Escape Clause by John Sandford

"In the haylofts of life, there are always a few wasps."

After taking a break from the character to pen sci-fi thriller Saturn Run, John Sandford returns to his Virgil Flowers series with Escape Clause. Virgil Flowers is the eccentric lead investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Over the years his investigative prowess has garnered him as much recognition has his unconventional methods and personality.

The ninth novel in the series opens with Flowers, unsurprisingly, skinny dipping with the likes of his girlfriend, her sister, and a priest. The group's reprieve from the summer heat is soon interrupted by the ring of Flower's cell phone. Two endangered tigers have disappeared from the Minnesota Zoo and the BCA wants Flowers to intervene. While he is hesitant, especially given the fact that he recently searched for a pack of missing dogs, Virgil is assured by his boss that successful retrieval of the missing felines will ensure he never takes on an animal related case again.

As Virgil delves into the underworld of trading illegally procured animals, trouble on the home front begins to brew. His now serious girlfriend Frankie and her sister Sparkle have found themselves caught up with a rough crowd. Sparkle has been investigating a local factory's mistreatment of migrant workers. The people who run it are less than enthused. Because of the familial relationship, Virgil is prohibited from taking part in any formal investigations. That does little to keep the action from finding him.

Virgil Flowers is easily one of my favorite characters in modern mystery fiction. John Sandford's bare prose and quick pacing are the perfect fit for Flower's matter-of-fact personality. I always marvel at the way Sandford manages to keep the suspense wound and the pages turning even when we know exactly who is involved with a crime. The thread about the missing tigers had many twists and turns. So much so, that the subplot about Sparkle ended up feeling like an underdeveloped distraction. This did little to take away from my enjoyment of the novel, but I don't feel like it added much to the story. While you don't have to read the previous novels to understand this one, I highly encourage it. For one, they are great books! More so, it is fun to see the way Virgil Flowers has evolved over the series. I devoured this installment in a couple of sittings, and can't wait to read what happens next.

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

(2017, 2)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 and is filed under ,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

4 Responses to “Escape Clause by John Sandford”

  1. This sounds great Ethan. Tell me, can you dive in anywhere with this series or is it best to start from book one? Is there an overall arc or a lot of character development?

    1. You can dive in anywhere without missing too much. That being said, I would definitely recommend starting from the beginning. Each novel serves as a single story, but the series as a whole is still pretty manageable. You won't regret it!

  2. It sounds like the main plot to this novel was really good, and I am glad you were able to like the main character so much. I really like the sound of him, and how much he gets involved in! That straight forward mindset can really change so much in terms of perspective. Sometimes, we just go around over complicating things too much.

    1. It seems like many modern mystery novels employ changing times and perspectives. I really appreciated that this one followed a simple timeline.


Powered by Blogger.