"In southeast Minnesota, down on the Mississippi, a school board meeting is coming to a close. The board chairman announces that the rest of the meeting will be closed, due to personnel issues. "Issues" is correct. The proposal up for a vote before them is whether a local reporter should die. And the vote is four to one in favor. Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers is doing a favor for a friend by looking into a dognapping, which seems to be turning into something much bigger and uglier -- a team of dognappers supplying medical labs - when he gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found - and the victim is a local reporter..."--
This isn't the kind of case Virgil normally investigates but he does it because the caller requesting him is a friend from college.
While looking for a place in the hills where the dogs are being hidden, Virgil comes across a hidden meth lab. He calls a friend in the DEA and they stage a raid.
A major change in the story occurs when a country reporter who was researching a major theft by members of the school board, is murdered.
Virgil is generally an easy going detective. Instead of hard knocks, he gets results from befriending people who might be involved in criminal activity and they often confess to him.
This is an enjoyable story with a number of surprises so that the reader can't guess the next part of the story. It reminded me of a Stephen King novel where the character doesn't know who to trust. I enjoy Virgil's down home style as seen when he takes time out from chasing criminals to just watch life along the Mississippi and see the fishing boats pass by.
The reader also observes the activities of the school board and their panicked reactions as they try to save themselves.
The dog owners are a colorful group as many of them are hunters in the Minnesota countryside. There is also a group called the Minnesota Women's Anti-Vivisection Group who I wouldn't want to cross. If you get these ladies mad, watch yourself!
It's clever, humorous, and let's face it, that F****ing Flowers is charming. Add to the mix several kidnapped canines, a few dishonest local officials, and toss in a murder here and there and John Sandford and Virgil rule!
Virgil Flowers is called on by his friend, Johnson Johnson, to investigate a dognapping epidemic in rural southeastern Minnesota. In the process he participates in a raid on a methamphetamine cooking operation and the investigation of a massive, ongoing embezzlement of millions of dollars from the local school district. The bodies pile up as the crooks kill off various citizens and one another and the final tally of arrests and convictions approximates double digits. The dognapper is convicted of unspecified crimes and the members of the meth cooking operation are either killed or incarcerated. Good work Virgil!
Sandford has an appealing way of depicting the camaraderie among the guy—Virgil, Johnson, Shrake, and Jenkins— and between the guys and their friends. I suspect the humor appeals more to guys than gals, but being a guy I can't say for sure. In any event, after a couple of disappointing books by some of my favorite authors it is a delight to see that Sanford still delivers a terrific story.
What begins for Flowers as a 'dognapping' case in a small town in the 'driftless' area of Minnesota soon expands into a couple other more serious directions involving drugs and murder. The writing is OK, though not quite as crisp as earlier novels in the Flowers series, but the dialogue is, as usual, very realistic. The storylines related to the dogs and meth were believable, but I had a problem with the third leg of the plot. I don't want to be a spoiler, but I have a hard time believing there'd be such a high concentration of sociopaths among middle class civic-minded citizens on a school board in a small town. I just couldn't buy into the scenario. The steps Flowers took to address the 3 issues were all well-done, although the resolution of the original dognapping case was way over the top.
The only other issue (beyond weaker writing, one unbelievable story line, and a bad ending to one of the other plots) I had with Deadline was the fact that Flowers has calmed down quite a bit and is becoming more 'domesticated'. As we age, I guess we all do, but when he came on the scene he was much more of a wild card. He's still out there a bit, but I think the series may be headed for less exciting days.
If you like Sandford, you should check out Deadline. It's pretty good, but not at the top of my list of favorites. If you haven't read him, check out earlier novels of the Prey series first, then put off the Flowers series until later. The more context you have as you get into Flowers, the better.
It was a Virgil book and just as fun as the rest .
While looking for missing dogs is not high on Virgil Flowers list of crimes to investigate and solve, he agrees to use a few of his vacation days to help his friend Johnson Johnson (not a typo) find the dogs. In the process, he discovers a large, illegal meth lab.
Chapter three is about a meeting of the local school board. After the short public part of the meeting, the members make everyone else leave while they have a private meeting. The topic is a newspaper reporter who is putting together a story about them, namely their syphoning millions of dollars from the school district. Other prominent members of the community are also involved in this crime. The reporter has somehow gathered evidence and is almost ready to get it published. At the meeting, the board members discuss how to get rid of him. At the end of the chapter, he is dead.
The remainder of the book follows Flowers as he works to solve the murder (which expands into more murders), and resolves the meth and dognapping cases with the help of some friends, other law enforcement personnel, and a boy named Muddy.
DEADLINE does an excellent job following all the steps leading to the conclusions of all the cases, some easier to resolve than others. At the end, Sandford lists what happens to the main perps involved.
“I don’t want to think we are paying a million and a half dollars for a sports compley so we can raise a bunce of brain damages dummies.”
John Sandford’s police novels are timeless. His writing is top-knotch. His stories are logical (sometimes requiring a bit of acceptance of circumstances), and his wit is subtle. The Virgil Flowers series are guaranteed good reads.
An investigator, Virgil Flowers, goes to a small town on a relatively small case, winds up with a couple bigger cases while there, and there's plenty of action and characters. I loved one of the minor characters, and elderly woman who provides Virgil some important information. You'll love her, too.
This isn't a literary novel, but it's good. There's plenty of cussing, for anyone who may be offended. It works with the story and people, though; it's not just there for effect. This book would make a good movie, and maybe some of Sandford's books have been made into movies.