From Publishers Weekly
When 19-year-old Bob Tripp hits farmer Jacob Flood in the head with a T-ball bat at the outset of Sandford's exciting fourth thriller to feature Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers (after Rough Country), Tripp's subsequent attempt to make murder look like an accident fails. The morning after Tripp's arrest, he's found hanging in his cell. Warren County sheriff Lee Coakley seeks Flowers's help to investigate what role, if any, deputy Jim Crocker, the officer on duty at the jail at the time, played in Tripp's death. A link to the earlier murder of a young woman leads Flowers and Coakley to members of a small church with strange ways. As the pair become aware of the magnitude of the unspeakable crimes (rape, child abuse, incest) behind the deaths, they search desperately for a lever to pry open what turns out to be Flowers's biggest, if perhaps most unlikely, case to date. Author tour.
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Bobby Tripp was a good kid, working at a grain mill, saving for college. But he killed Jacob Flood, a local farmer delivering his harvest; and then, after Bobby was arrested, he hung himself in jail. The sheriff, Lee Coakley, reaches out for help to Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She gets Virgil Flowers, the throwback hippie with the hair, the rock-band T-shirts, and a rep as a lockdown investigator. Coakley and Flowers catch a whiff of sexual abuse involving Bobby’s girlfriend. The abuse angle widens and is centered on a local church, but the congregation closes ranks with iron uniformity. Flowers and Coakley get a line on a woman who escaped the influence of the church years before. She becomes the key to the case, opening a Pandora’s box of multiple murders, criminal behavior among the sheriff’s deputies, and revelations of deviancy that go back generations. As usual, Sandford delivers a great mystery with action, suspense, humor, and, yes, sex. Virgil always gets his man, but he also gets the girl. Good reading, especially in the absence of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. --Wes Lukowsky