Book Review: Righteous Prey by John Sandford

Happy Thursday, my lovely peeps🐥!
This week’s book review: Righteous Prey by John Sandford!

This was my most anticipated read of the year and I kept pushing it off as if to make the read even more rewarding the longer I wait for it. I finally got around to it, and I absolutely loved it!

Book Title: Righteous Prey
Series: Prey Series / Virgil Flowers
Book # 32 (Prey) / 14 (Virgil Flowers)
Author: John Sandford
Length: ~412 Pages (Based on Kindle Pages)
Publication Date: 4 Oct 2022
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Edition: eARC (NetGalley)
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Mystery > Crime, Thriller, Thriller > Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Action

Goodreads: >LINK<
Amazon: >LINK<
Author Website: >LINK<

Disclaimer: A big thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. An ebook copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. This does not affect my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

Beloved heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are up against a powerful vigilante group with an eye on vengeance in a stunning new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford.

“We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.” So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is believed to be made up of vigilante killers who are very bored…and very rich. They target the worst of society—rapists, murderers, and thieves—and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become the most popular figures on social media, a modern-day Batman…though their motives may not be entirely pure.

After a woman is murdered in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full–the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, the Five are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers.

5 bitcoin traders, immensely wealthy, and absolutely nuts in the head, conspire along with another individual to commit crimes “for the better of the world.” They kill those they deem worthy of death, post their crimes out as press releases along with the reasons that the individuals were killed, and a hefty amount in bitcoin is donated to a charity afterwards, a test to see if these non-profits would accept the money if they were to come out of these crimes; blood money. Lucas and Virgil aren’t called on, at least not until one of the killings happens on Minnesota soil and the BCA and US Marshal become involved.

Though I’ve seen books revolving around an individual or groups of people going after people who deserve justice, it was still a pretty good book and I enjoyed the plot. Beginning with weeks of staking out their victims, following their every move and tracking all of their personal securities, these five million/billionaire, along with their leader, come up with extremely detailed and well-thought-out plans that fully cover their tracks behind them. It’s nearly impossible to link the crime back to the perpetrator, at least, of course, until the killer in Minnesota slips up and it’s just enough of a clue for Lucas and Virgil to work off of. From there, the plot takes off and it doesn’t take long for the duo to identify some of the members of the Five and begin their pursuit. When The Five’s plans begins to crumble beneath them, people start to get really desperate. And desperate people are dangerous people.

In the first book where Lucas and Virgil worked together, Ocean Prey, Virgil actually worked mostly with Rae and Lucas with another team, covering background. Both having a criminal mind, nabbing clues in not so legal ways (like breaking into a house to investigate with a copy of a key made by pressing clay on it?), they have vastly different personalities when it comes to crime. Lucas sees things like a puzzle while Virgil’s more emotional (not that deaths don’t affect Lucas), but there’s an interesting dynamic between the two of them.

Lucas and Virgil were each other’s closest male friends, in the way men form friendships around shared traumatic stress and a predilection for jockstraps. Though they were friends, they were not alike.

Lucas could look at a body and become immediately absorbed in the technical details of the death: how the killing had been done, possible motives, who had the opportunity. He saw murder as a puzzle. The body was a detail, but not the only one. Murder signaled a competition that he was determined to win.

Virgil sought balance, rather than a victory. He wanted to wrench his world back into what it should be, a peaceful place where people cooperated to create a civilization. He disliked violence and rarely resorted to it. Murder was always a shock to his system.

In Righteous Prey, this time the duo really does work together, starting by visiting the scene of the Minnesota death, and “walking and knocking” on doors. Lucas being Virgil’s old boss, they’re best friends and their conversations can be pretty golden at times. There’s a hilarious supermarket scene with the most cliché undercover cop “quick pretend we’re a cute couple to avoid attention” trope that was the comedic highlight of my read. They’re funny and witty, and fantastic at bouncing ideas off each other. The bicker and banter between them reminds me of siblings and their interaction lightens the tenser parts of the book.

The woman called, “What’d you do? Did he see you?”

A male agent, also inside the store, who’d been looking at tomatoes, said, “They walked by him holding hands. [killer] wouldn’t look at them. He’s a homophobe and thought they were gay.”

Lucas, not transmitting, said to Virgil, “I won’t live this down. You will, of course, being an ambisexual hippie.”

The woman agent said, “That’s so cool. That’s really so cool.”

Lucas: “Ah, Jesus.”

There’s a lot of character development over the course of multiple books, for both Lucas and Virgil. Virgil has been writing as a side gig since the earliest books, more so as a magazine column writer, though. Soon, taking nature photographs and writing for magazines became writing fiction books for publishing deals and he’s in the middle of his third novel when Righteous Prey is taking place, with Lucas, a game maker himself, encouraging him. Because cops burn out hard and fast. Lucas, already rich off his games and only picking up the most interesting of cases can only hope that Virgil will follow because neither of them can see the latter continue to run around Minnesota for much longer. They’re getting older and their lives have been constantly at stake. They barely make it through this book (though I’ve definitely said this earlier in a few other books too, so…)

There were some places that were slow, you can’t have promising leads forever, and there are multiple times the duo run into walls. Still, the thrill is always present and there’s always some form of a chase, but the killers are just as slippery as they are elusive. Along with cash to back them up, clever alibis, and this case taking place across multiple stakes, Virgil and Lucas are just running all over the place. In fact, if The Five had kept all of this on the down low, and not going about publishing every hit to the public, they probably could’ve easily gotten away with these killings for a long time!

All in all, I had a wonderful time with it and I’m definitely going to get the physical copy when it comes out next month. My only worry is, with Lucas and Virgil growing older, having promising new careers on their horizon, family, and with Lucas’ adoptive daughter, Letty, having her own spin-off series now, we may very well be nearing the end of both Lucas and Virgil’s adventures. The book ends pretty well though, especially given the scary events that took place in the climax. It has a very open end feel to it, with plenty of possibilities to come. Another gripping and solid book from Sandford. I could not put this one down!

