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Storm Front (A Virgil Flowers Novel) Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: A Virgil Flowers Novel (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159305
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,597 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Thriller Award–winner Sandford ventures into Da Vinci Code territory in his clever, quirky seventh Virgil Flowers novel (after 2012's Mad River). When an archeological dig in Israel turns up a stele—an inscribed piece of stone—with the potential to shake the roots of Biblical faith, Elijah Jones, a college professor who fears he's dying, steals the precious artifact and flees home to Mankuto, Minn. Virgil, a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent, at first simply attempts to recover the stolen object, but soon finds himself trying to outwit mercenary Turks as well as agents of the Mossad, Hezbollah, and Texas gazillionares, all of whom want the artifact for their own purposes. Despite the bloodthirsty fanaticism the participants display, the quest for the stone provides many opportunities for cross-cultural verbal confusion and violent slapstick. Though attracted to a sexy local criminal who's become Jones's accomplice, the exasperated Virgil mainly tries to stop the commotion before anyone gets seriously hurt. Unusually good-natured intrigue distinguishes this outing. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Oct.)

From Booklist

The seventh Virgil Flowers mystery finds the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent handed (by his boss, and star of his own series, Lucas Davenport) a curious case. Seems a local college professor stole a valuable artifact from an Israeli archaeological dig, returned home to the States, and then promptly vanished; an Israeli investigator is on her way, determined to track the man down and reclaim the artifact. As it turns out, the case isn’t as straightforward as it appears: other people seem pretty interested in the artifact (as evidenced by the violent break-in at the professor’s house), and Virgil can’t keep himself from thinking the Israeli investigator isn’t telling him the whole story. Kudos to Sandford for taking what could have been an ancient-mystery thriller à la Dan Brown (all the ingredients are here, including a secret that could shake the very foundations of Christianity) and playing it like a cop novel. Fans of the Flowers and Davenport series will thoroughly enjoy this one. --David Pitt

More About the Author

John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master's degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He's also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archaeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at www.rehov.org. In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.

Customer Reviews

Very good plot and character development.
Joseph G. Vallee
I love john sandford books with characters lucas davenport and virgil flowers and always look for the next book to come out.
sherry manley
The story is weak, the characters are boring and the plot goes on and on to nowhere.
MikeW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

210 of 225 people found the following review helpful By Amy on October 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Virgil (nicknamed "that F***in' Flowers" by his police buddies) has always had a bit more comedy to him than Sandford's other police novel hero, Lucas Davenport. But in "Storm Front," a lot of the comedic attempts are of the kind more likely to elicit groans than genuine laughs. To me, this book seems more like a parody of a John Sandford novel, than an actual John Sandford novel. The book is full of caricatures rather than characters, and there aren't any homicides to solve. (I prefer a novel with a lower violence level than, e.g., the Jack Reacher books - one or two murders per novel are plenty for me. But the plot of this one just felt like the stakes were too low to be very interesting. I'm not a fan of "religious mystery" plots.)

I heard Sandford's interview on NPR several months ago, in which he said that other writers would be involved in drafting "Sandford" books from now on, to enable more per year to be published. This is the first new book by "Sandford" I have read since hearing that interview, and I have to say, I think the quality of the writing has suffered. I hope Sandford and his collaborator(s) get better at the new system of turning out "Sandford" novels, so I can enjoy future ones as well as I did the earlier ones. Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books have always been 4- to 5-star quality, before "Storm Front."
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99 of 104 people found the following review helpful By H. Bond on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a devoted fan of John Sandford, but Storm Front is the first book he has written which made me sorry that I wasted the time and money to read it. This book is NOT worthy of previous Virgil Flowers books which featured a smart, irreverent detective who solves his cases by a combination of gossip-y interaction and quiet reflection while he fishes.

Although the book has the requisite 2-3 paragraphs which describe Virgil's physical aspect (6'2" tall, hair worn "farmer long," cowboy boots, etc.), the protagonist in Storm Front bears no recognizable resemblance in anything that really counts to previous books. Was this book ghost-written?

I was very disappointed in this book.
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126 of 134 people found the following review helpful By David Earl Harwood on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read and loved every book by John Sandford. I know John Sandford. And folks, this is NOT John Sandford. I don't know how much was written by the co-author, but I could tell from the first sentence of the horrible first chapter that someone besides Sandford was writing this. What a huge disappointment after waiting so long for another Virgil Flowers installment. The author has truly let his fans down with this one.
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Mayfield on October 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"thump, pause, thump, pause, thump, pause, thump." This riveting passage on p. 125 aptly describes my reading experience for John Sanford's latest offering in the Virgil Flowers series, as it captures the sound of my kindle hitting the floor as I repeatedly fell asleep trying to make my way throught it. An inane plot, cardboard characters and vapid dialogue doom this book. Having read and greatly enjoyed all of Sanford's prior Davenport and Flowers novels, it is clear he had little to do with this one. Whatever committee was responsible for writing this dud should be disbanded immediately, and the series returned to the clever and witty writer who created it. Am off to see if I can get a refund.
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216 of 240 people found the following review helpful By Killswitch on October 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have never read a John Sandford book, don't start with this one. I have read every other book sold under the pen name John Sandford and I would recommend any of them. But this one is no good. There is no way John Camp wrote this book. The story is amateurish, bumbling, and disappointing.

I did not complete this book. I only read to chapter five before opting for a refund. It seems to be the trend for popular, established authors to have new material ghost written so that they can sell books for a premium price without expending the required effort and I suspect Mr. Camp has done that here. The content and dialog are terrible. If John Camp did write this book, he should be ashamed. It is not even close to his usual standard of excellent story telling. The editor and publisher should also be ashamed. This book is not worth the $11.99 it's selling for in the Kindle Store, and I pity those who wasted the nearly $30 to buy the hardback book.

Mr. Camp, I love your Prey novels. Lucas Davenport is my favorite fictional character, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Virgil Flowers books until now. Don't betray your fans with this mediocrity. If you don't have the time, energy, or motivation to do the job properly, then don't do it. Don't pay someone else to write a haphazard novel and them put your name on it, if that is what you have done here. I expect better, and when I pay top price of your material I deserve better. All of your fans deserve better.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By J. SEWELL on October 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a devoted Lucas and Virgil fan, but this must be the only book I did not finish reading in a single late night marathon. In fact, after Tuesday's delivery to my Kindle, it is now Thursday and I am still not quite finished, but I skipped ahead to the end. Although there was some good stuff and some nice bits of humor, it was dreadfully flat and in spite of the action, b-o-r-i-n-g. Besides being tedious, when did Virgil get so dumb? OK, not going out to the cabin hideout after a long day, that I understand and must admit I would have probably done the same.

BUT, under no circumstances would I have left the artifact just sitting out in the open in my study. Wasn't there a closet in the room? A cupboard? A file cabinet? Even a towel to throw over it?

While I am looking forward to visiting with Lucas next May, I am glad next October is a year away, so I have time to recover from how quickly 2013's Flower wilted. (Yes, that was mean of me.)
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