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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Storm Front by John Sandford (Flowers #7)

Storm Front  (Virgil Flowers, #7)Storm Front by John Sandford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat. In Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a message from Lucas Davenport: You’re about to get a visitor. It’s an Israeli cop, and she’s tailing a man who’s smuggled out an extraordinary relic—an inscribed stone revealing startling details about the man known as King Solomon.

Wait a minute, laughs Virgil. Is this one of those Da Vinci Code deals? The secret scroll, the blockbuster revelation, the teams of murderous bad guys? Should I be boning up on my Bible verses?

He looks at the cop. She’s not laughing. As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don’t care who’s in the way or what they have to do to get it. Maybe Virgil should start praying.

"Read" as an audiobook.  I love Eric Conger as the voice of Virgil.  I love his intonation and delivery and is an absolute delight to listen to.  I think that's what carried the plot in Storm Front, because after a while, the story began to feel like Vaudeville rather than a mystery-thriller.   Not a murder-mystery, nobody was killed, but a mystery-thriller slap schtick:  "Who's on first", "What?", "'No, Who.'"  "Who's where?" "On first.".  Yeah.  Like that.

Which brings me to my next point - I found it interesting that this was a thriller where there was no murder.  Everything revolved around one man who stole an artifact and how easily he was able to elude everyone.  Which is not surprising - I think even Virgil commented on how annoying it was looking for someone who didn't want to be found.

Where it got a bit over the top was the last third of the book, where the substantial cast of characters - the elusive thief;  his daughter; the two Israeli women; the Lebanese student and his 'guest', the Nutcracker; the globe-trotting reality show Treasure Hunter, the other Treasure Hunter; and the rural red-neck woman named "Ma" with 5 kids who wants Virgil to "scratch her itch" - begins to come together much like a slow moving drain starts to unclog.  Slowly at first then with gathering momentum, culminating in a watery sucking sound and eventually leaving bits of detris scattered about. 

Ultimately a light, entertaining thriller, full of deception, wit, and wisecracks that only Sandford can deliver.  If you're expecting something along the lines of Dark of the Moon (Flowers #1), then you'll be disappointed.   Sit back and enjoy the story.

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