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Book Review: Winter Prey by John Sandford

Last week, I shared my review for Silent Prey, the sequel to Eyes of Prey. That was the first time I’d seen a repeating villain in any of Sandford’s books, but in this fifth book of the series, Davenport has moved on. This time, we’re going to experience the bitter cold of rural Wisconsin and this time, his foes may endanger his life in ways even the bloody Bekker didn’t…

For this week’s review, we’re featuring Winter Prey by John Sandford! Stay tuned!

Book Title: Winter Prey
SeriesPrey/Lucas Davenport Series Book No. 5
Author: John Sandford
Length: 336 Pages (Paperback)
Published: 1 March 1994
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Mystery > Crime, Thriller, Thriller > Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Action

Goodreads: >LINK<
Amazon: >LINK<

CW/TW: Blood, death, murder, arson & fire, mentions of torture, graphic violence, sexual abuse of minors, pedophilia, death of a child, alcohol abuse, attempted murder, hostage situation

The Iceman is Lucas Davenport’s most determined foe – a serial killer driven to cover his brutal tracks with blood.  Sandford again creates almost unbearable suspense as we wait for the Iceman’s razor-sharp corn knife to strike again.

“Winter Prey” unfolds in the cold and driving snow of the north country. The wilds of rural Wisconsin are the perfect setting for the chilling terror caused by the Iceman, a killer who knows Lucas’ every move – a coldly brilliant madman who can’t be stopped.  Turn up the heat and listen as Lucas Davenport faces his most dangerous challenge.

The fifth book in the Prey/Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford, this time, Lucas Davenport is taking a break from the Minneapolis police department, something he’d already done in the previous book, though he had been called over to New York as a consultant on a case instead. Here, we begin the book with a blistering and brutal winter, the coldest of blizzards, whipping through the pages, and you can almost feel the winter come alive, even as I sit here reading in the sweltering heat of August. This time, there’s no case to help in. This time, Davenport is just relaxing in his Wisconsin cabin and…he’s pretty bored. That is, until the local law enforcement hears about him staying up here and asks for his help on a homicide and arson case. Davenport is almost gleeful. Almost. Because this case gets disgusting pretty quick at the discovery of a photo of a man and an underage kid.

“‘Yeah. And now I’ve started writing simulation software for police crisis management, for training dispatch people. Most of that’s computers, dispatch is. And you get in a crisis situation, the dispatchers are virtually running things for a while. This software lets them simulate it, and scores them. It’s kind of taking off.’

‘If you’re not careful, you could get rich,’ Weather said.

‘I kind of am,’ Lucas said gloomily. ‘But goddamn, I’m bored. I don’t miss the bullshit part of PD, but I miss the movement.’

Like all of Sandford’s books, I adore his writing, especially the ease with which he could portray a scene with just a few simple, but nicely picked sentences. The scenes are crisp in my mind and the action is never ending. The thrill and fears are always jolting, and some (deserving deaths) make the endings just so darn satisfying. I love the way Sandford writes, scenes and dialogue, but I love his characters more. In fact, I think I live for his characters more than the plot, even if there’s equal attention to both.

In Winter Prey, we are introduced to a new recurrent character, Weather Karkinnen, someone who became and remains a very important person in Davenport’s life as she shows up again and again, and even cross series. My first introduction to her was in the spin-off/parallel series, Virgil Flowers, and there, I don’t know much about Weather other than her relationship with Davenport. It’s so fleeting and impersonal, small mentions here and there, a drop in on their home now and again, and so on. Getting to know Weather more (and yes, that’s her actual name), was just as fun as getting to know younger Davenport. Both are so much more wild in their earlier days, and that, of course, makes sense since this is the main series and Weather is more involved with Davenport here rather than just giving off the “a friend of a friend” vibes like in Virgil’s story. I rather enjoyed her character and interaction with Davenport.

As we often see in the other Virgil Flowers and Prey books, we get to see the story from the perspective of the villains in the book, and they are absolutely awful people; rotten to the core. This was a hard book to read because of the disturbing series of events, though it’s not the first time I’ve read a Sandford book with criminals involved in sexual abuse against minors. That would be Bad Blood over in the Virgil Flowers series as he investigates a sex cult (and it was just as bad…). Just as the antagonists in that book were dirtbag levels of vile, so are the group in this book, particularly the main antagonist, who seemed to be the leader of the sex ring, the “Iceman.” They lack all signs of empathy and humanity. There are plenty of sad folks between both series, some bad guys I even feel kind of sorry for, but here, I felt none of that. I hated them from the moment I got to know them, and cheered at every success that Davenport came across.

The book begins with the Iceman and though, through his perspective, we know who the other people in the ring are, we don’t ever know who the Iceman is and what his true identity is until nearly the end when things take off with insane speed and this time, Lucas may end up in more danger than he’s ever been so far, and that’s including his two encounters with a serial killer that has a thing for poking out eyes as his signature.

I thought this was a pretty good read. It started somewhere medium paced with Davenport and his team just finding clues only to meet with wall after walls as their leads either turn up empty or evidence and clues unusable due to damage. Things eventually work out and I kind of liked how it ended (minus the several terrible deaths). Another wonderful and gripping thriller. I can’t wait for the next Davenport adventure.

Book Review: Silent Prey by John Sandford

Hello, my lovely peeps🐥!

It’s been a long week, especially Tuesday!
But, we’re nearing the weekend and that’s always a cause for celebration.
For this week’s review, I’ll be talking about Silent Prey by John Sandford!

Book Title: Silent Prey
Series: Prey/Lucas Davenport Series Book # 4
Author: John Sandford
Length: 338 Pages (Paperback)
Published: 1 March 1993
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Mystery > Crime, Thriller, Thriller > Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Action

Goodreads: >LINK<
Amazon: >LINK<

Dr. Mike Bekker, a psychotic pathologist, is back on the streets, doing what he does best-murdering one helpless victim after another. Lucas Davenport knows he should have killed Bekker when he had the chance. Now he has a second opportunity and the time to hesitate is through. 

***Spoilers for the previous book: Eyes of Prey
Usually each Prey or Virgil Flowers book can be read as a standalone (for certain with Virgil’s stories, now that I’m through with all current publications on that end, but I’m not sure with the further Davenport ones) with the only thing you miss being maybe references and character development through the series, but Silent Prey is different. There are things here that are major spoilers for the previous book, Eyes of Prey, especially the ending of that last book.

