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Professor Wilson Bledsoe is returning from a party celebrating his latest honor when he encounters a broken-down pickup on the secluded country road leading to his home. He instinctively stops to help, calling his wife, Kay, to let her know he’ll be late. When the delay stretches to hours, Kay frantically contacts the local police and Wilson’s younger brother, Sterling, an FBI agent in New York. The next day, the discovery of the professor’s body with a vicious racist epithet carved into his chest leads to the quick arrest of two loathsome white supremacists. Sterling, however, is not quite ready to buy into this pat solution. A look around his brother’s lab and brief interviews with his students, colleagues, and the college’s distinguished president pique his curiosity about Wilson’s current project, a nearly completed paper on the mysterious deaths of hundreds of local blackbirds. But Sterling’s search for answers takes a dangerous turn when a security tape sent to Quantico for enhancement incriminates the agent himself.
Determined to clear his name and bring his brother’s killer to justice, Sterling eludes the local police and makes his way back to New York City, where he pulls out every trick he knows to stay one step ahead of the FBI and the NYPD. As he calls in favors from longtime friends at the Bureau and checks out leads from scientists familiar with his brother’s work, Sterling realizes that Wilson’s murder is part of a sinister scheme that reaches from the Dartmouth campus to big-money interests in the Midwest, to the offices of some very influential people in Washington.
Fast-paced and cleverly constructed, THE BLACKBIRD PAPERS marks the debut of an astonishing new talent—charismatic television correspondent Ian Smith—and Sterling Bledsoe, his sexy, smart, and occasionally combative sleuth.