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*Starred Review* Three rural Minnesota teenagers, Jimmy Sharp, Becky Welsh, and Tom McCall, are on a crime spree. It started with the murder of a store clerk during a botched robbery. Victim number two died in a car heist as they made their getaway. Then they decide “what the hell” and settle a couple of personal scores. The kids are murderous but not dumb, and they avoid capture from an ever-growing cadre of pursuers that includes Virgil Flowers from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Flowers is the nominal head of the investigation, but he struggles to keep control of the various law-enforcement agencies involved. He’s determined to take the kids alive, an end game that’s not endorsed by his associates. As the pursuit continues, he’s able to establish phone contact with Welsh. At least one of the killers has moved from abstraction to human, and Flowers becomes more determined than ever to bring them in alive. Flowers is a complex character camouflaged by his long hair, rock-’n’-roll T-shirts, smart mouth, and fearlessness. The son of a minister, he is burdened by a spirituality that subtly influences his every decision. It’s more pronounced in this case as he fights the pack’s need for revenge and, in the end, leaves readers assessing the morality of the kids as well as their pursuers. This may be the best entry in a stellar series. --Wes Lukowsky
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review by . December 09, 2012
While I've gotten burned out on the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford, I like what he's doing with the Virgil Flowers character as a separate series of novels. Mad River is the latest installment, and I looked forward to getting it from the library when my name made it to the top of the hold lists. I wanted to like it... I really did. But it seems like the book was about a third too long with an ending that fell flat (in my opinion). I never got lost in the action, as much as I wanted …
review by . December 24, 2012
Mad River: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sanford is the latest in an increasingly enjoyable series. When you see the subtitle A Virgil Flowers Novel you know exactly what you are getting in the read--- a profane loner type cop who will be unorthodox in solving the case while also making the time to check out the available ladies. The job will get done, political and probably law enforcement big shots will be annoyed, and the body count will be fairly high.    Continuing the …
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