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.
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. Dad to his 14-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.
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.
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.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Okay, y'gotta read Rough Country to get my title up there. But you gotta read it to have a good time too. Eric Conger brings Virgil Flowers to full bloom once again and he squeezes the stitching out of every character and plot twist that John Sandford imagined in this ass kickin' adventure. If you're looking for fun wrapped inside of a nice puzzle... here it be! I'll be reading another Virgil Flowers adventure with murder, wild folks and hot women. Why? Because this one was cool.
OH... BTW... don't start with this Flowers novel. Too many flashbacks to previous stories in this series. And most of them are spoilers if and when you go back to earlier books. So... do read this, but start earlier on with the series. You'll thank me... or John Sandford.
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.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
I'm reviewing some of the John Sandford novels I listened to several years ago. Rough Country is the third novel in the 9 novel Virgil Flowers series which is a spin off of the Lucas Davenport series. The first novel in the series was released in 2007, 18 years after the start of the Davenport series. Davenport appears briefly in Virgil Flowers series novels as Flowers' boss at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (what most states call their State Bureau of investigation).
Flowers is not at all like the wealthy and urbane Lucas Davenport. He works outside the twin cities throughout the state always towing his fishing boat behind his vehicle just in case he finds the time for his second favorite activity. His attitude toward life is usually devil may care. He loves women and in most of the novels in the series he loves them and leaves them. He is also a great cop.
In this book Virgil Flowers investigates the of a woman killed by a sniper at a women only resort. He is clearly in his element. I rate this novel 5 stars and it is likely the best of the 9 novels released so far. However, all of them are at least solid 4 star detective mysteries. Eric Conger is an excellent narrator, but in my opinion he is not in the top tier.
I enjoy Virgil Flowers stories. This murder mystery is an easy listen with a number of characters to keep straight without being overwritten. The story is told in an interesting way without too much fluff. It held my attention from the very beginning with the mysterious sniper killing. I liked how Sandford described the murder scene and the search for clues along the swampy banks of a river. I could "see" the scene and felt like I was there watching rather than listening. There are twists and turns with a good bit of humor and a couple of interesting subplots weaved in and out of the storyline.
Eric Conger is an excellent narrator. He performed the story very well.
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.
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