Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Bad Blood by John Sandford


Title: Bad Blood
Author: John Sandford
Series: Virgil Flowers (#4)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: 
 September 21, 2010
Reviewer: Ethan

Review: A small Minnesota town is shocked when local high school football star, Bobby Tripp, is arrested for the brutal murder of farmer Jacob Flood. Immediately, this opening scene, in which we read the details of Tripp killing Flood, strays from John Sandford's usual practice of hiding the identity of the killer. Knowing Tripp's identity, I was certain that this would be a story that was much different from any of the previous installments in this series.  Sure enough, Tripp is found the next day, dead in his jail cell from an apparent suicide. Upon further investigation, it is revealed that Tripp's death was involuntary which could mean only one thing. . . murder.

Enter Virgil Flowers. He probably better resembles an aging cowboy/rocker, but there is no denying his skill. Despite his unconventional appearance and behavior, he has become one of the best investigators working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension(BCA). He is called by the town's sheriff, Lee Coakely. Coakley is an attractive, recent divorcee with two sons. From their first encounter, there is palpable chemistry between her and Virgil. But there is no time for romantic excursions. It is soon revealed that the officer who was guarding Tripp's cell has also, apparently, committed suicide. As you can probably predict, his death is quickly determined to be a murder, as well.

As Virgil investigates, he comes across two possible directions at which to follow the case. The first involves the young Bobby Tripp. As a high school sports star, he was sure to get a large scholarship to continue playing ball at the college level. But an injury left him in his small town. Virgil's snooping reveals that Tripp may have been gay. Stuck in his small town and hiding the secret to his sexuality, it is possible that Jacob Flood threatened to reveal Tripp's secret, leading Tripp to kill him.

The other thread involves the dead officer's secretive church. Perhaps more reminiscent of a cult, the church is rumored to condone strange sex acts, including pairing underage children with older members. This thread reveals actions dating over 100 years into the towns history and possible connections to previous murders. With all of these issues comming to light, Virgil is thrust into some of the darkest crimes he has ever experienced.

This is kind of a change of pace for John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. Yes, he continues to make Virgil one of the most entertaining and relatable characters in crime fiction, but he forces his lovable character into some of the darkest situations he's ever written about. Rape is never an easy topic, especially when it involves children, but Sandford's skills as a writer allow him to touch upon the subject with a delicate hand, while still advancing his fast paced mystery. This is the best Virgil Flowers novel to date, with a strong web of mystery that will keep you engrossed until the very last page.

1 comment:

Quỳnh Trang Nguyễn said...

Hoàng Quân là đơn vị hàng đầu cho thue xe 16 chocho thue xe 7 cho uy tín nhat Ha Noi.

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