Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shock Wave

A Virgil Flowers Novel
By John Sandford
Putnam 388 pgs
From my personal library
Rating: Read This Book!

Virgil Flowers is back, our favorite shitkicker detective. This is the OK Corral: not only is he after the bad guys but he's cleaning up the town while he's at it.

Our story begins when a bomb explodes in a Michigan high rise housing the corporate headquarters of PyeMart, a builder of some sort of upscale Walmart things. Three weeks later another bomb explodes in Butternut Falls, Minnesota, at a PyeMart construction site. So the ATF shows up and requests assistance from the state of Minnesota and Lucas Davenport (of the Prey series fame) dispatches "that fuckin' Flowers" to investigate. Lest anyone object, this is a term of endearment and a running joke in Mr. Sandford's Prey and Virgil Flowers novels.

Our hero arrives and finds that everyone in town has an opinion on PyeMart, and almost everyone in town has a stake in the new store. The new store would provide jobs for the people of Butternut Falls. The store would put Butternut Falls merchants out of business from price competition. Some people need the new store for it's new utilities and city services west of town. Some people south of town, where the City originally planned to build, are going to lose big real estate money. When PyeMart came up for a vote in the city council, three members voted yay, three voted nay, and the mayor broke the tie with her yay. Now it seems a few of the people's representatives are skulking around town with a little extra money to spend. 

Shock Wave is again a great John Sandford book, a pleasure to read. Just when you become complacent, appreciative but complacent, he serves up a different tale. The bad guy here is building bombs, not stabbing anyone to death or something, so there's a more technical investigation this time. Not as much "guns'a'blazin."  I thought this book slowed in the middle but that may be because the author's books are usually more of a macho physical effort. Which I like. Very much. Anywho, Virgil breaks new BCA ground with cyber-sleuthing, and rest assured there are plenty of high explosives to go around. Another way Shock Wave diverges from the formula is that there is no romantic claptrap going on. Why do so many authors insist that the male cop has to fall in love with the female criminal who is beautiful but vulnerable, blah blah blah? Thank the Lord we don't have to do that again. The end is well-and deftly crafted, even elegant. So again I can confidently recommend a new John Sandford novel, Shock Wave. Enjoy!

If you're interested in John Sandford's other books this is the place to look:

Fun extra and he's got this about 80% right:

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