DEEP FREEZE by John Sandford
It is my pleasure to read just about every book John Sandford writes. I say “just about” because he did write that unreadable space adventure. I have forgiven him for that one. When it is a Lucas Davenport book I am very happy. When it is a Virgil Flowers book I am delirious. There is just nothing like the mixture of humor and drama in the Flowers’ books of which DEEP FREEZE is the tenth installment.
In this story Virgil returns to Trippton, Minnesota, the setting of a previous crime he investigated. As an Agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension he is called upon to hunt down criminals and bring them to justice. This time out the case involves the murder of the owner of a bank. She is possibly the wealthiest person in Trippton and her body has just been fished out of one of the town’s frozen waterways.
Virgil is mystified. It seems all suspects have an alibi, and if not they do not logically seem to be the type of person who would commit such an act. But while Virgil is flailing around in the dark the readers of the story know who the murderer is from the start. The fun then becomes getting Virgil to know as much as the reader does.
While investigating the murder, Flowers is given another chore by the Governor’s office. It seems someone in the area of Trippton is making obscene Ken and Barbie dolls and Mattell, the parent company, is not happy with it. They want this pornographic business shut down as quickly as possible. The people, mostly women, who are involved in this business are facing desperate times. The economy in the area has tanked and it is make the dolls or go under. They do not take kindly to Virgil messing in their affairs and sometimes this resentment gets physical.
All of this action makes for an immensely readable and likable book. Virgil is the star of the show but Sandford also creates a motley crew to surround him. These include the suspects, the local townspeople and the local members of law enforcement. They all combine to bring heart and humor to the story, while also maintaining the fierceness of the crime which has been committed.
Sandford is an amazing writer. He has been creating best selling novels for some time now and his talent has not diminished one iota. Based on this story I would say it has even gotten better. I will continue to read just about every thing he writes, especially when it centers on characters like Virgil Flowers and/or Lucas Davenport.
DEEP FREEZE is published by G P Putnam’s Sons. It contains 400 pages and sells for $29.00.
Jackie K Cooper