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Shock Wave

(Virgil Flowers #5)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  18,351 ratings  ·  1,037 reviews
The thrilling new Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author.

Talk about risky business.

The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing
Published October 4th 2011
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4.21  · 
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 ·  18,351 ratings  ·  1,037 reviews

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Can we please find out what John Sandford is eating and put every other thriller writer on the same diet? It’s insane that over 30 books into his career the last two he’s done, Bad Blood and Buried Prey, were among his very best. Now he delivers another top-notch crime story in Shock Wave.

The small city of Butternut Falls, Minnesota, is an uproar over a new big box discount store called PyeMart being built. Someone decides to do more than write angry posts on the Internet and powerful bombs go
Andrew Smith
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’ve really changed my mind about the Virgil Flowers books. I gave up on the first one, as I couldn’t get past the feeling that it wasn’t a Lucas Davenport tale and must therefore be, somehow, inferior. I didn’t try another for some time, until I read some positive reviews from people whose judgement I trust. I’ve not looked back since.

This one is pretty typical. It meanders along with Flowers adopting his normal style of blending in with and befriending the local community whilst asking pretty
Jonathan Janz
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hey. You.

Yeah, *you*. Come here a minute.

You reading John Sandford's Virgil Flowers books yet?

No? Well, why the hell not? Don't you like fantastic writing? I mean, knock-your-socks-off writing that you can chew on and savor like a perfectly-cooked steak?


What about labyrinthine plots and vivid settings?

Didn't move the needle, huh?

What about a palpable sense of danger, a wry sense of humor, and an ability to keep the reader guessing?

None of that stuff entices you? Dude, you're a tough s
James Thane
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is another very entertaining entry in John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. Virgil is enjoying his day off, drinking beer and watching scantily-clad women play volleyball when some inconsiderate jerk sets off a bomb at a construction site in Butternut Falls, Minnesota, where PyeMart, a retail giant is building a new superstore. A couple of weeks earlier a bomb had exploded at the company's headquarters in Michigan, killing a secretary and nearly wiping out the company's CEO and board of di ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Audiobook. My favorite Sandford character, again decked out in cowboy boots and rock band t-shirts, and again on vacation, is charged with investigating the bombings of executives of a large chain.

It’s a scenario familiar to many smaller communities: a large chain like Walmart or Target (in this fictional case the store is called PyeMart) wants to move in and build a store. The community has many small businesses that will go under from the competition of the larger store. They are also worried
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might be the best Flowers book yet. A great setup with a superstore moving into a small town where it threatens to wreck the living of many, yet the city council changed zoning to allow it. And then the bombs start going off. A lot of twists & turns follow with Virgil right on the trail doing some really great investigation & catching a lot of heat for it which he ignores in typical fashion.

I thought at one point it was going to run off the rails, but it swiftly changed into an unex
Kathy Davie
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fifth in the Virgil Flowers detective mystery series and revolving around that effin' Flowers over there in Minnesota. It's been six months since Bad Blood , 4.

My Take
Virgil cracked me up with his response to Pye's threats at the start. Who cares? *snicker*

A lot of us can relate to the Butternut Falls issue. Having a big box store open up in town, killing off the local businesses, providing lots of minimum-wage jobs. Throw in those environmental issues…and it's war with the most obvious protest
Tory Wagner
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: police, mystery
Shockwave by John Sandford features BCA investigator Virgil Flowers. This is the fifth in the series and deals with a bomber who is targeting a successful businessman who is planning to build one of his stores in a small rural community. The first bomb goes off at the top of a towering office building and then the bomber begins to target the small town that is "selling out" to the businessman. Virgil is an engaging character and the mystery is entertaining.
Needed something for a Summer "Road Trip" & it was available at the library to help with the driving to & from Wyoming's Yellowstone basin...with Congers narration, I've upgraded from 4 to 5's the original review:

"That F**kin' Flowers" is up to his neck invesatigating a bomber loose in "small town" Minnesota...Is the bomber, or is the bomber not targeting a "big box" store building a unit in the town?...Flower's love life with a rural sheriff is on hiatus and we find Virgil
3.50 Stars.

Another classic Virgil Flowers thriller. No nonsense, hilarious at times and one dropped bomb after another. No pun intended. Virgil is on the case again; this time after a bomber with a plan. No plan is perfect and the bomber learns this quickly.

I love reading this series; and love the main character. Nice flow and good for a quick read.
11811 (Eleven)
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I almost forgot to add this one. Sandford is always good. Virgil Flowers is always good. This episode was easily as good as the rest. Between Flowers and Lucas Davenport, I'm now at 21 John Sandford novels and I'm not sick of him yet. I think it's safe to call me a fan.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another Virgil Flowers murder solved. Virgil gets called to check out a couple of bombs that seem to be related, and another one goes off...
Mal Warwick
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another Worthy Crime Novel from John Sandford

Virgil Flowers considers himself a “shitkicker” and tends to dress, talk, and act like one, favoring T-shirts from rock bands, cowboy boots, fly fishing, fast motorboats, and, shall we say, casual language. Here he is in conversation with one of his suspects in Shock Wave, a trade school instructor:

Virgil: “So, where you at?”

Suspect: “You don’t need the ‘at’ at the end of that sentence. If you’d asked, ‘Where are you?’ that would have been fine.”

Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-detective
Early in the fifth Virgil Flowers novel, a county sheriff refers to Virgil as a "social investigator," which is apt. In this book, for example, he actually undertakes an anonymous written survey to assemble a list of suspects. More generally, he pokes around a town, bouncing his case theories off people and getting their input until he solves the case. After two bombings kill employees of a modestly upscale discount store, Virgil travels to a town where small business owners and conservationists ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book!!! Like every single one of the Lucas Davenport/Virgil Flowers novels, it was an excellent story from the first page. I've even read this one before, but could not remember until it was revealed who done it. John Sanford is just that great of a writer!
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Really entertaining. But this is the second book referring to sodomizing a child.
I just love Virgil, he is not your usual cop which is part of his charm. He is always open to new ideas, does his deep thinking in unusual ways, and seems to have uncanny luck with women.

