Thursday, June 20, 2013

mad river

mad river
virgil flowers series #6
john sandford
putnam adult
published 2012

Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns.

The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down. But even he doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next.

When I read books like this I wonder why I even read James Patterson books....especially when one is sandwiched between two excellent John Sandford books.

I love Virgil almost as much as I love Davenport and Virgil has only been around for a few years now.  Creating Virgil Flowers was probably one of the most ingenious moves Sandford has done so far.  Lucas is a fantastic lead character for a series.  He's a bit bad boy, good cop, sweet husband, loving father and even a bit of a politician.  But what stands out most about Lucas is how he'll step a bit outside the law oftentimes to make sure a wrong doesn't go unchecked.  And that's what I enjoy.  He'll never let someone get away with something.

Virgil is, on the surface, something of a hippie.  He hardly ever carries around his gun (much to the chagrin of Lucas), he's always on the lookout for another wife (I think we're looking for #5?), he's got not one iota of politics in him and he mostly just wants to go fishing.  I don't know what that last part has to do with being a hippie, but that's what Virgil's mostly thinking about.  There is a big, bold line separating right versus wrong in Virgil's mind and this time we actually see what happens when Virgil sees a wrong being done.

Again, Sandford does a stupendous job threading in bits of humor through the story.  I think more here than in others I realized just how much I enjoy the unsung heroes of both series, Jenkins and Shrake.  They just tell it like it is and they're going to look out for their own.

The story itself is not something we haven't read before, but you get a better feel for these two kids who are more dumb than they are cunning.  By the end of the book you almost feel sorry for them, or at least you're looking for some sort of ending where they don't end up dead.  And while all of this is going on there's still the other part that sticks in Virgil's head.  Lucas is a bit more prominent here than he's been in the other Virgil Flowers' books and for awhile there things get a bit crazy.

It's just another dang good book by Sandford.

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