Mad River (Virgil Flowers, #6)
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Mad River (Virgil Flowers #6)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  7,560 ratings  ·  799 reviews
Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns.

The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell p...more
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2012)
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After all these John Sandford books I’m starting to wonder how there could possibly be anyone left alive in Minnesota.

Three young people try to pull a burglary that turns into murder and starts them on a killing spree through a rural area. State cop Virgil Flowers is in hot pursuit, but it’s impossible to predict where they’ll go next and many an innocent person winds up dead as the kids rampage across the countryside.

Sandford continues to add new layers to Virgil and differentiate him from the...more
The Virgil Flowers books are lucidly written police procedurals with humor, attention to details of setting in rural Minnesota, and good quirky characters. They aren't "mysteries" in the sense that there is anything for us to figure out; the good guys' and bad guys' stories are both followed and there's not much for the reader to puzzle out. Crimes are solved through interviews and require legwork and streetsmarts rather than science and tech. The appeal to the reader is not "whodunit" but watch...more
Cary Griffith
Ok, there should be categories of rating. Since four stars equates with "I really liked it" I guess that'll suffice. But rating a Sandford novel four stars, as opposed to, say, Fahrenheit 451, is like giving pumpkin pie the same rating as turkey with greens (or in my case, tofurkey with spinach). Sandford is pure joy, but he's dessert, he's what you reward yourself with after you've done something prudent, level headed and good for you.

If you like the thriller genre I highly recommend you drop y...more
Jo Massino
I do love "that f***in' Flowers"!
I liked this portrayal of desperate frustration among the police trying to catch a young couple on a killing spree. This police procedural is the 6th in a series featuring Detective Virgil Flowers of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He is easy to like for his down home charm and humor and for his pragmatic and persistent determination to find justice. I don’t rate it highly because I just wasn’t moved much emotionally by the tale, nor did I come away with much in the way of insight i...more
James Thane
Jimmy Sharp is the de facto leader of two other loser kids from rural Minnesota, his girlfriend, Becky Welsh and a guy named Tom McCall who's hanging around with them because he's attracted to Becky and apparently because he has nothing better to do.

While working as a waitress at a homecoming dance, Becky spies a diamond necklace worn by the wealthiest woman in a small neighboring town. Now, Jimmy leads his two confederates on a middle-of-the-night mission to break into the woman's house and fo...more
Albert Riehle
John Sandford is so consistent it's just not fair to the other writers in his genre. You'd think by now he'd have phoned one in or written a clunker, but he hasn't. He's the good book factory. It's as simple as that.

The only reason Virgil Flowers isn't my favorite thriller/mystery/cop character is that Lucas Davenport beat him to the top spot and hasn't done anything to relinquish it. It would have been easy for Sandford to make Flowers a young version of Davenport, hell, I doubt any of his read...more
Seeley James
There are only three authors whose books I will preorder, no matter what they write.* John Sandford, Lee Child, and Zoë Sharp. All three for the same reasons: I learn a great deal about writing from them; they each have a unique talent; they never disappoint; and, despite being deep into their respective franchise formulas, every book they write is fresh.

John Sandford’s unique talent lies in constructing the villains. His bad guys are perfect descriptions of the lowlifes who turn to crime to sol...more
11811 (Eleven)
Dude keeps getting better with every book. His latest ten books are easily better than the first ten. I also recommend the Virgil Flowers series over the Prey novels but I like them all. I've done a few of these on audio lately and I think Sandford uses the same narrator for all his books. The reader is excellent and consistent. I may stick to these in audio now since quality narrators are a somewhat rare commodity.

