Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dark of The Moon - John Sandford

Lucas Davenport was now too high in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that if John Sandford wanted to write about not-so-big crimes he had to create a new character. Not that smaller crimes are not interesting to read; take Agatha Christie’s works, for example. It depends on who wrote them, I believe.

Virgil Flowers had worked for St Paul Police Department and Davenport took him to the BCA. Flowers was in mid-thirties, with long blond hair, and wore band T-shirts all the time. Everybody who met him for the first time would usually say, “You don’t look like a cop.” He drove a Toyota 4Runner, had been divorced 3 times, and lived in Mankato.

In a small town of Bluestem, after decades of peace, two murders had been taken place, with 3 deaths. Flowers was sent to help the local sheriff, who was trying to be re-elected. The town was small, the not-so-many inhabitants knew each other, and both Sheriff and Flowers believed that the murderer was local. How hard could it be? It wasn’t as difficult when Davenport had had to find a killer in Twin Cities.

Until almost the end, Flowers still couldn’t decide who the culprit was. It was like Agatha Christie’s style, really, when he listed the suspects one by one (but not gathered them) and weighed the percentage of their guilt.

What I really like in detective stories is how the detective solves the case and it would be nice if the bad guy is smart so both the protagonist and the antagonist outsmart each other. I think gory details and bizarre hints (like in this case: the man on the moon) are only decoration. My first impression on Virgil Flowers was: he was not as smart as Lucas Davenport.

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