Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Really good read...but missing a certain something
on October 9, 2013
John Sandford's latest Virgil Flowers book "Storm Front" is a really good read, despite the fact that in some ways an un-Sandford book. The story of a purloined archeological treasure that could be used to rewrite history is quite compelling.
The chase to track down the "Solomon Stone" races back and forth over Minnesota and involves an international cast of characters...you get Mossad, Israeli archaelogists, Hezbollah, Turks, academicians on the make, reality tv stars, with the help of wannabe pilots and local criminals and hustlers-at least of few of which will likely make appearances in future books. The action moves along at a good clip, Lucas Davenport has cameo telephone appearances, and the BCA hard ass squad comes in to provide backup.
There are some of the usual Sandford tactics-like the situation resolving itself, and then spinning back out of control. The author is-as always-very good at juggling a large cast of characters, and has the skill-maybe the literary gift-of writing in such a way that as he pushes you toward one scene/action, you forget about a character...and when that character pops back up it is a surprise.
If you have never read a Sandford/Virgil Flowers book, you will enjoy it. If you have followed the series, you will enjoy it. A good read that I heartily recommend.
So why only four stars? Because it is missing a certain something. This is in a way the most vanilla of the Flowers novels. If you doubt me, read the book and calculate the body count. There is far more slight of hand and skullduggery working here than in most Sandford novels, and that makes the book drag at points. Also, there is a feeling of the generic to the background. There is little of Minnesota in this. Beyond a few local yokel type names for bars and such ("Custard's Last Stand"), there is little of the local color that make both the Davenport and the Flowers novels so interesting. The things that make Virgil tick-going to crime scenes towing his boat, working on an article or thinking item x could make a good article, new references to his background, his ruminations on philosophy-not here.
This story could have taken place in Alaska, Bolivia, Manhattan, Amsterdam, Boston, Nokesville, VA...anyplace. There is nothing really Minnesota to it...and as someone who enjoys the local color Sandford normally brings to the table, that is enough to bump this otherwise highly entertaining book from five stars to four.
SPOILER: Chapter 23 might be the finest and most succinct chapter the author has ever penned.