This time around some of the new ideas that Virgil uses to work the case causes him to get into some hot water. When they first start talking about it I thought it was a crock of crap, but as things progressed it seemed to work.

I love how Virgil brings his boat and fishing stuff when working on a case, it seems
Giovanni Gelati
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Virgil Flowers is one of my favorite characters and I love what he does in this , the fifth, stand alone. He is very much Virgil, but a different side of him, more introspective, a bit deeper, more thought out , and definitely a ton of fun. The backdrop to all this is something most readers can appreciate: the angst behind a huge mega store coming in and crushing a community and its businesses. Using that, John Sandford again hits all the right notes and takes us the reader on nice wild ride .Th
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm getting as addicted to the Virgil Flowers books as Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. This one is an excellent mystery that keeps you guessing the why and how as much as whodunit. A bomb explodes in the conference room on the 55th floor of the Pye Pinnacle, headquarters for the Pye Mart chain that's a bit higher end than Walmart and almost as prolific. Then another bomb takes out the mobile construction office for a new Pye Mart in a small Minnesota town. Davenport sends Flowers to work with ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Virgil Flowers is an interesting character and Shock Wave is quite readable. Not quite believable, but intelligently written and entertaining. The Minnesota location is different and interesting.

Lawrence Block
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I've ever read a book by Sandford to which I'd give fewer than five stars. This one is written with the skill he always displays. Virgil Flowers, always engaging, grows in dimension, as JS's characters always do.
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: crime & thriller readers
This is the 5th of Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. It's written with the same attention to plot detail as the Davenport "Prey" series but with a slightly lighter touch in spite of the murder and mayhem involved. An enjoyable "crime break" between more literary fare.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, I’m going against the majority a little bit by rating Shock Wave 3.5 stars, despite so many glowing reviews. Let me be clear and disclose that I love the Virgil Flowers series. Which is probably why I’m going to be a bit critical here.

First, the elements that scored a 4 rating:
Plot— terrific with more than enough twists and plausible culprits to keep this reader guessing and changing his mind until late in the story.
Sense of place— ahhh, another small Minnesota town, well described and
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Virgil Flowers, part hippie, part laid back fisherman, who looks like a “surfer dude”, who habitually wears rock band T-shirts, works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He works under Lucas Davenport (the protagonist in the Sandford “Prey” series). Virgil works on his own in the more rural areas. Davenport sends Virgil to Butternut, Minnesota to investigate a serial bomber. PyeMart is planning to build a large retail store in Butternut. The fishermen who love the Butternut River ...more
Two things, first - Goodreads doesn't have enough stars, because five just doesn't cut it for this book. Second - it's dangerous to say "best" or "favorite" about any John Sandford book, but I'll take the risk on Shock Wave . This is my favorite John Sandford - Virgil Flowers book. (and I have read all of them.)

Sanford's style is creamy. That is to say smooth, and cool and it goes down very easy. All of his books are almost like ... taking a nap when you were a kid on a hot afternoon with the f
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another awesome book by John Sandford. Love Virgil Flowers.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it

Virgil Flowers returns in SHOCK WAVE and the read is a good one. This is the fifth novel of the series and this time he is chasing a bomber. Virgil is based in Mankato, Minnesota and therefore routinely covers the southern part of the state for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He also goes whether his boss, Lucas Davenport, sends him. Virgil has quite the reputation, not just with the ladies, and always gets the job done.

The latest bombing was of a construction trailer located at t
Dotti Elrick
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Virgil Flowers fifth novel. I love Virgil. He is so untypical of most of the detectives you read about. He's easy going, laid back and looks nothing like a cop. Long blond hair, jeans and old indie band shirts, along with his trademark cowboy boots is what you will find him wearing not only working crime scenes but that's what he'll be wearing in front of the cameras for a press conferences. And most of the time he's pulling his fishing boat behind his state vehicle. Virgil thinks best w ...more
Ben Siems
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
So, here's the thing. I have an agreement with myself that I read any book I was given as a gift. It seems the right thing to do, karma-wise, given that someone took the trouble to go to a bookstore and pick something out with me in mind.

Overall, I would say this policy has been to the good over the years. It has resulted in my discovering a number of great books (e.g., Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, The Prophet) that I otherwise would never have thought to read. Once in a while,
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See also John Camp

John Sandford was born John Roswell 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 Univer

Other books in the series

Virgil Flowers (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Dark of the Moon (Virgil Flowers, #1)
  • Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers, #2)
  • Rough Country (Virgil Flowers, #3)
  • Bad Blood (Virgil Flowers, #4)
  • Mad River (Virgil Flowers, #6)
  • Storm Front  (Virgil Flowers, #7)
  • Deadline (Virgil Flowers, #8)
  • Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers, #9)
  • Deep Freeze (Virgil Flowers, #10)
  • Holy Ghost (Virgil Flowers, #11)
“Nuts don’t come in bunches. Only grapes do.” 10 likes
“Detective Virgil and Barlow [bomb-technician] arranged to meet at the Starbucks. Virgil got a grande hot chocolate, no-fat milk, no foam, no whipped cream, and Barlow got a venti latte with an extra shot. As they took a corner table, Virgil said, “Remind me not to stand next to you if you’re handling a bomb. That much caffeine, you gotta be shakin’ like a hundred-dollar belly dancer.”
“At least I’m not drinking like a little girl,” Barlow said.”
More quotes…