Upon his arrival, Virgil witnesses the home of Bill Judd Sr. explode into flames, killing the local business man and leaving Flowers to believe that the apparent arson, now murder, is connected to the town's other recent events. With the assistance of the young Bluestem Sheriff, Jim Stryker, who is desperately seeking the approval of the town for reelection, Flowers uncovers a decades old conspiracy of financial fraud, lustful infidelity and a possible drug operation that threatens to rock the sleepy town. Add to all of this a psychotic serial killer, and you've got one exciting novel.
John Sandford seems to have found the perfect balance of plot, character, and setting that makes his novel compulsively engaging. In Virgil Flowers, Sandford has imagined an oddball protagonist that you can't help but root for. Sandford's simple prose keeps the story moving while still providing enough description to give the reader a sense of the small town setting. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but the clever twists and interesting characters make this novel worth reading. I look forward to encountering this character in the other four novels in this series. After reading this, I have to agree that John Sandford produces strong thrillers. Perhaps I will try to tackle the 21 volume "Prey" series in the near future.
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