From the Publisher
"Greer gives his tale a true ring of authenticity as CJ Floyd descends into a storm of corporate greed and ecological passion in this deftly written first novel."
"The Devil's Hatband is one of the most thought-provoking debut mysteries in years."
"CJ Floyd is the archetypical, lone-wolf American private eye, smart, tough, principled, and complex in the best Philip Marlowe tradition."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Crimes against cattle and cars feature strongly in this muddled but undeniably original debut starring CJ Floyd, a black Denver bail bondsman and sometime bounty hunter. Hired by a couple of corporate troubleshooters, CJ searches for the missing daughter of a black federal judge, figuring that his clients are less interested in Brenda Mathison than in some documents they say she stole. Brenda is a leader of PlanetFirst, a gang of animal rights fanatics who've been tormenting some ranchers. The group's ranks also include two hard cases who share Brenda's bed at various times, and who have in their possession a new killer virus that could effectively wipe out the cattle population. By the time CJ arrives at Brenda's rural cabin, she's dead on the floor, wearing a barbed-wire necklace. CJ's subsequent investigation is as much a ritual of revenge as it is a battle for controlling rights to the virus. Greer packs in a few too many subplots (a slow romance with a woman at a diner; a feud with a Denver gangster), and he reiterates too often what we already know: that a black man like CJ knows justice isn't blind. But his narrative is taut and the characters-the tough CJ and others-are intriguing. Though Greer could easily have jettisoned a hundred pages and still retain a slick-functioning mystery, his first work, for all its excesses, leaves a reader hungry for more. Author tour. (Mar.)
As the lowest-ranking member of Denver's Bail Bondsman's Row, CF Floyd doesn't see much big money. But he's offered a serious bonus for retrieving Brenda Mathison and the unspecified document she's run off with from her eco-terrorist buddies of the Grand River Tribeand the pot only gets bigger when he finds her dead, and her father, a federal judge, hires him to track down her killer. The most likely suspect is Grand River guru Dennis Deere, who plans to bring the region's cattle industry to its knees with a villainous toxin likely to be as fatal to cattle hands as to their four-legged charges. But CF also has to watch out for local gang leader Raymond Hicks, a.k.a. Razor D, whom he figures has trashed CF's prize '57 Bel Air and would like to do the same to its ownerespecially after he sees that a witness to the vandalism won't have to wait around to die of some cattle toxin. Though his supporting cast is big without being distinctiveyou may have lost track of the killer by the time he's unmaskedfirst-novelist Greer shows a piercing awareness of the countless kinds of racism that keep CF permanently behind the eight ball.
Walter Mosley Lite, then, with big-sky action substituting for Mosley's sense of creeping urban nightmare.