In Southeast Minnesota, down on the Mississippi, a school board meeting is coming to an end. 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 to authorize the killing of a local reporter. The vote is four to one in favor.
Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers is helping out 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. . . .
What I liked: It's very hard to explain my addiction to Mr Sandford's series. In this series, there's a lot that might put a new reader off. Virgil isn't the next hot hunk to make it big. He works for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota and he's not much in a hurry to do anything except fish. Wherever Virgil goes, his boat goes or at least there's a boat nearby. He's quirky, pretty good looking according to the author and has been married three times. Oh yeah, most of the time, he forgets his gun in his vehicle, pretty much all the time. He's also not a very good shot, thus his love of shotguns, if he has to use a gun at all. Getting the picture?
In Deadline, Virgil is going to help out an old friend, Johnson Johnson (yep, that's his real name and we finally find out why). Seems a bunch of dognapping is going on and Johnson wants Virgil's help. Unfortunately not long after arriving, there's a murder and the local law enforcement get Virgil involved. The whole dognapping case is sad but the people involved are hilarious. You have a bunch of good ole country folk who want their dogs back any way they can get them even if it's illegal.
The other case of the murder is pretty upfront. You know from the beginning the who and the why but the best part is watching Virgil match wits with the killer. He knows who the killer is but has no proof so he's playing fast and loose with a few rules.
Mr Sandford's characters are what have kept me with all his series. They feel like real every day people with real problems and honest feelings. Virgil, however, is one of my favorites. His humor, snark and love of fishing just make me wish I had someone like him as a friend.
What I didn't like: Some might be put off by the plot. It's not as intricate and mysterious as some other works, but it does work and very well.
Man, how long do I have to wait for another John Sandford novel? I'm afraid to check.
Highly recommended!! (Start with the first in the series, though)