Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shock Wave - by John Sandford

Shock Wave is the fifth novel by John Sandford starring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension detective Virgil Flowers.   Mega-chain store, PyeMart is building one of their stores in small town Butternut Falls, Minnesota, and now bombs are going off.  The first was at PyeMart headquarters in Michigan, but then the explosions start to rock Butternut Falls.  Virgil is sent to help both local law enforcement and the Feds (ATF) track down the bomber and stop the related terror and tragedy.

While I have read several novels in Sandford's "Prey" series, I am certainly not as familiar with his books as many others.  Based on this story, however, I plan to read more.  Virgil Flowers is a top-notch investigator without being super-human.  He has long hair, wears classic rock t-shirts, is not a fighting machine with his arsenal always at the ready, drags a fishing boat around, has a string of ex-wives, and his current long-distance relationship seems to be cooling.  In other words he is both very likable and very believable.  While this may be a poor comparison in many ways, Virgil's style almost reminds me of watching Lieutenant Columbo long ago.  He talks to lots of people and at first glance may not seem to be the sharpest and most insightful of detectives.  Somehow, however, he listens and relates to others and his powers of observation and deduction pull the truth out of substantial noise and diversion.

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