Review: Bad Blood
Author: John Sandford
Audio Version Read by: Eric Conger
Somebody recently asked, “If you could have dinner with any character from fiction, who would it be?” My immediate answer: Virgil Flowers. John Sandford has written a lot of books, and I’ve read most of them. I followed Lucas Davenport religiously through the Prey books, read the standalone novels, and didn’t much care for the Kidd books. But Virgil Flowers is my guy.
Virgil knows how to get to the bottom of things, and in Bad Blood, the bottom is not only complicated, it’s a long way down. A southwest Minnesota farmer is brutally murdered at the elevator as he delivers his soybeans. The murderer, a decent young man from a good local family, confesses to the sheriff, and the next day is found hanging in his cell. When the deputy on duty during the apparent suicide is also found dead, the sheriff realizes she needs help. Though both deaths appear to be suicides, the forensic evidence suggests otherwise. Enter Virgil Flowers.
Flowers loves women. Married and divorced three times, Virgil has realized he falls in love too easily and has sworn off the taking of vows. That doesn’t mean he’s given up the fairer sex, though. In this book, he finds the sheriff herself, recently abandoned by her husband for another woman, to be not only an excellent investigator, but excellent in other ways as well.
Virgil’s investigative technique is as unusual as he is. Raised nearby, the son of a Lutheran minister, Virgil knows how things go in small towns. He takes the sheriff to the local café, speaks clearly enough that the locals can overhear, and garners several important leads through the resulting firestorm of rumor and innuendo. He sets traps, calls in favors, interviews locals, and uncovers a crime so old and so massive that even he has trouble believing its scope.
While I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Sandford’s Lucas Davenport novels, I can understand why he’s working on this series as well. Virgil Flowers is very different from Davenport, and must be tremendously fun to write. He’s both a cerebral and a spiritual guy, a BCA agent who wears his hair long and his cowboy boots scuffed. If you haven’t tried these books, please do. You won’t be disappointed.