Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mad River - John Sandford

Among all Virgil Flowers books I've read (this is number 6), only this one has the title I like. Mad River was a river near a small town called Arcadia, where some of the actions in this book took place. The other titles seems obscure to me.

This was a good book, too. We, the readers, and the police in the book know the bad guys from the start, but the way the story have been written makes the reading very enjoyable. I even think that the witty dialogues were back.

A kid named Jimmy Sharp brought along two friends to rob a house in Bare County and ended up by shooting the daughter of the owner. In their desperation to run away, and because Jimmy Sharp was not smart, the kids killed more people. In Bare County, where the criminal level was low, the kids became a terror; especially after a cop got killed. Virgil Flowers was sent to look at the case and he had to catch the kids before the sheriff did, because the sheriff wanted the kids dead. Meanwhile, Flowers thought that the kids, especially Jimmy Sharp, was a key witness who could help him to put the real brain in the first murder into jail.

In the previous book, Flowers used a new method called 'market research', and he used it again in this book to find where the kids were hiding. He gathered a couple of inmates in Stillwater prison, who had IQ level same as Jimmy Sharp, and after telling them the story and showed them a map, asked them to figure out where the kids were hiding.

Flowers' parents lived in Bare County, so we got to see the relationship between Virgil and his father and mother, which was good. Virgil was a priest's son and in this series we read what he thought about God and I must say that most of the time I disagreed with him. There was also interesting dialogues between Flowers and Davenport about how Flowers often forgot to carry his gun. That time, Flowers had been beaten by two guys outside a bar and was in a hospital.

Davenport: "You notice I didn't say a single f***m' thing about you going up to that bar without a gun."
Flowers : "I appreciate that."
Davenport: "But if you had a gun with you, like you should have, as soon as you were hit, you could have rolled and come up with the weapon and just squeezed off a couple of rounds... even if you didn't hit anything, that would have ended it. They'd have run, and you wouldn't be here." [...]
Flowers: "No. That's what would have happened if you had a gun. You can do that, because that's the way you think. If I'd had a gun, and even remembered it, I probably would have dropped it trying to get it out. [...] I'm just no d4mn good with pistols, Lucas."

This depiction of a cop's death was quite something, too: He fell in the street, on his back, and in a last dead reflex motion, threw his arms out to his sides, so that he looked like a picture of a dead man. It reminded me of clear depiction of Davenport's condition after a fight: ...and he was standing with one shoulder a foot lower than the other, crippled, hung over the balcony.

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