Strawman's Hammock by Darryl Wimberley

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On a chilly October morning, Barrett "Bear" Raines finds himself on the campground of Linton Loyd, one of the richest men in Florida, watching Linton clean his latest catch. Barrett does not understand why he, an African-American detective for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has been invited to the rich man's playground, but soon discovers that Linton wants something from him: Linton wants Barrett to run for county sheriff and Linton will help sponsor the campaign. Barrett doesn't know what to make of the appealing offer and decides to think about it.

The following week at work, Barrett learns of a case in which illegal immigrants are being forced to bale straw under rigged contracts and the department wants to find out just how wide spread the problem is. Barrett agrees to accompany Jarold Pearson, an old acquaintance and game warden, to the woods of Linton Loyd's straw baling company. However, the men find more than a group of scared migrant workers: in a secluded tin shack, they discover the body of a young woman pinned to the wall, almost as if she had been crucified. Based on evidence at the scene, Linton's only son becomes the prime suspect, but what does that do for Barrett's chance at sheriff?

In a setting mysterious in itself, where an ancient woman could really be the witch people call her, Barrett faces horrible crime and a solution that continually changes shape, as elusive as the strange lights that flicker in his native swamps.


About Darryl Wimberley

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Darryl Wimberley is a native Floridian living with his family in Austin, Texas.  This is his third Barrett Raines novel, and he has also published a literary novel, A Tinker's Damn.  He can be reached at
Published November 1, 2001 by Minotaur Books. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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The highest praise you can pay Wimberley's third procedural featuring African-American policeman Barrett Raines (after Dead Man's Bay and A Rock and a Hard Place) is that it makes you want to read his first two—like now.

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