A Virgil Flowers Mystery by John Sandford
Review: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers agrees to look into a case of dognapping in a rural community along the Mississippi River, only to find himself drawn into a case of a suspicious murder, in Deadline, the eighth mystery in this series by John Sandford.
Virgil's friend Johnson Johnson warns him that the victims of the dognappers are ready to band together and seek out the perpetrators themselves if law enforcement doesn't do something soon. Virgil meets with them and they agree to give him two days to find their "family members" or else they'll take matters into their own hands. While searching for the dogs, Virgil uncovers another criminal operation, the manufacture of methamphetamine in a secluded wooded area, which necessitates bringing in the DEA. Meanwhile, his BCA boss Lucas Davenport calls asking him to look into the murder of a jogger, which took place nearby. It's not likely to be connected to anything else he's working on, but since he's already in the area …
Virgil Flowers certainly has his hands full, and the first half of Deadline zips along as he juggles each of the cases. By the midpoint, the drug lab has been shut down and Virgil has a good handle on the dognapping case, but the murder has him somewhat puzzled. (The reader, however, is in on who killed the jogger and why from the very beginning.) The action decelerates considerably at this point, as the story essentially becomes a police procedural: How will Virgil come up with enough evidence to allow the District Attorney to bring charges against the killer? It's interesting how Virgil builds his case, and it is solidly developed from a plot stand-point, but after the breakneck clip of the first half, it's comparatively slow going here. On balance, this is an enjoyable entry in this series, but editing out the methamphetamine subplot (which is completely superfluous) and smoothing out the pacing would have made this already good book a far better one.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an ARC of Deadline for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Field of Prey
Putnam (Hardcover), May 2014
ISBN-13: 9780399162381; ISBN-10: 0399162380
Putnam (Hardcover), April 2016
ISBN-13: 9780399176050; ISBN-10: 0399176055
Location(s) referenced in Deadline: Minnesota
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Deadline by John Sandford — A Virgil Flowers Mystery
Publication Date: October 2014
List Price: $27.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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