Nov 29, 10
Read from November 26 to 28, 2010
** spoiler alert **
This is the first book by John Sandford I have read. I was browsing the new books at the library and was in a hurry (baby getting fussy) so I just grabbed this one. It had a "14 Day Return" sticker on it because it is a high demand book. I figured that would mean it is pretty good – if not well written, at least entertaining. I was wrong.
The book is about a series of murders in a small town in Minnesota. The sheriff (a woman, btw) is brand new and calls in Virgil Flowers a BCA agent to help her. At the center of the crimes is an Amish like religious group. As the story progresses, the religious group is revealed to be a cult. Eventually, the sheriff & Flowers discover a large part of the cult's "religion" is sexually abusing women and children.
Overall, I was not too impressed with the book – story or characters. First, the characters were extremely cliché. Flowers is a good looking cop who only works the “hard crimes” (because he’s so darn smart!). He’s been married 3x and is always on the lookout for another woman, but (surprise) he doesn’t want commitment. (The ultimate cheesiness was when Flowers was trying to convince the sheriff to do something and he flashed her his *second* most enduring smile. Because his most enduring smile was something so spectacular that it had to be reserved for when women were already laying down…in bed with him. Blech). Sheriff is divorced with 3 kids. We see where this is going, right? Of course, they end up in bed together but, at the end of the book, Flowers is thinking that this won’t last too much longer because the sheriff wants more than he can give her. It would be nice if the author had mixed things up a bit and had either 1) Woman cop who did NOT have to call in a man to save her; 2) Woman who did not jump into bed with smooth talking attractive cop asap; or 3) Woman who slept with cop but didn’t want a commitment.
Second, I wasn’t all that impressed by the storyline. Maybe I just watched too much Law and Order but creepy cults & sexual deviants just seem to be overused as “shocking” plot twists. There wasn’t much of a mystery involved at all – by page 180 we pretty much knew who did it. It felt like the author just threw in sexual abuse as kind of a cover for a thinly written story.
I probably won’t be reading another Sandford novel.