Good heavens, that John Sandford is prolific. I discovered this author in the early 1990s, when his “Prey” series, featuring Minnesota cop cum videogame developer Lucas Davenport, was new. Since then, Sandford has published 21 in that series (Buried Prey the most recent), as well as four books in the Kidd series, two standalones, and five recent books with private eye Virgil Flowers. (You can read my review of Bad Blood, a previous Flowers book, here.)
I got the ARC for the new one in the Flowers series, Shock Wave, from Murder and Mayhem in Muskego and it’s hot off the press with an October 4, 2011 publication date. (Brief MMM plug: Fun conference, $30 reg fee includes lunch, and my book bag had easily over $100 of new and not-yet-released mysteries. Awesome.)
I picture Flowers as a young Jimmy Buffet, all inappropriate Hawaiian shirts, long blonde hair, and a devastasting way with the ladies. Cops who come in contact with Flowers – Davenport’s friend and longtime off-the-record colleague – call him “That fuckin’ Flowers,” primarily because he’s often at the center of any off-kilter investigation.
Shock Wave has a ripped-from-the-headlines story, wherein big-box chain Pyemart wants to come into a small Minnesota town, upsetting the ecological and socioeconomic balance. Somebody’s trying to keep them out. With bombs. It’s up to Virgil to figure it out.
As always, there’s a potential love interest. (Amusingly, he explains the sobriquet “that f’in’ Flowers” with faux modesty, explaining he has a certain popularity with the ladies.) Plot twists and characters who are not what they seem. Plenty of breezy fun balanced by actual and potential mayhem.
I enjoyed Shock Wave. Sandford fans will, too, as will anyone who’s looking for a solid PI story with amusing characters. It’s not deep, it’s not insightful, but it’s fun and perfect for an afternoon’s read, preferably with a warm beverage and a dog by your side.
I hate to nitpick such a great review but I have to in this case. Virgil Flowers isn’t a PI. He’s an Agent of the Minnesota BCA just like Lucas Davenport(though not as high ranking).
Thank heaven for John Sandford, Lee Child, Linda Fairstein and the other readable and enjoyable authors of their ilk. Write more, write more!