Dark of the Moon
Putnam, Sep 2007, $26.95, 384 pp.
To look at him nobody would believe that Virgil Flowers is a police officer; one of Lucas Davenport’s best (see INVISIBLE PREY for the case in which Flowers assisted the Minnesota Bureau of Crime Apprehension Chief). He wears casual clothing, has long hair, looks younger than his years and has a breezy amiable manner which enables him to make friends easily. He is on his way to Bluestem, Minnesota to investigate the deaths of the octogenarian Gleasons, who apparently knew their killer.
As he enters the town he sees a house belonging to the recently deceased wealthy Bill Judd. The sheriff asks Virgil to help him with the Judd murder; another eighty-something year old person killed in a horrendous fashion. Judd scammed the townsfolk with a pyramid scheme making millions so he had plenty of enemies. In a town where murder almost never occurs three in a short period of time doesn’t strike Flowers as coincidental especially the age of the victims. When another couple also in their eighties is killed, Flower is certain that there is a methodical organized sociopath killer hiding in plain sight. During the course of his investigations he discovers a meth lab, a mole in the police department, and a church dealing with criminals. For one independent police officer he finds himself involved with a serial killer, townsfolk, the sheriff, a lover and the dead all lead him to the killer if he is clever to find the link.
John Sandford’s latest protagonist is an adrenaline junkie living on the edge but within the rules of an excellent police officer. Flower deserves his own series because his style and methods is as good as his boss Lucas Davenport even though there are ying and yang. There are many different mysteries that tie into the storyline and they are easy to follow although the reader will be perplexed until the very last page of a very fine police procedural.