Monday, December 11, 2017

Minnesota BCI Agent Virgil Flowers Races to save Two Kidnapped Tigers

Minnesota BCI agent Virgil Flowers returns in another entertaining novel from John Sandford. Flowers is a laid-back guy who dresses in jeans and the tee shirts of obscure rock bands and who spends the bulk of his time investigating rural crime. He loves fishing and women, though not necessarily in that order, and is currently in a relationship with a woman named Frankie.

When two rare tigers are stolen from the Minnesota Zoo, Virgil is assigned to lead the investigation. Time is of the essence here, for the fear is that the animals will be killed and that their body parts will be harvested for the Asian market in non traditional medicinal supplements. At virtually the same moment, Frankie's sister, Sparkle, comes to spend the summer with Frankie while she finishes the research for her dissertation. The dissertation involves the exploitation of workers at a local canning factory, and when Sparkle attempts to interview employees of the factory, she quickly becomes the target of people who would rather that her investigation not be completed.

Virgil will have to devote some time to the problems that result from Sparkle's investigation, but the bulk of his time is consumed in the hunt for the tigers and the tigernappers. As usual in a Sandford novel, the point of view shifts back and forth between Virgil and the gang that has taken the tigers, and while there's a fair amount of violence in this book, there's also a great deal of the humor that readers have come to expect from a novel featuring "That F***in' Flowers."

If I have any complaint about this book, it lies in the fact that Sandford seems to be straining just a bit too hard with the humor elements of the book, at the risk of becoming a bit too cute. Also, the subplot involving Sparkle's investigation didn't really add much to the book. Still, it's always fun to hang out with Virgil and this is a very entertaining way to lose a few hours. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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