Clark’s Eye on Books: First of State

Time warps in science fiction writing have brought us “Back to the Future” and its sequels, but rarely do we have a time warp in the form of a prequel of a mystery written by an award-winning author like Robert Greer in “First of State.”

This fast-moving story begins with the career of C J Floyd when he returned from Vietnam and tells of his liaison development during his formative years as a bail bondsman and detective.

When you read his early works there seemed to be a void in character development, but that did not detract from the action or involvement of the reader. Swiftly, readers became enmeshed in the characters as they appeared and when the story unfolded it was easy to grasp what this talented author was conveying.

“First of State” is clearly the tying together of all relationships C J had during the five year span this story covers. Knotted together with a firmly tied list of players we watch as he unravels them one-by-one as Floyd picks his way through leads in an attempt to find the killer of a man who he met when he first returned from the war. Covering this five year period from when C J came back after serving two years in ‘Nam, Wiley Ames, a recent acquaintance was shot. Additionally, a Chinese man was also shot dead in cold blood at the same time. At the time of these, murders the police investigated, but were unable to adequately solve the deaths to the satisfaction of Floyd. The case remained open and he was always nagged by the prospect of finding resolution in bringing the perpetrator to justice.

During the ensuing years Floyd, was mentored by his Uncle Ike in the learning of the bail bonding business. Also, he came upon the realization he was a crackerjack detective. Uncle Ike was ailing through most of the story and could not assist him in the sleuth pursuits, but he called upon his boyhood chums who readily backed him up, even though they engaged in other pursuits for their livelihoods.

Readers are introduced to the intriguing world of antique collecting through the passionate appreciation of certain rare license plates which Floyd collects. He is an eclectic who gathers many objects and holds them for possible financial rewards. However, he is a real collector in the true sense of the word. He is an expert when it comes to the years, types, conditions, and Greer conveys this information throughout the book. The story revolves around Floyd’s quest to find extremely hard to find license plates in mint condition and at the same time attempts to solve several murders.

This book is due out in the fall of 2010. A must read for the person who enjoys a good mystery or a great gift for the holiday season for the reader who likes a stylish ‘Who Done It.’

First of State

A prequel to the CJ Floyd mystery series

Author: Robert Greer

ISBN: 1556439156, Pages: 400,$27.95, Publication Date: October 19, 2010, Hardcover, Mystery, Published by: North Atlantic Books