Monday, October 8, 2012

Mad River by John Sandford.....

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I think Hubby has read everything John Sandford ever wrote. I've read a few of his, and while I find them very well-written and entertaining, I sometimes get burned out on the whole cops-and-robbers (except they're usually cops-and-murderers) theme.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character is Virgil Flowers, a detective with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota. Virgil has appeared in several Sandford books, but to be honest I can't remember how many of them I've read.

In this book Virgil is on the trail of a trio of killers who have gone on a rampage after a seemingly-routine robbery (burglary? I'm never sure which one) goes bad. Signs point to one of the killers being paid to kill the first victim, and the domino effect after the first crime is astounding.

I like Virgil Flowers mostly because he comes across as very REAL. (I realize I put that in almost every positive book post I write, which may tell you something about me that even I don't know.) Some crime writers have a main character who can do everything except leap tall buildings in a single bound. Set upon by a whole gang of thieves/robbers/murderers/thugs? No problem! Give me a break.

Virgil, however, doesn't know it all and doesn't always come out on top. He gets the slop beat out of him, not entirely of his own carelessness but sort of, and he sometimes has to rethink his approach. He's a good guy, though, and doesn't come across as arrogant or a know-it-all. I kind of wish Sandford would keep Virgil's sex life to himself, but I assume he's writing for a mostly male audience, and they are apparently into that sort of thing. I mean reading about it. Obviously they're into the actual act.

I also liked the fact that Sandford switched his narrative perspective sometimes and allowed the reader to see what is going on with the killers. It was interesting to see the thought processes they go through (when they bother to HAVE thought processes) and see what motivated them. They are evil through-and-through, but they are also human, and Sandford allows some of their human emotions to show through. Not enough to make us LIKE them necessarily, but at least enough to believe they could be real. Yikes.

The best endorsement I can give this book is that I read some of it during the Georgia football game on Saturday. Sure, it wasn't much of a game, but the fact that I could focus on a book while it was on is a huge statement.

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