After about 16 Sandford books, split between the Virgil Flowers and the Lucas Davenport/Prey series, I think I’ve finally come across one that was lukewarm for me. It’s not quite as interesting as the first few in the Prey series and I think part of that comes down to how there’s a repeating antagonist, Bekker. Yep. Nuttier than a squirrel’s pre-hiberation meal, after his capture in Eyes of Prey, Bekker manages to escape and hides away in NYC where he continues to kill for his sick and twisted “research.” Serial killers will be serial killers and with his obsession with eyes being a signature of his, it’s not hard to track him down. Except, he’s a little different here. A genius will remain a genius, but while Silent Prey Bekker is just as smart, frustratingly elusive, and dangerous as Eyes of Prey Bekker, this Bekker continues the inevitable downward spiral that the previous Bekker started. Drugs. Don’t do them, kids.

He missed it. He didn’t miss the police department, with its meetings and its brutal politics. Just the hunt. And the pressure.

In this fourth installation of the series, Davenport is back at it again, but he’s no longer a cop. Instead, he’s loaning his skills and talents over in New York and helping the NYPD with tracking down Bekker, the serial killer having taken refuge in NYC, and people are getting pretty desperate with bringing him in, or down. The body count is starting to ramp up, the media chewing people up, and they need to put a stop to this ASAP! As if Davenport needs to be told twice. His vengeance against Bekker is personal. Somewhere in between this whole interstate insanity with the “Damn, should’ve killed him back when you got the chance, and now he’s here causing this mess” NYPD has a problem of their own with a vigilante taking people down; professional hits too clean for just a normal crime. They dub him, “Robin Hood” with just about as little detail as you can spare for leads. Something is fishy, and too many people seem to be hiding things to trust the police to handle this case.

Bekker is the most interesting person here. His gruesome crimes have moved states, but he’s still him and his obsession (and profound fear) of eyes remains the same. The only difference is, he’s so far gone with drugs that it’s like two different people. I thought he was downright nuts in Eyes of Prey already, but you haven’t seen him here. Completely desperate for escape and staying out of prison (where he would have no access to drugs) and still obsessively researching eyes and death, he’s nothing but a lunatic here. In Eyes of Prey he was the head of operations on a two-man team, the brains and the beauty to the “beast” (his acquaintance). Now, he’s flying solo, not trusting even his own shadow and unable to survive seconds without his drugs, and he’s got quite the rainbow running through his veins. At this point, even if he’s taken in, alive, he wouldn’t be going back to prison.

Bekker could count the drops, each and every one, as the shower played off his body. The ecstasy did that: two tiny pills. Gave him the power to imagine and count, to multiply outrageous feelings by ineffable emotions and come up with numbers . . .

The writing is something I’ve always loved in Sandford’s books. It’s wonderfully thrilling, but kept simple and to the point. You can occasionally find the most beautiful sentences with his prose. There’s no need for strings of text to describe the emotions just one of his sentences can provide. Here, though, the writing felt a little different from the previous book and I just can’t seem to place a finger on it. Now that Davenport’s no longer a cop, his old buddies and even street connections are gone. There are a few mentions here and there, not to mention him being in a different state, but the difference in writing and tone could be just the overhaul of characters and background support. It could also be character growth (Poor Davenport’s gone through the wringer in the last four books!) and development, or even just the new setting (NYC vs Minnesota).

Silent Prey is also quite dialogue heavy. However, I have no complaints on this end. Sandford’s characters, dialogues, and character interactions are my favorite and, for me, there’s no such thing as “too much dialogue” if it comes from him. Still, there’s way more of back and forth dialogue in this one book than I’ve ever seen before…in the 16 Sandford books I’ve read so far!

I really enjoyed the change of scenery, but I could be biased here because it takes place in a city I’m very familiar with. It’s fun to be able to recognize streets and neighborhoods as you come across them in the book, especially if it comes from the eyes of someone not from NYC. Davenport did originally feel like a bit of a misfit, a square squeezing through a round hole, this middle-of-nowhere hick from Minnesota lost in the big cities. People underestimated him until they realize he’s got the skills to back up all the stories. As much as I really missed Sloan and Del, it was fun to see him with this new band of characters, even if it’s temporary. The way the cops do things in NYC and even their criminals, compared to those in Minnesota, are so different, and I think even Davenport was overwhelmed at this change.

“The main thing is, there’s an infinite number of assholes. You never know where the shit is coming from. You can’t get an edge on anything. You can’t know about the place. Here, if somebody hijacks a goddamn Best Buy truck and takes off fifty Sonys, we got an idea where they’re going. Out there . . . Shit, you could make a list of suspects longer than your dick, and that’d only be the guys that you personally know might handle it. And then there are probably a hundred times that many guys that you don’t know. I mean, a list longer than my dick.”

Overall, this was a good book. I didn’t like (but didn’t dislike) that there was a repeating antagonist, but Bekker has spiraled so far into the depths of hell that he’s practically a different person and this did help slightly. His signatures have changed (just a bit), but he’s mad and nuttier than ever now. The side plot, of the Robin Hood case, felt like it was just there as a background thing to keep the story fresh. I did not care for it in the slightest, though the ending and how things connected and linked up did give me a jolt of joy. I do looove my twists and turns!

Book Review: Eyes of Prey by John Sandford

WOW! Pretty messed up book!
Hello, my lovely peeps🐥!
Today’s post is a review for the third book in the Prey series, Eyes of Prey by John Sandford! I actually started to read this as I was reading Ocean Prey and to see and compare the young[er] Davenport to the current and older one was pretty fascinating to say the least.

Still, I had a blast with this book and one of my best reads of 2022 so far!

Book Description

Title: Eyes of Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport / Prey Series Book: 3
Author: John Sandford
Edition: Ebook > Libby
Length: 357 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Suspense
Rating: 5 Golden Eggs

Blurb (Goodreads)

Lieutenant Davenport’s sanity was nearly shattered by two murder investigations. Now he faces something worse…Two killers. One hideously scarred. The other strikingly handsome, a master manipulator fascinated with all aspects of death. The dark mirror of Davenport’s soul…This is the case that will bring Davenport back to life. Or push him over the edge.

