by John Sandford
Recommended Ages: 14+
It's nice for Virgil, a likeably easy-going and highly competent detective who's been burned three times in marriage, to have a passionate and tender relationship with the similarly scarred Lee Coakley, though, of course, it won't last. It's nice to know, too, that this revolting case doesn't cause them to develop an aversion to romance. This book, for all its popular-entertainment standard of literary merit, delivers a disturbingly believable look inside the mindset of a closed-off little sect that, sometime since its members immigrated from Germany, has developed some certifiably fruity ideas about the "world of law" versus the "world of spirit," and in particular, about "righteous" men's sexual uses for women, girls, and even some boys. Not only does this horrifying group breed itself a female serial killer - a rarity even in crime fiction - but it also leads to some of the most suspenseful, scary, and violent scenes in the John Sandford oeuvre, so far as I have read it. Whether or not justice is done, and in spite of a lightening leaven of humor and sexiness, at the end the good guys will be left with burdens on their conscience, the victims with agonizing disorders of the mind and soul, and the reader with the unsettling sensation that this book won't be gotten over quickly.
This is Book 4 of the Virgil Flowers thrillers by John Sandford, a pseudonym of two-time Pultizer Prize journalist John Camp. A 10th novel in the series, titled Deep Freeze, is due to be released Oct. 17, 2017. Other books in the series include Storm Front, Deadline, and Escape Clause.