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The blackbird papers
Ian Smith
Adult Fiction SMITH

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From Publishers' Weekly:

NBC News medical correspondent and nonfiction author Smith (Dr. Ian Smith's Guide to Medical Websites, etc.) leaps headfirst into the thriller pool and comes up flailing with this mediocre tale of a renegade African-American FBI agent, Sterling Bledsoe, and his investigation into his estranged brother's apparently race-motivated murder. Dartmouth College professor Wilson Bledsoe is driving home from a party celebrating his recent winning of the Devonshire Award, the most lucrative prize in science, when he stops to help two rednecks having truck problems. Soon enough, he's dead. Cut to his brother Sterling, who's awakened, along with girlfriend Veronica ("She was gorgeous, like all his women"), by a phone call from the Hanover, N.H., police department. Even though Sterling hated his brother, he hops a plane and races to the scene in a rented sports car. Once there, he wows the local cops with his big city, FBI sleuthing techniques. Smith's attempts at stylish writing are painfully misguided: "Sterling stretched his eyes across the valley," and his characters tend to scream, groan, sob, growl and shriek. Sterling's not only smart and tough, he's sensitive, as evidenced by all the weeping he does: "Sterling Bledsoe didn't just tear up, he cried. Big sloppy tears." The mystery hinges on Wilson's recent discovery of hundreds of dead blackbirds and the method of their mass demise. The eventual denouement is labored, and Sterling's last-minute rescue relies on a technological trick that has become a clich? in the thriller field. Smith's medical background serves him well here, but he needs to familiarize himself with the genre and acquire a good editor if he expects veteran readers to take him seriously. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (June 15) Forecast: Smith's celebrity status and a strong publisher push will give the book a good start, but look for a weak finish, as readers are unlikely to follow up with positive word-of-mouth. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A black professor's murder may or may not be racially motivated. NBC medical correspondent Smith writes his first novel. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Sterling Bledsoe
African American
Looking into the death of his estranged elder brother, an award-winning scientist and professor at Dartmouth.
FBI agent

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