Putnam – 2011
Virgil Flowers is my favorite character from all of John Sandford’s long line of character-rich novels. Lucas Davenport is good, but Virgil is just plain fun. In Shock Wave Virgil’s assignment is to figure out who is building and setting off bombs.
Pye-Mart (think WalMart) is a new big-box store coming to Butternut Falls, Minnesota. Most of the people in the town don’t want it, but it’s coming anyway. The townfolk suspect the city council took under-the-table-money from Pye-Mart to let it happen.
In the early construction phase bombs start going off. One bomb actually went off at Pye-Mart’s headquarters in Michigan a few months earlier. Virgil doesn’t have to concern himself with that bombing. He just has to figure out the Minnesota problem and get it stopped. Of course, he figures them both out anyway.
Virgil is mid-to-late thirties, good looking, an outdoorsman, a professional writer in his spare time, and a thinker. When he’s on a case he very carefully gets to know who’s who in town, their activities and possible motives. He does this slowly and he gradually thinks about everything he’s seen and heard. Occasionally, he’ll even get in a little fishing. After all, this is Minnesota – “Land Of a Thousand Lakes.”
Virgil solves the case (both in Minnesota and Michigan) with good detective work and a little help from fellow agents and locals. There were some nice twists at the end that I did not see coming.
Surprise endings always make me want to start reading the next book in a series. Unfortunately, I’ve now read them all. The only thing I can hope for is that John Sandford will write another adventure for Virgil soon.