Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Heat Lightning by John Sandford eBook edition

There are two things that I always enjoy about the writing of John Sandford:

  • His characters all seem to have some likable characteristics, even the bad guys.
  • His plots are based not so much on the hidden denouement as on the ending that satisfies the need for the good guys to win.

 Heat Lightning is no exception.

I won’t tell you the story, the book is worth reading., You should buy it if you want to spend a day with people you will probably like more than most of the people in the real world. And if you ever spent any time in Minnesota you will especially like Sandford’s brightly drawn word pictures of the lakes and woods that dominate the scenery there.

Let it suffice to say that the book’s ending is as satisfying as its beginning and the parts in between are fun and engaging. Sandford is developing a character in Virgil Flowers that wears well. His highly developed world of laid back Minnesota natives and scenic beauty has the underlying themes of greed, stupidity, vengeance and political ambition that make this novel interesting as a mystery.

Beyond that he seems to be exploring the prospects of literary advancement from the bounds of a strictly genre writer in this new series. His characters are taking on more form and substance and his comments on and allusions to the uber society outside of Minnesota are growing sharper and more defined.

I can heartily recommend this book to any of you who like characters that live lives we can all imagine but seldom experience. I can also recommend his prior works as worthy of reading for those of you who might not have discovered him as yet. His name is among the top ten in my pantheon of writers that have never failed to fulfill my burst of happiness when I find a new title written by them.

Here's the official stuff:

Fresh from his "spectacular" (Cleveland Plain Dealer) debut in Dark of the Moon, investigator Virgil Flowers takes on a puzzling-and most alarming-case, in the new book from the #1 bestselling author.

John Sandford's introduction of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers was an immediate critical and popular success: "laser-sharp characters and a plot that's fast and surprising" (Cleveland Plain Dealer); "an idiosyncratic, thoroughly ingratiating hero" (Booklist).

Flowers is only in his late thirties, but he's been around the block a few times, and he doesn't think much can surprise him anymore. He's wrong. It's a hot, humid summer night in Minnesota, and Flowers is in bed with one of his ex-wives (the second one, if you're keeping count), when the phone rings. It's Lucas Davenport. There's a body in Stillwater-two shots to the head, found near a veteran's memorial. And the victim has a lemon in his mouth. Exactly like the body they found last week.

The more Flowers works the murders, the more convinced he is that someone's keeping a list, and that the list could have a lot more names on it. If he could only find out what connects them all . . . and then he does, and he's almost sorry he did. Because if it's true, then this whole thing leads down a lot more trails than he thought-and every one of them is booby-trapped.

Filled with the audacious plotting, rich characters, and brilliant suspense that have always made his books "compulsively readable" (Los Angeles Times), this is vintage Sandford.


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