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 question him, he finds Crocker murdered and made to look like he committed suicide. Virgil looks at the three deaths and then is told of a forth victim, a young teenage girl, Kelly Baker, whose body was found in a cemetery.
Virgil attempts to put the four deaths together. He learns that Tripp was gay and that Baker had some extreme sexual activity and abuse prior to her death. Then he talks to Flood's wife.
Flood's wife, Alma, also informs Virgil that Crocker and her husband were childhood friends and maybe that was the reason why Crocker killed Tripp. Then Alma admits that Kelly was a member of her church. Since the church connection now tied three of the victims, Virgil wanted to get Alma to talk more about it. He told her that his father was a minister and he quoted some bible verses but this didn't seem to draw Alma's attention. Virgil sensed a fraud in connection to the church and began looking closer to any connection with that group.
This is an extremely well plotted and suspenseful novel and the reader will enjoy it. Virgil is a wise cracking character who is also dedicated to finding the wrongs and correcting them, however, he doesn't mind some extra curricular activity with the attractive sheriff.
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) … more