John Sandford is known for his dramatic stories, e.g. the Lucas Davenport/PREY series. But Sandford is also becoming famous for his stories concerning the incorrigible Virgil Flowers. Flowers works as an agent for the Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Lucas Davenport is his boss. He is good at his job but he also seems to get things messy before he cleans them up. Therefore he is referred to as "that freaking Flowers."
His latest adventure is captured in the novel Deadline and it is Sandford's best Flowers book to date. This time out Virgil is involved with dognappers as well as a murderous school board. These events occur in the small town of Trippton and threaten to blow the town apart, literally and figuratively. Flowers has to find the dogs and catch the killers before he ends up dead, which is a distinct possibility. Watching him solve the crimes while dealing with the locals is fun reading at its best.
Flowers main ally in all of this mayhem is a local with the wonderful name of Johnson Johnson. Johnson and all of his brothers are named for outboard motors. Somehow it all seems to make sense in Virgil's world.
While Virgil is solving the crimes, events of the most hilarious type keep occurring. Readers will find themselves laughing out loud at the antics and the words that flow from the characters mouths in this completely infectious book. When was the last time you can say that you thoroughly enjoyed the humor in a mystery?
I have always thought Nelson DeMille to be the most humorous author writing dramatic stories today. He did get some competition from John Grisham when he published The Litigators. Now with this book Sandford has pulled into the lead. Deadline contains belly laughs on just about every page.
There is a lot of drama and mayhem in this story and readers of traditional Sandford books will be satisfied for sure. Still if you like a little humor in your plots, this book will more than sate that desire. I think the combination is irresistible and I hope Sandford does it again and again in his "Virgil Flowers" series. This book is the most fun I have had reading in a long time.
Deadlines is published by Putnam Books. It contains 400 pages and sells for $27.95.