Review

Eyes of Prey is the third installation of the, soon to be, 32 book long Prey series by John Sandford and it focuses on a younger Lucas Davenport from back when he worked in the police as Minneapolis’ detective lieutenant. Having barely scrapped by a serial killer followed by a group of killers resulting in his daughter’s injury and his partner, Jennifer, to take their kid and go off, it’s been a hard hard time for Davenport. He’s majorly depressed and starts his side of the story off by pummeling a teen, for injuring one of his best snitches, someone who was so close to Davenport, she was “almost a friend”.

The story starts off with Stephanie Bekker, the wife of Dr. Bekker, who is killed one night, her face destroyed in the act of violence, and her eyes mutilated. A narc, by the name of Del Capslock, was there with Davenport when he beats the living hell out of the teen, and just manages to drag Davenport away before things escalate even further. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with the internal affairs claim that shortly follows, parents of the teen accusing Davenport of police brutality with no good proof…

Everyone’s worried about the poor guy and to help him back into the game, his boss, Daniel, suggests that Davenport take up the case of Stephanie Bekker, coupled with the fact that she was Del’s cousin and this would be helping him get to the bottom of things. It’s an intriguing case for sure, the eyes were of special interest. No lover’s quarrel would usually result in eye gouging or mutilations…

Davenport agrees to just take a look into the case, but eventually finds himself very very deep in the craziest of crazy cases as he finds himself with not just one, but perhaps two people working together and of the two, at least one of them was batshit crazy. More and more bodies begin to show up, seemingly connected to the Stephanie Bekker case; all victims with their eyes either destroyed or gouged out.

I couldn’t get into this book at first. It felt slow and I didn’t know where it was going to go. Here, we are slowly [re]introduced to more characters that eventually come back again and again in the series, people like Sloan and Del. But the main point is not Davenport, or any of the good guys. Sure, he makes for a pretty good, pushing the boundaries, kind of detective, and while I love the main characters in both the Prey and Virgil Flowers series, this time I was much more interested in the killers. As things picked up, I found myself unable to back out and found none of the earlier hesitation I had when I’d first started reading.

This time, the highlight is on two killers, both awful in their own ways, but one of them is nuts while the other is somewhat more pitiable. Their names are immediately given away in the first chapter, but occasionally, Sandford refers back to them simply as “Beauty” and the “Troll” and to avoid spoilers, I’ll call them as such here too. Complete opposites, night and day, one of the killer is beautiful, so beautiful that Sandford points out multiple times through the story just how beautiful he is, either via other characters or by “Beauty” checking himself out in the mirror. The other killer works with “Beauty” and is nicknamed “Troll” for his disfigured face from a childhood burn incident, the main muscle of the duo compared to “Beauty”‘s brain behind the plans. The “Troll” is more apathetic towards the killings while “Beauty” is elated, nearly ecstatic. His own colleagues at work secretly call him Dr. Death!

I thought that “Troll” was slightly less interesting, although I felt just an ounce bit of sympathy towards him since he’s pretty much never had a friend in his life and had simply gravitated towards “Beauty” and with every successful killing and with “Beauty”‘s praise, “Troll” seemed to smile with happiness and that made me feel a little sad (still awful people though).

Of the pair, the more interesting character is “Beauty.” A doctor who self-prescribes enough drugs to kill a field of elephants, this guy’s downing pill after pill and is simply insane. I joked halfway through the book that Eyes of Prey‘s “Beauty” was a walking “Don’t Do Drugs Kids” commercial. He goes after kids, the elderly, anyone. It doesn’t matter, so long as he can watch as they pass away, stare into their eyes as they experience their last minutes. There are some terrible terrible moments in this book. He does a little “jig” dance every time he experiences a high of some sorts; sometimes from a drug high and others from watching people die. Already unhinged from the start, his mental decline from the beginning to the end was terrifying to watch.

The book takes some massive turns and there are twists everywhere, right up to the very end with the book finishing off on a plot twisting last sentence. A fantastic book and of the handful of Davenport books I’ve read so far, this has probably been the best one yet. My emotions were all over the place, heart soaring and dropping with every few chapters, especially towards the end.

I already have a favorite Sandford book (Shock Wave), and in Ocean Prey‘s review, I remarked that that had been a close second, but now, I think Eyes of Prey beats even Ocean Prey, maybe even Shock Wave! Still, there are a little over 25 books I have yet to read in the Prey series and it’s still too early to pick favorites.

Midway through Eyes of Prey, I’d begun to schedule my March and April reads. I had picked up and read the blurb of book 4 so it kind of spoiled book 3 here, but nevertheless, I cannot wait to see how things will follow, especially with how Eyes of Prey ended.

5 Shiny Shiny Eggs

Book Review: Ocean Prey by John Sandford

The last book in the series and now it’s a long wait before my next Virgil Flowers adventure *sob*!

Hello my lovely peeps🐥!
Today’s the last review of my little Sandford/Virgil Flowers reading binge and it’s Ocean Prey by John Sandford. It is the 13th book in the Virgil Flowers series and the 31st book in the Prey series. Funny enough, I ended up borrowing the Kindle version and moved over to it (from the hardcover) because I guess I received a copy with a printing error(😅). The book ends mid-sentence in Chapter 30 (two chapters short of the actual book).

At least, according to my brother, I now own a signed limited edition!

Book Description

Title: Ocean Prey
Series: Virgil Flowers & Prey Book # 13 & 31
Author: John Sandford
Edition: Physical > Paperback, E-Book > Kindle (Libby/Overdrive)
Length: 431 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural

Blurb (Goodreads)

An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family in the Atlantic just off south Florida when he sees, and then calls in, some suspicious behavior in a nearby boat. It’s a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there’s something hinky going on, and his hunch is proven correct when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.

They’re federal officers killed on the job, which means the case is the FBI’s turf. When the FBI’s investigation stalls out, Lucas Davenport of the U.S. Marshals Service gets a call. The case turns even more lethal and Davenport needs to bring in every asset he can find, including a detective with a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers.

