The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of Bad Blood by John Sandford

Bad Blood
John Sandford

“That F**kin Flowers!”

Anyone that has ever read a John Sandford novel probably recognizes this unique moniker, the dubious nickname for Virgil Flowers, of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

I was familiar with Virgil’s character from previous books featuring Lucas Davenport, but was surprised to learn that John Sandford had created a series featuring Flowers.


‘F**kin Flowers’ is the loose cannon of the BCA. Wearing cowboy boots daily and dragging his fishing boat around with him as he travels the state on his investigations, he is nonetheless nobody to be trifled with if someone goes against the rule of law.


One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator- and a young man hits him on the head with a steel bar, drops him into the grain bin, waits until he's sure he's dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the "accident."
 Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers to head the investigation. As Virgil investigates, he begins to uncover a multigenerational, multifamily conspiracy- a series of crimes of such monstrosity that, though he's seen an awful lot in his life, even he has difficulty in comprehending it...and in figuring out what to do next.

A well liked young man suddenly takes a life, before they can get his story out of him, he is found hanging in his cell, dead. Suicide? There are a couple of clues that indicate that it may not be, but before they can prove it one way or the other, the head of the jail also ends up dead, maybe by his own hand also.

What the hell?

The investigation moves slowly through the next few days as the tightlipped people of the county yield little information. There are rumors, however, that this is all tied to a religious group that owns most of the farms on one end of the county.

Closer investigation reveals that they might be more than a little freethinking toward sex…and not just between the adults!

An exhaustive investigation and a sting confirms their fears, and as the sheriff takes a warrant to the first house to gather evidence, she is surrounded by the rifle carrying men of the World of Spirit (the name the religion goes by, (WOS)).

Soon enough the sheriff, her deputy, and a teenage girl are hiding in the bathtub as bullets fly through the walls and floor of the house. Virgil and another investigator have to fight their way in, shooting many of the WOS in the process.

The next 24 hours see many of the homes of the WOS set ablaze by their owners in an attempt to hide evidence, including the dead of their faith.

This action packed novel is full of twists and turns, building through the whole story to the exciting ending.

And…Virgil beds the sheriff! Who, as it happens, is female!

I definitely recommend this Virgil Flowers novel, John Sandford has definitely outdone himself on this one!

JT Lewis

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