Author John Sandford has the Midas touch when it comes to franchises. He started with his Lucas Davenport series and then added his Virgil Flowers series. Both have been hugely successful. His latest novel STORM FRONT is the seventh novel in the Flowers series and it is one of the best in that series so far. In this book Virgil Flowers is on the job again as one of Lucas Davenport's chief investigators in Minnesota.
Davenport is Flowers boss and he calls and tells him that an Israeli cop is coming to Mantako, MN to look for a stolen relic from Israel. Flowers is to meet her plane and help her with her hunt. The person who is thought to have stolen the relic is a Lutheran minister named Elijah Jones. He allegedly stole the relic when he was on a dig in Israel.
Flowers already has his hands full investigating a scam being operated by a woman known as "Ma" Nobles. Not only is Flowers investigating her, he is also attracted to her. But then that is par for the course for Flowers who is always on the hunt in more ways than one. He has been married three times but apparently hasn't learned his lesson.
The relic investigation takes top priority since it not only involves the Israeli police force, but also Mossad and Hezbollah. Then when things really get going with the relic investigation, "Ma" Nobles somehow gets involved with some of the people suspected of stealing the stone.
It all gets sorted out by the end of the story; and is exciting, complex and funny all the way through the book. Virgil is a unique character with a unique perspective. He is laid back, laconic and extremely intelligent. He moves at his own speed but he always gets the job done.
The beauty of Sanford's writing is that the narrative of the book is told in perfect harmony with Flowers' personality. The descriptions of the plot and the locale of the story have the same laconic quality as Virgil's tone and speaking habits. You seem to be in Virgil's mind and thoughts as the narrative unfolds.
In every Flowers book one of the best elements is the incorporation of a cast of supporting characters. STORM FRONT has an abundance of them. There are people who are who they say they are and people who aren't. There are people who are searching for adventure and some who are scared of their shadow. Each one is fully described by Sandford and would be welcome back in any further books in this series -- especially "Ma" Nobles.
STORM FRONT is an enjoyable and relaxing read. Sandford knows his characters, his locale and his plot. There are no missteps. It is entertaining reading all the way.
STORM FRONT is published by G. S. Putnam and Sons. It contains 384 pages and sells for $27.95.