Review

The thirteenth book in the Virgil Flowers series and the 31st in the Prey/Lucas Davenport series, this is the first book where two of my favorite characters work together on a case and was probably my most anticipated 2020 read. By the time I was about four chapters in, however, I was beginning to worry because, (obviously, with “Prey” in the title), this was looking to be more of a Davenport book than a Virgil book, which is totally fine, except that (while I’m all caught up in the Virgil Flowers series) in the Prey series, I’m only up to around book three (which I was reading alongside Ocean Prey). My fear had been that 1) I wasn’t going to see much of Virgil in action and 2) I’m so far behind in the Prey series, that I feared missing major character development notes and characters.

But…I was worried for nothing. Just a bit further in, Virgil does come in and kicks ass as he gets to experience working as a US Marshal for the first time. As for major character development, I actually found it very entertaining to read this while I read book three of the Prey series (it’s kind of neat to see the difference between [younger] Davenport and current Davenport!)

The book starts off with a Coast Guard who had been sailing in his boat with his wife and baby when he sees something suspicious and calls it in to his boss who dispatches a few guys to go investigate. The three Coast Guards barely come close to the suspicious boat and its occupants before they’re promptly shot and killed, with the antagonists making a quick getaway. The original Coast Guard, who is still with his family, a ways back, knows something is off and pursues the fleeing killers and while doesn’t manage to catch them, he does kill one, and it’s just enough to get the start of the case rolling.

Lucas Davenport no longer works with the BCA but rather with the US Marshal Service and his help is requested, though it’s up to him to pick up the case or not. He does take it on, but mostly to help run the street side of it, what with his experience with that and all. When something awful happens, it shakes Davenport to his core and it’s a little while before he’s back on his feet, but this time he calls Virgil in to help.

The book essentially separates in different months, showing that this case spans for quite a while. The first half is mostly Davenport centric while the second part focuses on both Davenport and Virgil with Virgil acting undercover, placing him in a very dangerous position. Anything can go wrong and with the enemies and killers, this time, being the Mafia, the danger is only magnified! There are several people already, throughout the book, that “go away” as the killers and Mafia start to clean up their trails and it’s terrifying to know that anyone related to the case can just potentially up and disappear. You can’t trust anyone, not even a person eating in the next table over at a diner, because who knows if they’re connected to the big boss or not.

“Damn straight,” Regio said. “Don’t even think about hocking that gear and running back to Iowa. We got guys in Iowa.”

This book started out a little slow and the FBI aren’t getting anywhere in the case, which is where the Marshals had to step in offering their help. You’d think that, like back in Bloody Genius where the charge cop was none too pleased to receive Virgil’s help (because it would make the police department look bad were he to crack a case that stumped them), you’d get a similar reaction from the FBI supervising agent, but no, agent Weaver is quite happy to receive anything at this point because their leads and investigation are leading them nowhere. Davenport goes off to start his investigation, slowly and easy does it at first, with his buddy and fellow Marshal, Bob, until something awful happens that knocks both Davenport, his whole team, and the FBI way off course and it’s a bit before everybody collects themselves again and Virgil joins in on the show followed by Rae, another fellow Marshal.

This book could definitely be read as a standalone, which had been my original worry. Sure, there may be developments in the last few books that could explain some traits or give you some insight to references mention in Ocean Prey, but you’re fine reading this on its own. Characters are properly introduced, so you wouldn’t be missing them if they were reoccurring characters. I personally enjoyed Rae a lot and by the end I think even Virgil, who works with her for the first time here, is in love with how good of a cop she is. They work fantastically as a pair, watching each other’s back and catching subtle cues between each other.

In comparison to the Virgil Flowers books, this was something new that I think I quite enjoyed. Most, if not all, of the settings in the Virgil Flowers books are in the cold and icy state of Minnesota, but here, we’re all over the place from New Jersey and New York to Florida! As a resident of NY, there were even places I recognized in the Tri-State area (always neat to see books set near where you live).

Manhattan always smelled like week-old sour buttered popcorn to Lucas, but he usually visited in late spring or early autumn; on this day in January, with the temperature hovering around twenty, it smelled like week-old sour cold-buttered ice.

The following book is slated for later this year and is another duo Virgil and Davenport adventure. I think Virgil might have taken quite a liking to this Marshal work and I definitely am looking forward to more from him, Davenport, and Rae!

Ocean Prey‘s ending was pretty good as well and left me with a book hangover, missing the warmth of the adrenaline coursing through my vain that lasted through most of the last ten chapters. Another awesome book from John Sandford!

Time for some golden eggs! Ocean Prey by John Sandford gets…

5 Shiny Shiny Eggs!

Book Review: Holy Ghost by John Sandford

Happy Saturday my lovely peeps🐥!
The final of my rereads, this book was one that I had read out of order, so we’re going to take a big hop from book five, yesterday’s post, to book 11!

Book Description

Title: Holy Ghost
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 11
Author: John Sandford
Edition: Physical > Paperback
Length: 402 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural

Blurb (Goodreads)

Wheatfield, Minnesota – a metropolis of seven hundred souls. The word “moribund” might have been invented for Wheatfield. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would—until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: “I’ll Do What I Can”) and a buddy come up with a scheme to put the town on the map. They’d heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the whole town into a shrine, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And all those pilgrims needed food, shelter, all kinds of crazy things, right? They’ll get rich! What could go wrong?

When the first dead body shows up, they find out. That’s only the beginning of their troubles—and those of Virgil Flowers’—as they are about to discover all too soon.

Review

Holy Ghost is the eleventh book in the Virgil Flowers series and starts off with the mayor of Wheatfield, a small town in Minnesota with a population of roughly 650 residents, shooting flies as they come in through the door.

This, in a town whose population had fallen from 829 in 2000 to 721 in the last census, and now probably hovered around 650, leaving behind twenty or thirty empty houses and a bunch of empty apartments over the downtown stores. Half the stores were themselves shuttered, and some had been simply abandoned by their owners, eventually—and pointlessly—taken by the county due to lack of property tax payments.

There’s not much hope left in a town that’s clearly dying and everybody from its inhabitants to their mayor knows this. What they need is something big. Something to draw in the crowd; a miracle. And a miracle does happen, sightings and even cellphone recordings of the Virgin Mary at the local church! Suddenly, there’s no end to the tourists who flock to the small town in hopes of seeing the apparition. It’s great and even helps revive a near dead economy!

What they don’t need is are shootings, specifically what could be a nut job on the loose, taking people down with a rifle, sniping from who knows where. It’s time to call in the big guns and Virgil Flowers is that guy. Only an hour from his home base in Mankato, he says goodbye to his girlfriend, promising to be back in time for the ultrasound of their baby and he’s off to this small town where the Virgin Mary is apparently showing up along with a shooter.

This was a pretty good book and one of my favorite from the series. In this book, Virgil struggles to piece together multiple things. The thing that especially plagues him is, nobody hears the gunshots. You’d think there’s at least be one witness who heard something, anything, but nobody does! Jumping from place to place, he quickly finds more bodies and the deaths are starting to rack up with his clues not particularly leading to anywhere.

There are several pretty intense scenes including the injury of a fellow cop. There are multiple moments where Virgil is willing to put himself in danger if it means getting a glimpse of a clue. The ending and climax scene, as always, were superbly done and had me at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen.

The actual ending of the book was really nice too, involving relationships and family. I’ve followed Virgil from his first book to where he his now and knowing how he is, it’s really nice and kind of sweet to see how the book ended.

A really good book, decent thriller with a sense of urgency hanging over the protagonist’s head. There are some good scenes, thrills and suspenses, and Shake and Jenkins, being the BCA’s official “thugs”, are back at it again to help aid Virgil in this job. I always appreciate these two golf loving meatheads because they bring a sense of comedic relief to what could have been an all intense book. I have to go back and read the 10th book now, as I read Holy Ghost out of order, and I certainly can’t wait to do so and then jump right into Bloody Genius afterwards.

4½ Shiny Shiny Eggs

Book Review: Shock Wave by John Sandford

It’s finally Friday! Happy No-Alarm Day Eve, my lovely peeps🐥!

Today’s post is the fifth of the six reread reviews featuring book five of the Virgil Flowers series, Shock Wave by John Sandford and the only one of the bunch that I reread from cover to cover and thus counted towards my yearly reading goal. Can you blame me? It’s my favorite one in the series so far, though my recently finished Ocean Prey may actually give it a run for its money!

꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆ F – R – I – Y – A – Y !! ꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆

Book Description

Title: Shock Wave
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 05
Author: John Sandford
Edition: Physical > Paperback
Length: 388 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural

TW/CW: Death, Murder, Graphic Violence, Language, Graphic Deaths, Domestic Terrorism, Bombs, Bomb Related Injuries and Death

꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆ F – R – I – Y – A – Y !! ꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆

Blurb (Goodreads)

The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: local merchants, fearing for their businesses, and environmentalists, predicting ecological disaster. The protests don’t seem to be slowing the project, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.

The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart’s headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage-and they do. Who’s behind the bombs, and how far will they go? It’s Virgil Flowers’s job to find out . . . before more people get killed.

Review

Phew, what a read! What a reread! You’d think with it being my favorite book in the entire series, I’d both remember each detail and not be surprised at how things ended up, but nope! Shocked the first time. Shocked the second time. To relive the absolute joys of the events, suspense, and emotions as if they were my first has been amazing indeed!

The fifth book to the Virgil Flowers series, Shock Wave starts off on a gruesome note. Somewhere away from the usual Minnesota setting, the book begins in Michigan, at the Pinnacle, PyeMart’s headquarters; PyeMart being a superstore chain. The first bomb goes off on the top floor of the Pinnacle, killing an innocent employee and injuring another. Then a second bomb explodes in Minnesota, at the actual construction site of an upcoming PyeMart in the small town, yet again killing one, injurying another. The ATF is called in to investigate and so does Virgil Flowers.

Once again, we have Virgil on a case and this time, he sets a friendly bet of a deadline with PyeMart’s owner, Pye Willard, that he’d catch the bomber within the week.

This one was quite the mystery and there’s no shortage of suspense, thrills, and gripping moments. In this case, even Virgil finds himself in a tight position and his own life in danger. In just his first few days there, several more bombs explode all around the place and Virgil and his team need to put a stop to this before it gets out of hand. Except, there’s too many places to start the investigation.

A lot of people in Butternut Falls hate the upcoming PyeMart, the town’s practically in a civil war over it’s plans. Sure, it might bring some jobs to the local youth, but other than that, it’ll destroy the town. The local fishermen are greatly displeased, some maybe even radical enough to blow all related plans up to the store. The run off from the store could harm the water down at the creek and their beautiful lake. And then? There’s rumors that the town council were brought, bribed, to overturn their initial vote and allow the plans to continue. Between the money aspect and trying to protect the local environment, there’s a long long list for Virgil to start looking.

The worst part is, with bombers, you never know what goes on in their head. With a penchant adrenaline and life or death situations, Virgil might catch a culprit who has a motive tied to the previously mentioned money and environment OR…it’s a nut. And nuts are harder to pin down. No amount of hints and clues to bring you to the culprit, because they might not have one.

“Maybe there’s more than one,” Pye suggested.
“I don’t think so,” Virgil said. “Nuts don’t come in bunches. Only grapes do.”

There were a lot of very intense moments in this book and even some of the smaller events came close to jaw-dropping, but it’s the actual climax and ending of the story that I loved most. I like to think that I can always count on John Sandford to provide me with a decent thriller, but this one takes the cake. I almost got whip lash on the turn of events or rather, the plot twist followed by a plot twist followed by plot twist. My favorite moment was going, “Aw heck, I guess the wrong bad guy again” to “Ah-ha!” to “Ah nah…” to “OH GOD I KNEW IT!” Finally, I hit the jackpot.

Once again, there are some recurring characters in here lending Virgil a hand, namely our two favorite BCA thugs, Shrake and Jenkins. This time, however, we also have many other very interesting characters that were there to help get the investigation rolling: Earl Ahlquist, the Kandiyohi country sheriff, Jim Barlow with the ATF who admitted to Virgil that while he’s great with the technical stuff, he’d need Virgil’s social butterfly skills to help with the actual communications part of the investigation, O’Hara, a female deputy, some very intriguing suspects/resident of Butternuts, and even a band of divers!

All in all, a fantastic read. I loved it from the first few pages to the last and I feel like the more I read it, regardless of how much time in between, the more I’ll remember the plot so reexperiencing it “for the first time” may never happen again, but I never need an excuse to reread a Sandfrods book, especially a Virgil Flowers one. Lives are in danger, nobody knows who’s next, innocent people are dying, and time is of major essence. An amazing read with a whiplash worthy end.

“You can’t see potential money,” Virgil said.

“But it’s real,” Pye said, shaking a fat finger at him. “It’s the thing that drives this whole country. People thinking about money, and how to get it. There are people out there who break their hearts over money. It happens every day. The shrinks talk about sex, and cops talk about drugs, and liberals talk about fundamentalist religion, and the right-wingers talk about creeping socialism, but what people think of, most of the time, is money. When I was the horniest I ever was, and I was a horny rascal, I didn’t think about sex for more’n an hour a day, and I’d spend sixteen hours thinking about money.”

Time for some golden eggs! Shock Wave by John Sandford gets…

Five shiny shiny eggs!

Book Review: Bad Blood by John Sandford

Happy Thursday, my lovely peeps🐥!
Today’s post is the fourth of the six reread reviews featuring book four of the Virgil Flowers series, Bad Blood by John Sandford!


Do you know how memorable reviews can be? Once, someone had pointed out, in one of the Goodreads reviews of one of Sandford’s books, about how with so many deaths they don’t know how there’s still anyone alive in Minnesota and I laughed. I think about that statement with every death between the Virgil Flowers and Prey books now.

Book Description

Title: Bad Blood
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 04
Author: John Sandford
Edition: EBook > Kindle
Length: 404 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural
TW/CW: Death, Murder, Graphic Violence, Language, Abuse of Minors, Sexual Abuse of Minors

Blurb (Goodreads)

One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator- and a young man hits him on the head with, was it a steel bar?, and then drops him into the grain bin as he first waits until he’s sure he’s dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the “accident.” Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers, who quickly breaks the kid down.

The next day the boy is found hanging in his cell. Remorse? Virgil isn’t so sure. As he investigates, he begins to uncover a multigeneration, multifamily conspiracy – a series of crimes of such monstrosity that, though he’s seen an awful lot in his life, even he has difficulty in comprehending.

More importantly, he has to figure out what to do.

Review

The fourth installation of the Virgil Flowers book and of all of the rereads, this was the only one that I got midway to and had to forfeit because I suddenly remembered the plot and simply couldn’t continue reading from the sheer disgust and horror reading it the first time had left me. The book itself wasn’t bad, but the storyline, crime, and even the minor characters (the townspeople) were downright awful. The victims here are children and teens, all minors who undergo some gross abuse, especially sexual abuse and I didn’t want to read it again.

Bad Blood starts out with a scene where a young man, a soon-to-be college athlete with a very bright future, is in the middle of his clerk shift at a local soybean grain elevator when he murders a man, ending his crime with a “fuck you” and “You sick fuckin’ prick…” Immediately, you’re opening the book wondering, “Damn, what the hell did he do???”

The young man tries to stage it to look like the grate had fallen, fatally hitting the victim’s head, but it’s a poorly done amateur job. His lie is quickly crushed and he is arrested shortly afterwards. He’s later found dead in his cell, by apparent suicide.

A good kid, no past history with crime. No motive. Nothing to go on, but things are definitely sketchy. It doesn’t help that the officer on watch, during the hour the kid “kills himself” happens to be a crooked and corrupt cop with his own set of shady practices. You can’t really trust his I donno, he was alive one hour and dead the next statement, now can you? Virgil is called in to help investigate and when he arrives to investigate the first two deaths, a third occurs.

Action and thrill wise, this was an epic read. I loved that part of the book, but the children victims? That’s the awful part. There’s three deaths, with very close links, right off the bat and, like any of the other “small town” investigations Virgil looks into, if given a town with no problems for many years and suddenly there are three deaths in the same week? “Extremely suspicious” doesn’t even begin to cover things.

Fast-paced with no major pauses in the middle, Virgil is constantly on the move and following leads. Tangled in a giant web of lies that half the town is in on, everybody covering every other body’s asses, in this book, our protagonist will find himself unearthing deeply buried secrets as he begins to investigate a cult that may not be what it looks from the front. As the son of a minister himself, I thought it kind of neat that he would drop verses to catch people in their lies.

The climax of the book was where things get ugly and shit hits the fan big time. There’s a major gunfight that was quite the adrenaline rush as Virgil gets the help of my two favorite recurring characters, Shrake and Jenkins. Being a pretty hard book with a lot of tense and disturbing moments, I enjoyed the minor humorous moments sprinkled in along with Virgil’s usual creative ways in obtaining knowledge and town gossip. A very good thriller with nasty secrets and vile people; I just wouldn’t call it an “enjoyable read” like I usually would with a Virgil Flowers book.

“If that boy were any dumber, he’d have to be watered twice a week.”

“I’ve never been overgunned. I have been under-gunned. After that happened, I reconceptualized.”

“‘So?’
‘So I threw a little Deuteronomy thirty-one:six at them, one of the most famous verses in the Bible. They had no idea,’ Virgil said. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
‘Well—just because they’re Bible-based, doesn’t mean they know every word,’ Coakley said.
‘They should know those words,’ Virgil said. ‘There’s something going on here, out in the countryside, and we don’t know what it is, do we, Mrs. Jones?'”

Time for some golden eggs! Bad Blood by John Sandford gets…

4.5 Shiny Shiny Eggs!

Book Review: Rough Country by John Sandford

Midweek is here and it’s hard fought!
Happy Wednesday, my lovely peeps 🐥 !

Today’s post is the third of the six reread reviews featuring book three of the Virgil Flowers series, Rough Country by John Sandford!

Book Description

Title: Rough Country
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 03
Author: John Sandford
Edition: EBook > Kindle
Length: 388 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural

Blurb (Goodreads)

Virgil Flowers has always been known for having a somewhat active, er, social life, but he’s probably not going to be getting too many opportunities for that during his new case. While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, he gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort, where a woman has been shot while kayaking.

The resort is for women only, a place to relax, get fit, recover from plastic surgery, commune with nature, and while it didn’t start out to be a place mostly for those with Sapphic inclinations, that’s pretty much what it is today.

Which makes things all the more complicated for Virgil, because as he begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented country singer. The more he digs, the move he discovers the arrows of suspicion that point in many directions, encompassing a multitude of motivations: jealousy, blackmail, greed, anger, and fear. Then he discovers that this is not the first murder, that there was a second, seemingly unrelated, the year before. And that there’s about to be a third, definitely related, any time now. And as for the fourth… well, Virgil better hope he can catch the killer before that happens.

Because it could be his own.

Review

The third installation of the Virgil Flowers series, in Rough Country, the story opens up with a woman shot by an unknown sniper as she’s kayaking in the middle of the night. McDill, the CEO of a pretty big advertisement agency, is out kayaking, basking in the calm night as she ponders about how she now owns a majority share of the firm. As she muses over a big ol’ list of people she intends to fire (while increasing profits without sacrificing productivity) she’s shot in the forehead, her body found the following morning. Virgil Flowers, nearby on his own break from work and having a blast in the fishing tournament with his buddy Johnson Johnson (yes, that’s literally his name) is called in by his boss, Lucas Davenport, to investigate.

In this book, Virgil finds himself struggling as his leads bring him to absolutely nowhere. To make things worse, he finds himself tangled up in a massive web of love, sex, and money that centers around the resort that the victim had been staying in, the Eagle Nest Lodge. All three are great reasons to kill a person, but the problem is just about everyone connected to McDill was involved in one of the three with her. Everyone seems to be a suspect but there’s no solid clue and during the midpoint of the book, even Virgil admits to himself that he really had nothing good to bring to trial.

While not as particularly thrilling as the first two books, it’s got its own set of great moments. We eventually boil down to a couple of prime suspects and all of the clues seem to lead one way until there is a ball of twists thrown at both Virgil and the readers towards the end.

As with many of the other Virgil Flowers books, while this is part of a series, Rough Country works out pretty well as a standalone read. Still though, it’s possible you may come across a glimmer of a spoiler here and there. For example, through this entire book, new characters would greet Virgil as “Hey! You’re that cop who did so and so back at the falls!” and in book two, people did the same, “Hey! Heard you [spoiler] someone a while back? I heard about you!”

Point is, Virgil’s a pretty famous cop who pulls headlining crazy stunts or rather…always finds himself in headliner worthy crazy cases. It makes sense…Davenport did promise him that they’d only ever give Virgil the hard cases. If you don’t mind a small glimpse here and there, it’s a pretty good standalone. Most of these books are case by case, so things tend to resolve by the end and don’t carry over (so don’t worry about cliffhanger endings). If you do happen to read in order, they’re actually pretty nice Easter eggs to reminisce over (“Oh hey! I remember that moment!”).

Overall, a pretty decent thriller and the ending did throw me for a loop (just as the previous book’s did). While the readers and Virgil eventually zero in on a smaller list of suspects, there’s always one last surprise or two in the end and then all your theories go out the window. For Rough Country though, there was an even bigger twist that had me gasping at the revelation.

Once again, I guessed the wrong bad guy.

Time for some golden eggs! Rough Country by John Sandford gets…

Book Review: Heat Lightning by John Sandford

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Today’s post, the second review of the six rereads: Heat Lightning by John Sandford!

Book Description

Title: Heat Lightning
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 02
Author: John Sandford
Edition: EBook > Kindle
Length: 388 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Police Procedural

Blurb (Goodreads)

On a hot, humid summer night in Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A body has been found near a veterans’ memorial in Stillwater with two shots to the head and a lemon in his mouth—exactly like the body they found two weeks ago.

Working the murders, Flowers becomes convinced that someone is keeping a list—with many more names on it. And when he discovers what connects them all, he’s almost sorry. Because if it’s true, then this whole thing leads down a lot more trails than he thought it did—and every one of them is booby-trapped.

Review

Heat Lightning is the second installation of the Virgil Flowers series and takes place a little later after his incident in Bluestem Town. Relatively tall with blond hair too long to be a cop’s and constantly going about investigations with indie band tee shirts, Virgil looks more like your typical surfer dude than a police officer. He loves to fish, even occasionally tots around his fishing gear (boat included), and outside of being an officer, Virgil writes for outdoor magazines. He’s a pretty chill cop!

Like many of Sandford’s books, the story often opens up to the POV of the antagonist as they commit a crime; sometimes the first killing and sometimes part of an already on-going chain of deaths. This time around, we have two antagonists, going by the name of the Shooter and the Scout as they take aim and kill both a man and his dog as they take their daily night walks before dumping his body at a veteran’s monument, a lemon in his mouth. The second chapter starts off the main of the story with Virgil being called in to investigate, this being the second of the “lemon killings.” Just two weeks ago, there had been another body found near a veteran’s memorial, lemon in mouth. It’s no coincidence!

I thought that most of the story was somewhat of a thrill. At all times, the two killers seem to constantly be at least one step ahead of Virgil and no matter what cautions are taken, bodies still keep piling up. There’s a list of people, with many more names on it, and that means there will be more bodies, but Virgil just can’t seem to get to the bottom of this.

The actual climax, revelation, and motive behind all of the killers was pretty wild. It was a crazy ending for sure and there were some twists thrown in there. Some I actually managed to see (a split second before Virgil himself realizes) and some really threw me in for a loop. There are some really tense moments in here with a fantastic and adrenaline rushing shootout scene towards the end. Davenport and his own team and friends (i.e. Del Capslock) make a cameo from the Prey/Lucas Davenport series and I kind of enjoyed seeing the whole interaction. Of course, the BCA’s official duo of thugs, Shrake and Jenkins, also show up and it’s always a good time when they do.

All in all, a pretty good book with a nice amount of thrill and guess work thrown about.

Time for some golden eggs! Heat Lightning by John Sandford gets…

Four Shiny Shiny Eggs!