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Devil's Slew: A Barrett Raines Mystery Hardcover – March 1, 2011

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From Booklist

Barrett �Bear� Raines is a detective for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Two environmentalist volunteers discover a pair of bodies in Bear�s northwest Florida jurisdiction. A federal agent arrives in the area to investigate a counterfeit ring that may be operating nearby and to determine if there�s any connection to the two bodies. She enlists the cooperation of Bear�s team, but the operation goes terribly wrong when the agent is kidnapped and subsequently murdered. The search for the counterfeiters and the killers utilizes the entire high-tech arsenal of federal law enforcement, but in the end, it�s Bear�s boots-on-the-ground, door-knocking efforts that lead to success. This is a solid entry in an ever-improving series set in a relatively unexplored corner of Florida�s crime-fiction map. --Wes Lukowsky


"Devil's Slew marks the most welcome return of Barrett "Bear" Raines....The book moves at a brisk pace as Wimberley keeps the plot tightly focused, even as the circle of his story widens beyond Florida. A surprise ending adds to the story's punch."--Oline H. Cogdill, The Miami Herald

"Wimberley knows his weaponry, swamp terrain and small-town prejudices better than most. If hard-boiled is what you’re after, Raines qualifies as the black hero du jour."--Kirkus Reviews

"Steeped in the culture and rhythms of rural Florida, Devil's Slew sneaks up on you with a sly charm and serpentine twists. Wimberley delivers a character-rich plot thick with treachery that's all the more satisfying because of its international implications."--Ian Vasquez, Shamus Award-winning author of Mr. Hooligan

"A terrific read. In Devil's Slew, Darryl Wimberley transports us inside the ruthless world of drug lords and deadly revenge. An intense thriller, full of suspense."-- Kathryn Casey, author of Blood Lines


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312649495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312649494
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,232,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Barrett "Bear" Raines attends a little league game when duty calls. In the Devil's Slew swamp, Afghan vet Quentin Hart has taken his girlfriend prisoner. Bear and Sheriff Smoot Rawlings arrive at the scene hoping to talk down the angry former combat soldier with no body getting hurt. Instead, Quentin races out of his home holding his automatic rifle pointed at the cops. They kill him as each knows the veteran committed suicide by cop.

Bear feels depressed over the incident though he knows he and Smoot did the right thing. He investigates Quentin's last days trying to understand why he snapped. Aided by other law enforcement officials he soon uncovers a connection to vets involved in counterfeiting and money laundering. The FBI believes they kidnapped and beheaded one of their agents in New Orleans. As the evidence mounts that this is a dangerous gang based in Florida but working in Mexico and Afghanistan, someone is targeting these vets for death.

Devil's Slew is a fascinating police procedural in which the chaotic story line showcases how convoluted an investigation can become. Fast-paced from the moment Bear and Smoot arrive in the aptly named swamp and never slowing down, readers will appreciate Darryl Wimberley connecting dots between Florida, Mexico and Afghanistan in Bear's latest thriller (see Pepperfish Keys).

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
A swamp known as Devil's Slew is the center of much bloody violence in Northwestern Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. Special Agent "Bear" Raines of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is summoned to a trailer in the secluded swamp where a discharged marine, Quentin Hart, has taken his girlfriend hostage. Bear is forced to kill Quentin in self defense. Later that day, when darkness falls, a group of Quentin's friends (former marines who served together in Afghanistan) trudge through the treacherous swamp and retrieve two bags of counterfeit money. In the gulf, they deliver the bags to a yacht owned by a Mexican drug cartel known as the Zetas. Bear's investigation of a missing undercover agent, Brenda Mantle, forces him to investigate the former marines. Soon afterwards, the friends begin tragically dying one-by-one.

Darryl Wimberley's "Devil's Slew" is one of the most violent, gruesome, intricately plotted, suspenseful crime noirs I've read in a long time. It is also one of the most offensive in that it explores an overabundance of sensitive topics considered taboo, which include date rape, torture, racism and religious fanaticism. The story begins in Afghanistan where a young interpreter, Gulpari Bohtri, believes she's been raped; unfortunately, someone slipped her the drug Rohypnol and she can't remember the entire incident. Other victims have the same experience. The abducted Brenda Mantle is videotaped while being cruelly tortured. Racial slurs abound because Bear is an African American living in a predominately white, redneck community. Not since the O. J. Simpson trial have I heard the dreaded "N" word used so much. Also the word "cracker" is thrown around extensively and the author isn't referring to Saltine Crackers.
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Format: Hardcover
One advantage of series of books about a character is that the author doesn't have to re-invent a backstory. One picks up a book like this expecting to dive in to the story without having to wonder, "How will the character react to...?". Darryl Wimberley's latest Barrett Raines mystery, "Devil's Slew," is like sitting down with an old friend from high school or college and catching up on life since the last meeting.
"Devil's Slew" wastes no time getting going. The first mystery is laid out in the first chapter, along with a discription of North Gulf-coast Florida as only a native with Darryl's unparalleled gift of place could paint the scene. Agent Raines is called to a young Afghanistan veteran's trailer to assist the county sheriff, and becomes the unwilling participant in a "suicide by cop" plan. The narrative broadens to include a kidnapped Treasury agent, Homeland Security, and Mexican drug cartels, as Bear struggles to understand what the young ex-Marine, the son of an old friend, had done to find himself in an unwinnable conflict. Along the way Bear comes in contact with new enemies and old rivals, international conflicts and personal stresses, with we, the readers, finding facts and sifting clues along with him and his colleagues.
If, somehow, this is your first exposure to Barret Raines or to Darryl Wimberley, you will truly enjoy the experience. If you, as I am, are a Wimberley fan, this book does not disappoint. Be warned -- block out at least half a day to absorb and savor the journey, because you will not want to leave the world of Perry County until the very last period on the very last page.
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Format: Hardcover
Darryl Wimberley went to high school in Mayo, Florida. He knows the people, the topography, the flora and fauna. He knows about picking tobacco, harvesting cypress trees, and gators. And, he writes of what he knows. Mayo is about 30 miles from Perry near the coast and almost 200 miles from Walt Disney World. In the straw grass swamps of the coastal region, there's little to no thought of Mickey Mouse. And, bad things still happen that people just don't talk about. It's a backwater world jerked abruptly into the 21st Century and Barrett "Bear" Raines of the FDLE has his hands full with the turbulent outcomes of that transition. To make matters worse, the once outside world, the world beyond Florida, has thrust its violent manifestations into Bear's jurisdiction with drug cartels, counterfeiting operations and assassinations. Young men and women of Lafayette and Taylor Counties who went to fight in Afghanistan as marines came back different, came back corrupted. Some of them grouped together in the swampy, black muck area of Devil's Slew to make a lot of money in criminal support roles. But, one of those young folks has just committed suicide by cop. After that, death starts to pop up like corn in a popper. With the feds staring down his collar due to the kidnapping of a special agent, Barrett Raines has to answer the who, what, when, where, and why of how all of this fits together and do so without losing his own life in the process. Great writing by Wimberley - superlative literary narrative in a tightly woven genre tale. You can't go wrong with this one!
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