Rough Country by John Sandford

A small resort town in northern Minnesota gets a shock when one of its guests, Erica McDill, is shot in the head during a kayaking outing. McDill is a prominent advertising executive, from the Twin Cities, whose death precedes a large transition in her company that would make her the largest stockholder.

Virgil Flowers is fishing with a friend when he receives a call from his boss, Lucas Davenport. With that, his vacation comes to an end and he makes his way to the scene of McDill's murder. You see, Virgil is an investigator for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) who only tackles "the hard stuff". He doesn't fit the investigator stereotypes. Rather, he keeps his blond hair long, wears t-shirts with logos of obscure bands, and finishes off the ensemble with blue jeans and boots. Despite his unusual appearance, Virgil is known for getting results.

The investigation takes an unusual turn when Virgil learns that the resort is an all women's establishment. His fears are confirmed when boot tracks, from an expensive women's shoe company, are discovered in the mud near the murder site. Quickly, Virgil is immersed into the small town and its lesbian subculture. With the possibility of past murders connecting to the death of McDill, and the ever growing threat of more violence, Virgil struggles to keep his own emotions in check as he searches for the mysterious killer.

I've been a fan of John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series since reading the first book, Dark of The Moon. There is something very appealing about Virgil's oddball behavior and fantastic instincts. As always, Sandford keeps his writing simple and accessible. More so than the previous novels, however, Rough Country felt a little slower and less important than the other two. The opening portion in particular seemed a bit overlong. How long can you really wander through the woods before losing your audience. Fortunately, just as I was wondering when the book would pick up, Sandford introduced a new thread to the mystery that propelled the novel to a solid ending. The plot of this story doesn't allow as much time to spend learning about this interesting character, but the mystery itself is strong enough to make Rough Country worth the read and to make me eager to continue this series.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.

(2013: week 21, book 20)

This entry was posted on Friday, May 24, 2013 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “Rough Country by John Sandford”

  1. Great review. I love the Lucas Davenport books but never read one with Virgil Flowers. Guess I have to put them on the shelves too because your description of Virgil is just a detective personality I like.

    1. I'm exactly opposite of you. . . I've never read the Prey series! I think the sheer amount of them has deterred me a bit. I really like starting a series from the beginning, so this one has been a little more manageable. I definitely recommend it.


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