd mysteries, and has won many awards for his work. First of State, recently published in October 2010, is a prequel to the C.J. Floyd series, and serves as a fine introduction to an intriguing world of fascinating characters. I haven't yet read the other books, but I'll certainly look out for them.

    The book opens with C.J. Floyd's return from Vietnam. He comes back to his hometown, to the room where he grew up in his uncle's home, and to a growing depression fueled by post-traumatic stress. At twenty-two, he has no idea what he's going to do with his life, living instead a day at a time, following unfocussed impulses and treading carefully in the paths of old dreams.

    C.J. used to collect things. Specifically, he used to collect antique license plates, and that urge leads him back to the old G.I. Joe's pawn store, where he meets World War II veteran Wiley Ames. Wiley's instant recognition and friendship, coupled with wise advice, offer a ray of light. But soon the safe world of hometown peace has left two corpses lying in the street, and C.J. grapples with single-minded determination to find out what happened.

    C.J.'s uncle is the first black bail-bondsman and bounty hunter in the area-successful, wily, and wise. Soon C.J. is working for him, learning the ropes, training his investigative thoughts 'til they might be called skills, making mistakes, and getting out of scrapes. His friends help him. Strangers either hinder or help. And violence lurks still too close to the surface for comfort as his temper is tested. There's the murderer of a friend's son to be found, a cheating salesman putting pressure on another friend's father, and behind it all, as years begin to pass, there's C.J.'s longing to solve that first mystery that welcomed him home. If he could just do this, and control his temper, and improve his self-esteem, and feel like he deserved the girl of his dreams.

    Dialog and voice are pitch-perfect. The world of the 70s is evocatively drawn. Characters are filled with down-to-earth humor and kindness and common sense. And the plot twists keep C.J. and reader guessing right to the end. First of State is an intriguing character-driven mystery with a fascinating view of post-Vietnam America, curious insights on the worlds of flea-market and bail, and richly drawn settings in an African American neighborhood of 1970s Denver.

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing and Publicity LLC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Robert Greer has written a great Floyd mystery that fans will thoroughly enjoy

    In 1971 twenty-something C.J. Floyd returns home after serving two tours in Vietnam as a Navy gunner. He suffers from undiagnosed battle fatigue and has trouble readjusting to civilian life in Denver. His Uncle Ike owns a bail bondsman business, takes his nephew into his home and thinks the best thing for CJ is to go to work.

    Bounty hunter CJ goes to GI Joe's pawn shop where he had secreted antique license plates that are no longer there. He meets World War II veteran and amputee Wiley Ames who has turned his life around after bouts of alcoholism and depression. The two vets feel connected with their love of memorabilia and become friends. When Ames and his Chinese partner are gunned down in what looks like a professional hit, CJ vows to bring the culprits to justice. It takes him five years working on and off the Ames murder before he finds his first clue at the Mile High Flea market where a vendor is selling antique license plates including some from the Ames collection. Even with this lead, CJ has years of inquiries to go before he begins to focus on a culprit ready to kill him.

    First of State is a prequel to the CJ Floyd mysteries (see Blackwell Farewell) as fans see what happened to the hero that has led to what he is in the present. He works some cases as a bail bondsman bounty hunter, but also is insecure especially about relationships as he struggles to cope as a young man with what he saw and did in Nam and watching a friend murdered doing surveillance in Denver. Robert Greer has written a great Floyd mystery that fans will thoroughly enjoy.

    Harriet Klausner

    The Echo Of Violence

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