St. Martin's, Nov 2001, 23.95, 288 pp.
To get closer to his family, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Detective Barrett “Bear” Raines transfers to Lafayette County. Influential tycoon Linton Lloyd wants Bear to run for country sheriff against his enemy, the incumbent Lou Sessions. Several years ago, Linton's son Gary impregnated Lou's daughter but did nothing except abandon the lass.
Bear wants to do it because a victory allows him even more time with his family. Though he has doubts that an African-American can win here, Linton persuades him to try. However, a brutal murder with evidence pointing towards Gary leaves the investigating Bear with quite a conflict of interest that could violate state ethics laws if he is not careful.
STRAWMAN'S HAMMOCK is a powerful police procedural that augments the investigation with the political side of law enforcement. The story line is filled with action that never lets up until the case is solved. Bear is a great character whose morality keeps him trying to do the right thing while his wife enhances the reader's understanding of his complex character. Darryl Wimberly has written a strong tale that sub-genre fans will appreciate.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner