I do believe I’ve talked before about the series I read cos they comfort me. Not in a hot toddy and blanket way. Although maybe that is exactly how they comfort me… if a hot toddy involves alcohol of some sort…. but either way, what I’m saying is John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers (aka that f*cking Flowers) series are a couple I rely on to get me through the hard times. And the easy times.
Any time really.
by John Sandford
Series: Virgil Flowers #10
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 0399176063, 9780399176067
Virgil Flowers knows the town of Trippton, Minnesota, a little too well. A few years back, with the help of a retired schoolteacher, he investigated the corrupt--and as it turned out, homicidal--local school board, and now the teacher's back with even more alarming news:
Somebody is killing "her girls."
Over the past year, three women from the same high school class of twenty years ago have been found dead in unusual circumstances, and now that there's a mid-winter reunion coming up, she doesn't know what might happen. Neither does Virgil, but as he wraps his coat a little tighter and begins to dig into twenty years' worth of traumas, feuds, and bad blood, one thing becomes increasingly clear to him. It's true what they say: High school is murder.
I missed the last book in this series and Sandford’s books seem hard to get hold of as a reviewer. In Australia. And of course my TBR pile is such that I only venture outside of it during the week I take ‘off’ as a Christmas break so other than that I kinda stick to the books I’m sent by publishers.
Anyhoo, I hadn’t remembered Virgil has hisself a girlfriend. (And yes, I meant the double ‘ss’ thing there. Down with the lingo of Minnesotans as I am. Although I’m not entirely sure where Minnesota is. Maybe I’m thinking of Texas? Yes, ignorant Aussie here.)
As is SO often the case with Flowers, he’s on leave when he gets the call that there’s a crime he just MUST investigate. As an aside… in that respect, I’m pretty sure he has more fishing, photography and writing weekends and holidays than any other cop I’ve read about.
So he’s on the trail of the killer, though all and sundry seem to believe the death in question will be some sort of accident. Or something. Town tycoon and banker Gina Hemming was not particularly loved locally but similarly it seems no one really hated her enough to cosh her with something, drag her to an icy river and dump her in it.
As usual Flowers plays hard and fast with the law, cutting corners and more interested in justice than legalities which of course is his raison d’être…. as the case may be.
Of course, Flowers gets himself involved in another local case with a private investigator. I initially liked PI Margaret Griffin and wondered if she’d spin off into her own series. She’s savvy. Disenfranchised and disillusioned enough to warrant airtime from the author who’s given us Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport. But after a good start she (and her case involving sexualised Mattel Barbie dolls – yes really!) became a bit unwieldy and kinda pointless.
I was perhaps a little disappointed in this book as it brought nothing really new. There is perhaps a bit of character growth or change afoot for Virgil at the end of this book but the crime / whodunnit itself wasn’t hugely alluring. We meet the killer in the beginning so I kept waiting for a twist or something to jolt me out of my malaise. And I know these are crime fiction / police procedurals more than thrillers but it all felt a bit stale.
Sandford has recently changed up Lucas’s role and I wonder if Virgil needs a kick up the butt as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep coming back for more (for now) but though I used to love his schtick it now feels a bit ‘done’. Is it is just me, I wonder? I’ll be keen to hear what others think.
Deep Freeze by John Sandford was published by Penguin Random House (Putnam) and available from 17 October 2017.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley for review purposes.