John Sandford, a pseudonym for John Roswell Camp, an Army veteran, a former journalist for the Miami Herald, and a New York Times best-selling author. He’s penned multiple series of novels, chief among them The Prey Series, which features protagonist Lucas Davenport. A spin off from those novels is the Virgil Flowers novels. His latest coming October 1, 2019 is Bloody Genius, number 12 in the series.
Virgil Flowers is a victim of his own success. He is an investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and after solving a case which made the attorney general look good, good enough that he ran for governor and won. Now, a new case popped up and Minneapolis PD hasn’t been able to solve it. The sister of the victim is rich and donates a hefty amount to the said governors campaign and in return she expects results in the case dealing with her murdered brother, she wants closure and she has the pull to ask for it. Therefore, the governor requests his favorite investigator to personally oversee the case.
As Virgil announces himself to Minneapolis PD, he meets Margaret Trane, the lead detective on the investigation. Trane isn’t happy with Virgil stepping on her toes and taking over the investigation, for many reasons really, but mainly due to professional embarrassment. He quickly reassures her that he isn’t happy about being there either and has no interest in taking credit or glory for the investigation. In fact, at the end he surprises her with a very kind gesture.
Bloody Genius starts off from almost the very first page with a murder, under very suspicious circumstances. The victim, a well respected renowned scholar. The investigation leads Virgil in so many different places, he ends up solving other crimes as he’s chasing one lead after another. One in particular has all the motives, two feuding departments in the university with extreme opposite views. There are valid incentives, loyal people, maybe also a little crazy on both sides who would do anything to see their leader win the feud. Are they crazy enough to commit murder though? Throughout his investigation, Virgil runs into prostitutes, students, crooked lawyers, a CEO of an up and coming company, scam artists, and the victims past wives who may or may not gain significantly from his death. While the killer, indistinct, hiding in plain sight, offers brilliant misdirection and confusion to the investigation.
Bloody Genius is a fast paced, fun to read detective story that reminds me a bit of the James Patterson – Alex Cross series. A good amount of sarcasm, with a driven plot that continues to surprise as you think, he’s done it! He solved the case, only to run into another dead end. With a surprise ending I did not see coming. Earning itself a Blast Radius of an Artillery Projectile, a 7.5/10 rating. If you enjoy murder and mystery thrillers, this novel is an absolute must read.
Author: John Sandford
Series: A Virgil Flowers Novel # 12
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Follow John on Twitter: @J_Sandford
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: AN ARTILLERY PROJECTILE (7.5/10) – 155 mm High Explosive Projectile fired from Medium Towed Howitzer fires a High Explosive round up to 30 klicks, with a blast radius of 50 meters and a casualty radius of 100 meters. What makes this weapon so great is its range and speed. Artillery crews can fire up to 5 rounds per minute, with each battery in the Marine Corps having six per gun line, that’s 30 rounds per minute down range. Its why they call it “steel rain.” And artillery men are called “King of Battle.”
About the author:
John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master’s degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a Midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He’s also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archaeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at www.rehov.org. In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.