I don't think I'll ever tire of Sandford's writing in any medium.
I won a copy of “Mad River” by John Sanford through GoodReads Frist Read program and I am SO glad that I did. I had never read any of Sanford’s books prior but I know I’ll be reading them going forward. I loved it! At times it kept me on the edge of my seat and other times it had me laughing out loud. And you can’t help but love the main character, Virgil Flowers. He is a fantastic cop with honor, compassion and a touch of sarcasm. OK, a lot of sarcasm…but that’s one of the things that I enjoy....more
Another solid effort from John Sandford. Mad River's villains are a misfit Bonnie and Clyde pair on a killing spree through the Minnesota countryside. It starts with what seems like a pointless murder during a house robbery and soon, Jimmy and Becky (great names for this pair) are killing everyone in sight, looking for money, and day-dreaming about running off to Texas, Mexico, or Australia. Virgil Flowers (the greatest of great names) is chasing after them while dealing with a bloodthirsty loca...more
Dec 04, 2012 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of suspense, crime novels
There's a lot of testosterone in Sandford's novels, lawmen in the cities and wilds of Minnesota fighting against all manner of depraved law breakers. But there are also plots woven with some interesting details of detection, some character development that is a bit unexpected, especially with Virgil Flowers. The stories can be bloody--as Mad River was definitely--but, if you enjoy a TV show like Criminal Minds, Sandford might be for you.

Once again I liked this latest installment in the series (t...more
Lea Luby

Loved it ! The worst part of reading the NEWEST Virgil Flowers story is that now I have to WAIT for the next one. PLEASE HURRY!!
Another enjoyable audio listen, this time read by Eric Conger. This book is part of the Virgil Flowers series by Sandford. Flowers is a BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension - weird name for a state police agency if there ever was one) agent working under Lucas Davenport who makes several cameo appearances. This is not an investigatory police procedural. The story alternatives between Flowers and the killers' narratives. There's never any doubt who's guilty, the only mystery being their ultimate...more
Dotti Elrick
The more I read about Virgil the more I love him. In Mad River we meet his parents. Virgil is a lot like his dad. It was a nice glimpse of normal family life.
We meet our three bad guys (or two guys and a girl) on the first page. On the way to rob a family. The robbery goes bad, and they end up killing a woman. As they are making their escape, they kill a man for his car.
Jimmy, Becky and Tom are three kids from small town America. Who grew up poor with no hope of improving their lives. They trie...more
Can I just say I love Virgil Flowers. I just might want to be wife No. 4. I can ride horses while he fishes.
I started this book at 8:30 at night and couldn't put it down until I finished sometime around 1 in the morning.
This book starts out with a trio of teens — Jimmy, Becky and Tom McCall — with empty pockets looking to steal a diamond necklace from a house in rural Minnesota. The break-in is easy — the first window they try slides open like it was greased — but then a girl inside wakes up, an...more
If I don't count Harry Potter - who's in a league all by himself - my favorite fictional character has to be Virgil Flowers, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent in Minnesota. He's got it all: Good looks, quick wit and an uncanny ability to solve complex murder cases.

In Mad River, the most recent addition to author John Sanford's series, I was reminded of the reasons I love Flowers (and the books) by the time I hit the second chapter. The streets to the south of Main Street in the small town to...more
Following a high school reunion where a classmate is showing too much bling, Jimmy Sharp, Becky Welsh and Tom McCall enter the O'Leary house to steal diamonds, but the robbery turns into the execution of sister, Agatha O'Leary. Then the three go on the lam, killing for fun and profit as they head into western Minnesota -- the domain of BCA super detective Virgil Flowers. With his usual pattern of talking to people about the suspects and socializing his investigation (Virgil even consults prison...more
Doris Luther
Virgil Flowers has his own series now and they are great. I like him better than Davenport, but I still like him too. There are some nasty spree killers out there and Virgil is bound to get them. I should know tonight.
I'm giving Mad River a strong 3 Stars. Virgil Flowers is on the trail of some kids on a killing spree near where he grew up in small-town Minnesota. You can almost hear the "you betcha's" and "don't ya know's" of this place, where even the criminals are a bit nicer. These are a couple of screwed up kids but Sandford had a way of making them sad and pathetic rather than pure evil. This passage kicked off with a bumper sticker that said: "Remember, half the world is below average!". Flowers mulls...more
Andrew Smith
I was wrong. My initial impression, from the first Flowers book, was that any story featuring Davenport's sidekick from the Prey series as the lead character would be be no more than a snack leaving readers hungry for another helping of the main course - the next Lucas Davenport tale.
I've since read a couple more Flowers books (well what else can you do when you've already ticked off off the available adventures in the Prey series) and I have to say I've become a Virgil Flowers convert. I was g...more
C.A. Newsome
When a modern Bonnie and Clyde start a rampage in rural Minnesota, only Virgil Flowers can stop the mayhem. Once again, John Sanford proves that the only thing more entertaining than watching the pursuit of a criminal mastermind is witnessing the unraveling of terminally stupid felons.

