Monday, November 24, 2014

Ray's Reviews: John Sandford's Deadline

        Quirky characters abound in a pair of highly entertaining recent crime
        “Deadline” by bestselling author John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95) is the
eighth in his popular series starring Virgil Flowers, a veteran detective
for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
        As usual, he’s not working on a case for his boss, Lucas Davenport; this
time he’s off to help a friend with a memorable name, Johnson Johnson.
        There’s been a series of dog-nappings in southeast Minnesota, and Johnson
needs help in recovering the animals.
        When a local reporter is discovered murdered, Flowers decides to
investigate that case as well, since he’s already on the scene.  As
usual, Flowers asks a lot of questions; he’s trying to determine the
reason behind the journalist’s death.
        As if that’s not enough, Flowers is helping out other authorities who
want to bust a major meth-dealing ring.
        Between dog owners who want to shoot on sight, dazed druggies and
murderous local conspirators, Flowers has his hands full, especially when
the body count rises.
        Sandford’s police procedural has a deft touch of dark humor; it’s full of
memorable and oddball characters.
        The author of 24 “Prey” volumes series and many other books doesn’t
disappoint his legion of fans. Sandford is in fine form, solidifying his
position as one of America’s finest crime fiction novelists.
        “Deeper Than the Grave” by Tina Whittle (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95 hb,
$14.95 pb) is the fourth in her series featuring Tai Randolph and ex-FBI
agent and security specialist Trey Seaver.
        Randolph is trying to run an Atlanta gun shop that deals mostly with
civil war re-enactors; she inherited the business from her Uncle Dexter.
        A tornado causes chaos in the Kennesaw Mountain Cemetery, scattering the
bones of a Confederate hero. Tia joins in the search effort, making an
unexpected discovery of bones linked to a much more recent murder. Her
uncle is considered a suspect in that case and Randolph wants to clear
his name.
        Dark secrets emerge; unusual members of a prominent, wealthy Southern
family cause many problems and considerable havoc.
        Whittle has created an intriguing, carefully plotted, convoluted tale
with realistic and flawed characters. She showcases a pair of sexy,
likable investigators whose search for the truth makes them viable

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on November 23, 2014.

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