By John Sandford
Whenever my favorite of my Top Ten (Ahem) Mature Genre Writers has a new book out, I’m in crime heaven. Fortunately, those happy occasions occur with some frequency, as the prolific John Sandford maintains two series with two separate (but acquainted) protagonists. Both work for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota, but the similarities end there.
Lucas Davenport, the hero of Sandford’s two dozen Prey novels, is smart, rich, tough and slick. He likes designer suits and goes for ties that bring out the blue in his eyes. He used to be a skirt-chaser, until he got married and had kids. Now he just window-shops. And cracks cases.
Virgil Flowers, hero of Sandford’s latest thriller, Deadline, is a soulful Good Old Boy, who favors jeans, cowboy boots and tee-shirts that commemorate rock bands. He’s smart, not rich, goes in for fishing and females (hence, his nickname, “that F-ing Flowers”). Married three times, he’s kind of in recovery from that now. Not above using the occasional local focus group to solve a case, Virgil’s a preacher’s kid, who thinks about God when he’s drifting off to sleep. Who could resist loving a character like that?
Deadline finds Virgil wrestling with two cases – a murdered reporter who was onto a big story, and a gang of dognappers. Does he solve both? (Heck, are there lakes in Minnesota?) As usual, Sandford keeps the action rolling along, the dialogue fresh and funny, and Virgil’s humanity front and center. Spoiler alert: at the end of the story, Virgil makes a wonderful new friend.
Home for the holidays with Deadline worked for me. Can’t wait for my next Lucas Davenport fix!