Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: "SHOCK WAVE: A Virgil Flowers Novel" by John Sandford

Virgil Flowers returns in SHOCK WAVE and the read is a good one. This is the fifth novel of the series and this time he is chasing a bomber. Virgil is based in Mankato, Minnesota and therefore routinely covers the southern part of the state for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He also goes whether his boss, Lucas Davenport, sends him. Virgil has quite the reputation, not just with the ladies, and always gets the job done.
The latest bombing was of a construction trailer located at the site of a planned PyeMart store. PyeMart is a major grocery and more type chain store deal and somebody is trying to stop their latest venture. This just hours after the company’s board room in their very secure office tower was blown up killing one and wounding another. Like the office tower bombing, the destruction of the construction trailer has killed one and wounded another. Lucas Davenport sends Virgil to the small town of Butternut to deal with the problem in typical Virgil Flowers fashion.

That means both traditional police work and a reliance on the unorthodox methods when traditional police work does not give Virgil Flowers the answers he needs. Butternut is one of those small towns where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. That means everyone knows who the folks on the edge are and also know that most of those types can’t pull these bombing off successfully. Yet, somebody is doing it because it keeps happening.

As expected, Virgil does finally solve the case in a fast paced book that also occasionally provides a laugh out loud moment. No new ground in terms of character development is broken here. Instead, the focus is on the case and chasing a bomber that is striking again and again in the area. In a refreshing change from recent books in this series, discussions and observations about sex and sexual perversions are almost non-existent making for a much better read. The focus is on the case, the suspects, and how to stop the attacks. The read moves very quickly with a minimum of character exploration. That is especially obvious in the way the secondary subplot is handled as it could have easily been expanded some to add some complexity to the book. Despite that minor nit, there are plenty of twists and turns in this nearly 400 page novel to give you a good read.

SHOCK WAVE: A Virgil Flowers Novel
John Sandford
G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group)
ISBN# 978-0-399-15769-1
388 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011


Laura Elvebak said...

Great review, Kevin. I have the book and it's on my TBR table. After reading your review, I've moved it up to the top.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Laura. My review was just accused of being "sketchy" elsewhere but some things can't be talked about without killing the book. I did enjoy it.

Hope you do too!


Carolyn J. Rose said...

I really enjoyed this book, especially all the characters and plot twists. And Virgil's my kind of guy.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

He works for me too. Lucas is still THE MAN but Flowers is growing on me.