Deadline (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

by John Sandford

Hardcover, 2014

Call number




G.P. Putnam's Sons (2014), Edition: First Edition, 400 pages


"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..."--

User reviews

LibraryThing member earthwind
Imagine you are in a rural wooded area of rugged Minnesota with a friend and his neighbors who have lost their close companions of the canine variety when you find a hidden meth lab. If you were Virgil Flowers, it is one more challenge to take in stride. Learning a trusted group of small town citizens, some on the local school board are not what they seem takes f. . . Flowers on a more ominous case. The community of characters are at once frightening and humorous and so well reported by Sandford.… (more)
LibraryThing member mikedraper
Virgil Flowers, chief investigator of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is asked to come to Tripton, Minnesota to investigate a scheme where someone is stealing dogs. Many of these dogs will be resold to regular people but many others are sold to medical laboratories.

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!
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LibraryThing member MarlaAMadison
This book started out with a bang as a case of dognapping turned into one of drugmaking, murder and an embezzling schoolboard. I was really loving it until it kind of bogged down after the first half, becoming so filled with characters, I kind of lost track of who was who. The end really made up for it, great ending!!
LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Virgil starts out looking for stolen dogs to help a fishing buddy. His search quickly complicates when he discovers a meth lab and, inadvertently, triggers a murderous response from a larcenous school board. More murders follow, the meth lab is busted and the school board adds arson to it's repertoire before that f**kin Flowers brings them down. But it take a shootout with board members and a slow boat chase on the Mississippi to round them up. The missing dog caper ends in a lively brew up; between the dog-nappers, their bunchers and the local Auntie Vivians freeing the captive dogs. Another easy read and interesting romp through rural Minnesota with the inestimable Mr Flowers of the BCA… (more)
LibraryThing member igilbert
Pretty good except for the ending.
LibraryThing member dianaleez
We celebrate at our house when a new Virgil Flowers book comes. And this was one of the best yet.

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!… (more)
LibraryThing member lewilliams
A fast paced thriller. Virgil Flowers juggles several cases at once, starting with dog napping and progressing to meth cooking and crooked school board members that vote to murder a local reporter that gets to close to their embezzling scheme.
LibraryThing member dickmanikowski
Well crafted story in which detective Virgil Flowers gets ensnared into finding a dognapping ring and stumbles upon a series of murders tied to a public corruption ring.
LibraryThing member Maydacat
Crime is rampant in this novel. Embezzling, murder, meth-cooking, and dog-napping all vie for Virgil Flowers’ attention. Some of the crimes are connected in one way or another, or at least affect each other as the police investigate the incidents. Virgil is at his best as he methodically goes about talking to people and interpreting the clues. An investigative reporter is about to land the biggest story of his sorry career when he shot in the back. This preempts the investigation of the dog-napping case, but then more irregularities arise concerning the school board. This thriller is a page turner from the beginning to end.… (more)
LibraryThing member norinrad10
At this point it feels like Sandford has a better handle on the character of Virgil Flowers then he does his original character of Lucas Davenport. These books have become fun while the Prey books have become slogs. Deadline is basically about the plot of the local school board to embezzle money from the district. The plot is not the reason to read this book though. The true enjoyment comes from the colorful characters and the side plots that populate it. It makes for a most enjoyable read.… (more)
LibraryThing member ZachMontana
Vigil Flowers goes to a small town to help a friend with Dog Snatchers and gets involved in busting a Meth Lab and investigating murders that link to the School Board. Conger is great reading these Vigil Flowers series and Sandford is a master mystery writer.
LibraryThing member Tatoosh
One of the best books I have read this year.

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.
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LibraryThing member gmmartz
Sandford's latest, Deadline, continues his approach of turning over the lead character in his Twin Cities' based police procedural franchise from Lucas Davenport to Virgil Flowers. In my opinion, Davenport is one of the great police characters in fiction, carefully developed over the many years and books in the 'Prey' series. Flowers, his understudy in some ways and out there on his own in others, is strong as well. The transition has been expertly handled, but Deadline is a bit of a step back.

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.
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LibraryThing member readafew
This is the 8th Virgil Flowers book and I still find them good as well as funny. This time Flowers is called by a friend to come down and find a bunch of dogs that were dog napped. While trying to help his friend recover the dogs, Virgil being Virgil, stumbles upon a major meth lab as well as a couple murders and a ring of thieves stealing from the school budget. He has his work cut out for himself solving all these cases at the same time, as well as keeping the good-ol-boys who lost dogs from taking the law into their own hands.

It was a Virgil book and just as fun as the rest .
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LibraryThing member JBreedlove
This why I read. A pleasant surprise by John Sanford (Camp) telling the story of a laid back Minnesota State Trooper who investigates crime. No overarching evil hear (Burke) or self-tortured investigator working through his demons. Virgil Flowers did his job catching stupid people in a well described Minnesota. Not the prose of Burke or the comlex layering of Connelly but a good sense of place and a good story. Also occassionally toungue and cheek whih was different and amusing.… (more)
LibraryThing member Judiex
DEADLINE opens with a dog theft enterprise in Trippton, Minnesota, a town so small that is has only on prostitute. Thieves lure the dogs--sometimes mixed breeds, sometimes pure breeds--away from their homes and then sell them, often to experimental labs. Up to now, the local people have been unable to find the missing dogs.

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.

Interesting asides:
“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.
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LibraryThing member danhammang
Can't help myself. Virgil Flowers, Lucas Davenport...they're irresistible if you want a mystery that just rolls easily along. No angst driven dicks here, just a lovable bunch of country guys and gals. Sandford actually puts his finger on a group of folks out there who don't fit easily into the categories in which our public discourse is often tempted to drop people into, prepackaged. It's a refreshing romp and I'm ready for the next one.… (more)
LibraryThing member Rascalstar
An unexpectedly delightful book that seems as though it would appeal to a broad audience. Deadline is basically a crime story and the author manages to weave in plenty of humor. It's well written and reads naturally and easily. Darn good story, even if bits of it stretch reality some, however, life is often stranger than fiction. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to.

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.

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