Ex-Vietnam gunner C. J. Floyd discovers his knack for detection when he traces a Denver flea-market treasure back to the murder of a World War II veteran.
After leaving Vietnam as a decorated gunner, Calvin Jefferson “C. J” Floyd returned to the Victorian home on Denver’s famed Bail Bondsman’s Row where he’d been raised by his uncle. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he found a fast friend and kindred soul in Wiley Ames, a resilient World War II vet, former Skid Row derelict, and manager of a pawnshop in the city’s Five Points neighborhood.
But Wiley and C. J. shared more than the scars of war: They both had an appreciation for rare memorabilia, and Wiley came across a lot of it at his shop in downtown Denver. So when Wiley is gunned down in an alley, C. J.’s already fragile world threatens to collapse. But with no leads and the sad case gone cold, C. J. forges ahead in a new direction as a bail bondsman and bounty hunter in his uncle’s business.
Five years later, C. J. finds himself reopening his investigation of Wiley’s death when he comes across one of his old friend’s prized possessions at a flea market. It’s just one clue, but it’s enough to send C. J. off and running to make good on his promise to find the killer—and finally confront the ghosts of his own past.
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 series featuring a tough African American sleuth in the modern-day West.
First of State is the 8th book in the C. J. Floyd Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
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.