If you are not familiar with Virgil Flowers, he is the horn-dog investigator who gets results by doing everything a detective is not supposed to do. He is the antithesis of Lucas Davenport, Sanford's most prolific...more
Amorak Huey
One of the things I tell students all the time is that for a story to work, the main character needs to be dynamic -- as in, capable of change. There has to be something at stake in the narrative for that main character. Not only something at stake in the events of the plot, but something deeper: something having to do, usually, with fundamental questions of self and identity. The character must change or lose out on a chance to do so; that's where the climax comes from.

Well, one of the things a...more
Virgil Flowers (qnd half the other cops in Minnesota, one of them a truly nasty county sheriff) are on the trail of three losers who are on a mostly unplanned killing spree. Having said that, there may be more to one of the crimes than appearances suggest. Flowers is his usual dependable self, Lucas Davenport makes some useful appearances, and Shrake and Jenkins back up Virgil in their usual blunt way. The picture of Southwest Minnesota (real and imagined) is solid. The humor is top-shelf Minnes...more
Michael Wilkerson
Oct 12, 2012 Michael Wilkerson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Enjoys Cop Shop
Recommended to Michael by: I'm a Sandford fan. I was waiting for this to come out.
How does John Sandford do it? Book after book and not a bad one in the bunch. (We won't mention The Night Crew and I haven't read some of the Kidd novels or Dead Watch.)

Others have described the plot so there's no need to go over that again and some have though less of this book and the Virgin Flowers character. I love Davenport and I love Flowers and others are entitled to their opinions. Now you know mine.

There is only one thing wrong with this book; I finished it and have no more pages to tu...more
I'll be a fan for life but I don't think Sandford has written anything truly thrilling in a long while and I'm not yet sold on Virgil Flowers ever being a proper or worthy replacement for Davenport in his prime. Still, this is a serviceable police procedural with likable quirky characters and just enough twists to qualify this as a painless read. That's still good enough for now but ultimately it continues to feel as if Sandford is just going through the motions and that his recent two-books-a-y...more
Alasandra Alawine
When Dick Murphy's wife wants a divorce he decides that hiring local punk Jimmy Sharpe to get rid of her is the better option. In an effort to make it look like a robbery gone bad Jimmy takes along his girlfriend Becky (and promises her Mrs. O'Leary's diamond necklace) and his pal Tom.

After they kill Agatha Murphy (the O'Leary's daughter)they hastily leave the house without taking anything, when their car won't start they carjack a car, killing the cars owner. And they are off on a killing spree...more
Another great Flowers book. This is my favorite of the series. The ending was both a let down and very satisfying. It's the same way with a deep fried Twinkie.
So close to being a 5 star entry for me. The old farmer with the gay porn obsession almost pushed me over the top into 5 stardom. I didn't give in for fear he'd make me go down on him afterward.
This is the first Virgil Flowers book I've read (I don't have a thing about reading a series in order) and I now plan to read more in the series. This was a real page turner. I couldn't wait to see how it was going to end. I think they should turn this series into a TV show. I know I'd watch it!
Joyce Lynne Fain
The thing about salivating over a Virgil Flowers novel for months is that when you finally get it, you can't bear to put it down, and the ride is over way too quick :(
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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 th...more
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“I once defenestrated a guy. The cops got all pissed off at me. I was drunk, but they said that was no excuse."

"Ah well," Virgil said. Then, "The guy hurt bad?"

"Cracked his hip. Landed on a Prius. Really fucked up the Prius, too."

"I can tell you, just now is the only time in my life I ever heard 'defenestration' used in a sentence," Virgil said.

"It's a word you learn after you done it," Morton said. "Yup. The New Prague AmericInn, 2009."

Virgil was amazed. "Really? The defenstration of New Prague?”
“he thought a bit about God, and whether He might be some kind of universal digital computer, subject to the occasional bug or hack. Was it possible that politicians and hedge-fund operators were some kind of garbled cosmic computer code? That the Opponent, instead of having horns and a forked tail, was a fat bearded guy drinking Big Gulps and eating anchovy pizzas and writing viruses down in a hellish basement? That prayers weren’t answered because Satan was running denial-of-service attacks?” 1 likes
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