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Astride a Pink Horse by Robert Greer

Astride a Pink Horse by Robert Greer is a thrilling ride steeped in the mystery of the west and its ties to the Cold War and nuclear missiles.  Elgin “Cozy” Coseia and Freddie Dames are college buddies who were drafted to major league baseball teams before an accident stopped Cozy’s career very short and they went into business as journalists in Denver.  A murder of a former Air Force Master Sergeant Thurmond Giles, a former nuclear-missile maintenance technician, has these boys running the bases faster than they ever did in college baseball, as they play tag with local law enforcement in Wyoming and team up with Major Bernadette Cameron of the Air Force.  The back-and-forth investigation has the journalists and Cameron working closer than her superiors want her to be, but a murder and possible national security breach are at the top of all of their agendas.

Greer intricately weaves in the story of the murder with anti-nuclear protesters from the 50s and 70s, a WWII Japanese-American internment camp survivor, and a hospital equipment transporter into the story in a way that keeps readers guessing as to how they are all connected to one another and possibly the murder.  Giles is far from well liked by anyone given his large ego and his womanizing, and navigating civilian and military investigations into not only the security breach at Tango-11 a decommissioned missile silo, but also the murder of Giles.

“‘As the pitiful-looking beast approached me, faltering with each step, I realized that it was carrying a rider who was charred almost black from head to toe.  I watched for a few moments as animal and rider, unaware of my presence, veered to my left and walked toward the river to disappear into the yellow haze.  Thoughts of my wife and children, coworkers and countrymen, worked their way through my head, but it was the image of the charbroiled rider astride a pink horse that stayed with me the rest of the day.'” (page 159 ARC)

Greer’s characters are eccentric and downright odd at times, especially WWII Japanese-American internment camp survivor Kimiko Takata who’s battling dementia and her nephew Rikia, who is paranoid that his math colleagues are eager to steal his work and ultimately the glory that he knows it will come with.  Egos are big with some of Greer’s characters, but what sets some of them apart is their purpose, like Freddy Dames’ search for the biggest story that will make his Web-based news service shine.  Cozy and Cameron are strong-willed and used to working alone, but in this case, they come to realize that standing alone all of the time can be too comfortable and lonely at the same time.

Astride a Pink Horse by Robert Greer is well crafted mystery that will leave readers guessing for most, if not all, of the book.  His characters are unique, eccentric, and witty, which helps keep the pace fast and the suspense thick.

The novel is a standalone, but Greer also has a mystery series with CJ Floyd.

About the Author:

Robert Greer is a native of Columbus, Ohio, who spent his formative years in the steel mill town of Gary, Indiana. He graduated from Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and subsequently earned degrees in dentistry, medicine and pathology from Howard University and Boston University. He is a professor of pathology, medicine, surgery, and dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center where he specializes in head and neck pathology and cancer research. He also holds a masters degree in Creative Writing from Boston University and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Miami University, his alma mater. Greer has lived in Denver for thirty years.  Visit his Website.

This is my 36th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.

Mailbox Monday #152 & Some Winners

Before I get to the mailbox, I wanted to congratulate some winners.  The winner of Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (my review) was Eva.  The winner of The September Queen by Gillian Bagwell (guest post) was Gwendolyn.  Congrats to you both.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Mailbox Monday tour blog.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  Astride a Pink Horse by Robert Greer, which came unexpectedly in the mail.

2.  The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone, which also came unexpectedly in the mail, which I gave to a friend.

3.  The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, which I picked up from the library sale and had to add to my own personal library after reading a copy from the library at Dewey’s urging.

4.  Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott, which I picked up from the library sale since I want to give her fiction a try after reading Bird by Bird.

5.  Puppy Love, a snuggle book, which I picked up at the library sale for “Wiggles.” She’ll love it because the outside of the book is fuzzy and the back has a fuzzy tail.

6.  Little Miss Giggles Has a Giggle by Roger Hargreaves, which I picked up at the library sale for “Wiggles.”

7. Natasha’s Daddy came from her visiting “auntie” who went to the library sale too.

8. Elmo’s Delicious Christmas came with the visiting “auntie” on the plane!

What did you receive?

Summer Winners…

Out of 32 entrants, the three winners of Chevy Stevens’ next book, Never Knowing, are:

Jessica of Jess Resides Here, who said, “Omg Still Missing was my fav book last year. Talk about a debut I am a fan for life now.”

Margie, who said, “Moonglass by Jessi Kirby and Hourglass by Myra McEntire have caught my eye, partly from reviews and partly from the lovely covers. I haven’t read either of them yet though.”

