An 18-year-old jock kills a farmer in rural Minnesota, spends a night in jail and is discovered dead – hanged – the next morning. When the coroner rules it a murder, the local sheriff, tall, good-looking Lee Coakley, knows she needs some outside help, since the chief suspect is the man she beat in the sheriff’s election.
Affable, womanizing (in a good way) Virgil Flowers (protégé of Sandford’s Prey series character, Lucas Davenport) is happy to help, but arrives to find the suspect dead, an apparent suicide. A quick scan of the scene shows Flowers it’s another murder and the suspect is female.
Murder is not so common in this sleepy area of southern Minnesota and Flowers soon ties this current rash to the ugly sex murder of a 17-year-old girl a year earlier. The girl and two of the men belonged to a clannish, secretive church; the 18-year-old was a close friend of the girl’s.
Sandford unfolds the story mostly from Flowers’ point of view, but switches to outside views to deliver key information, usually only pages before Flowers figures it out for himself. It doesn’t lessen the suspense since we’re never too far ahead, but since most of the fun is in being along for the ride, I would just as soon have stayed with Flowers all the way through.
Flowers is his usual easy-going, sharp-eyed self, spreading information in a very un-cop-like way in order to stir things up and get people to talk to him. It’s a strategy that works and soon nearly everyone in town has something to share.
The subject matter is dark and grows darker, but Sandford’s mix of truly grisly creepy, horrid deviance and comic wit works. Flowers knows how to take himself seriously even at his loosest. There is a romance too (as usual in this series), which is sharp and funny, the good sex a wry and welcome antidote to the ugly sex, and the finish is no-holds barred, edge of your seat action. Fans will be well satisfied and newcomers will look for previous books.
In southern Minnesota, Robert Tripp, an employee at a grain company, kills Jacob Flood, a local farmer. When Tripp is questioned by the police, the sheriff is able to break his story and jails him. Then, Tripp is murdered in his cell. The sheriff suspects one of her men, Jim Crocker. Because of the internal politics, the sheriff calls in investigator Virgil Flowers, from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. When Virgil goes to Crocker's home to … more
I love to read, always have, and have been writing reviews for more years than I care to say. Early on, i realized there are more books than there is time to read, so I read only books I like and mostly … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.