Which makes things all the more complicated for Virgil, because as he begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented country singer.
©2009 John Sandford; (P)2009 Penguin
The 'guy' point of view gets a little tiresome, but the plot is extraordinary yet again. This is the second Virgil Flowers novel for me and I'll get more.
Retired at Last
5.0 out of 5 stars A great new character who is still growing., October 15, 2009
By J.S. Banks (Mountain View, CA) - See all my reviews
First a word about the narrator: Eric Conger reads the novel. He does a great job. I was worried because Richard Ferrone is a the definitive interpreter of the Lucas Davenport "Prey" series. Conger is different, a little more laid back, and a perfect match for Sandford's new character, Virgil Flowers.
As for the story itself. The mystery is no great shakes, and one questionable lapse of judgement by our otherwise clever hero is a stutter in the plot. Still, as far as characterization and dialog, Sandford hasn't lost a beat. There is more to chuckle at as the author dials up the humor and lets a little of his inner Hiaasen out. A protagonist a lot less macho than Sandford's Lucas Davenport, quirky Virgil Flowers is younger than our fictional friend, Lucas, and so has a whole bunch of life ahead of him, with twists and turns we can only guess at, but that the author, John Sandford, will be happy to think up. Love this book.
Sorry, couldn't resist. When Sandford first spun off the Virgil Flowers novels, my reaction as a dedicated Davenport fan was "oh no, please don't distract your efforts from the next Davenport novel!" I listened to the first Flowers novel (Heat Lightning?), though, and really enjoyed it. This latest story is no different. As always, Sandford spins a complex plot with an unknown killer in an unusual situation in the Minnesota north country.
As is often the case in Sandford's work, there are many characters and while they give the novel a sense of reality and complexity it is somewhat difficult to keep track of them all (a special challenge for an audiobook). In my view the way many of the characters are in the spotlight for a short time and then kind of fade away quickly leads too strongly to the real villain by a simple process of elimination in the reader's mind. That said, though, I really did not figure this one out until Virgil did. And when that key clue came to light - mentioned almost in passing - there was an AHA! moment that made the whole book worthwhile. And there was a twist at the very end in one of the book's key sub-plots that really got me. Others will see this coming but for me it was a bolt from the blue that again made the book really enjoyable.
Eric Conger does a perfect job of the narration. For me his voice is now as much a part of Virgil Flowers as Richard Ferrone's voice is of Lucas Davenport. Production is flawless, well directed, and clear and easy to listen to.
If Sandford holds to his usual cadence there'll be another Davenport story to listen to later this year, and another Flowers story at the beginning of 2011. I already can't wait. Thanks Audible for bringing back one of my favorites.
This is the most completely entertaining audiobook I've listened to in quite some time. It's a well-plotted story played-out by a really likable protagonist and a great mix of supporting characters. The story has considerable humor, dry and otherwise, woven into it which actually enhances the listening experience. The reader is very good -- especially his interpretation of Virgil Flowers. This is audiobook dollars well spent.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Mom to his 10-year-old daughter.
I'm a big fan of Sandford's Lucas Davenport novels but have been disappointed with his Virgil Flowers spinoff. Not any more. Rough Country is a very good story with interesting characters, humor and a storyline that relies less on implausible twists and more on reasoned deduction. I also felt like Sandford didn't pad the story with a lot of details that were not germane to the story. He treated us to 10+ hours of narrative that was just enough to tell the story. I like long listens but I don't like it when I finish an 18-hour book and feel like it could have been told in 12-hours without losing anything. This book was the right length. Good narration makes this a must-listen for Sandford fans.
I have always liked John Sandford's style of writing. I have read, and re-read, every book in the "Prey" series. Virgil Flowers character is excellent. I love his easy-going style. It's not often you find a state cop that drives a truck and pulls a boat wherever he goes! His writing style makes you feel like you are there in person. I grew up in central and northern MN and know this area very well. Now some 25 years later and living in the south, it makes me feel like I am back home when I read/listen to these books. The quality of the audio and narration is excellent.
i think this is the 3rd in sandford's "Virgil Flowers" series that i've listened to. I've enjoyed them all. Not the same as the Davenport series, but i think i like them just as much. Narration was good, story was good... i don't ask for much more.
Although I doubt I'll ever tire of Lucas Davenport, Virgil Flowers gives John Sandford some fresh canvass to paint a new and interesting protaganist to go with an always interesting cast of characters and another great murder mystery set in the backwoods of northern Minnesota. I also didn't think Richard Ferone could be improved upon as a narrator, but Eric Conger puts in another great peformance, handling the different characters and genders and accents with ease and accuracy. I only wish there were more audio books of this caliber
It had mystery and humor, It was sexy and fun.
I was a little hesitant on buying this one because
sometimes Sandford will just push out a new novel
for us only because he feel he needs to.
With this one he REALLY enjoyed writing, I could feel it.
The story held my interest from start to finish,
got me wondering about new characters,
had great character build up and I found Virgil to
be rather sexy in this one.
I like the new character introduction, It's fun reading
Sandfords novels when laced with humor. Virgil develops
more of that in this book. Of course narrater Eric Conger
didn't hurt with his sex appeal lending his voice as Virgil
was a good choice.
I've read the two previous Virgil Flowers' books and was so happy to see another installment. While not as good as Heat Lightning, it's still better than the re-warmed-over latest Davenport books. I love Virgil's character and philosophy about life. He's funny and quirky (however the T-shirt shtick is enough already) and he's a joy to read. To me, the mystery is less interesting than Virgil's actions, thoughts, and love life. All the Flowers books are good and fun reads, but to really get to know Virg, read them in order.
Can't wait for the next one!
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