Uncle Sid of Dward Media, who said, “Still Missing – one of the best reads for me this past year. Looking forward to the new one.”

Out of 10 entrants, the winner of Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts is:

Taffy, who said, “I Loved the series by Pamela Aiden! Well, the 1st & 3rd books were the best.”

 

Out of 16 entrants, the winner of Vlad: The Last Confession by C.C. Humphreys is:

Mary, who said, “RASPUTIN has always fascinated me. Such a dark figure in history during a dark time in Russia.”

The winner of The Mongoose Deception by Dr. Robert Greer is LuAnn of Reading Frenzy, who said, “It’s hard to pick just one favorite mystery writer, but I’d have to say two of the ones I really enjoy are David Baldacci and Erin Healy.”

 

Out of 14 entrants, the winner of Her Sister’s Shadow by Katharine Britton is Beth Hoffman, who said, “I’ve always enjoyed stories about sisters. There are so many I’ve read, but The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice is one of my favorites.”

Robert Greer, an Unlikely Novelist & Giveaway

Popular mystery and thriller novels are written by James Patterson, David Baldacci, and others, but Dr. Robert Greer, a professor of pathology and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a cattle rancher in Wyoming, is an unlikely addition to this league.  However, he won the Colorado Book Award in Literature last year for his novel Spoon, which is different from his mystery novels in that it chronicles the ranching life of a Montana family, the Darleys.

His latest book, a stand alone thriller, Astride a Pink Horse, is set to be published in March 2012.  The novel “is an an exhilarating ride through a post-Cold War landscape of revenge, murder, and governmental conspiracy, by the author of the acclaimed CJ Floyd mystery series.”  Thanks to Caitlin at Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity for pointing out this author to me.  I’ve always had a fascination with the Cold War and how a standstill between nations could be called a war and whether an actual build up of weapons occurred or if each nation just made it seem that way.  The rise of KGB and espionage, how can you not be interested in that time period?!

Recently, Greer was interviewed by the Denver Post about his medical career and writing.  Although he is not interested in Facebook or texting, it makes sense given some of the answers he has about his writing life and how he likes his alone time.  I loved his quote about Dostoevsky, though it is spelled wrong in the interview.  You should check out his interview to see the man behind the mysteries.

Greer has a number of mystery novels with the protagonist CJ Floyd, a man who goes into his uncle’s bail bondsman business.  Booklist’s Wes Lukowsky says, “CJ Floyd is one of crime fiction’s hidden gems, and this is a satisfying entry in a rewarding, underappreciated series.”  One of the later books in the series, The Mongoose Deception (published in 2007), intrigues me because of its look at the JFK assassination and the conspiracy theorist in me has always been curious about the plot behind the murder of a beloved president.

Here’s some praise for the novel:

A Rocky Mountain News Bestseller

A Denver Post Bestseller

Seattle Mystery Bookshop Bestseller

Featured on NPR’s “NEWS & NOTES”

“Expertly crafted.”—The Denver Post

“African American investigator and bail bondsman C.J. Floyd (The Fourth Perspective) and his cohorts get caught up in a series of murders that may be linked to the assassination of John F. Kennedy…Greer gives the JFK killing a newish spin in a riveting story…”—Library Journal

“Greer is a confident and generous storyteller.”—Kirkus Reviews

Dr. Robert Greer, physician, author, rancher, at La Cueva in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson | The Denver Post)

About the Author:

Robert Greer is the author of the CJ Floyd mystery series, The Devil’s Hatband, The Devil’s Red Nickel, The Devil’s Backbone, Resurrecting Langston Blue, The Fourth Perspective, The Mongoose Deception, Blackbird, Farewell, and the prequel, First of State. In addition, he is the author of a collection of short stories, Isolation and Other Stories and two medical thrillers, Limited Time and Heat Shock, and the novel, SPOON, which among other honors won The Colorado Book Award in Literature in 2010. His short stories have appeared in numerous national literary magazines and two short story anthologies showcasing western fiction. He founded the High Plains Literary Review and reviews books for Denver National Public Radio affiliate, KUVO. Dr. Greer is also a professor of pathology and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and owns a working cattle ranch in Wyoming. His next book, a stand-alone thriller called Astride a Pink Horse, is due out in March 2010 from North Atlantic Books. Check out his website.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a great giveaway for you U.S. mystery readers.  Sorry international readers, this is a sponsored giveaway and I won’t be mailing out the book.

For a chance to win The Mongoose Deception, leave a comment about what under-the-radar mystery novelist you enjoy most.   Deadline to enter is July 5, 2011, at 11:59PM EST.