Three teen killers on a rampage in Minnesota. Law enforcement unable to find them. Locals roiling with fear and outrage as the murder spree continues to claim victims. No doubt about it, Minnesota authorities are furiously engaged in the pursuit of unpredictable killers, both officers and citizens enraged by the bold crimes, everything pointing to a bad ending for Jimmy Sharp, Becky Welsh and Tom McCall. The only calm voice in the middle of chaos is Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers, who liaisons with notoriously hardcore Sheriff Lewis Duke of Bare County, where the parents of the killers live. Virgil wants to keep the young miscreants alive, working concurrently on a murder theory that triggers another, more complicated investigation dependent on the collaboration of the most impulsive of the youths, Jimmy Sharp. Jimmy's homicidal impulses are enthusiastically applauded by girlfriend Becky Welsh, Tom McCall a participant in the trio by convenience, dragged into the drama by the lovers.
Flowers is cast in the same mold as Sandford's popular Lucas Davenport, albeit a younger version, Davenport the star of Sandford's "Prey series" and now Virgil's boss. Like his mentor, Flowers is tall, handsome, rugged and familiar with the part of the state where the murders take place. His prose as vigorous and entertaining as in the Prey novels, Sandford builds the tension of a final confrontation through chapters describing the young killers and their victims and the unfolding conflict between what Virgil needs to happen when the three are caught and Sheriff Duke's intentions for the spree killers. With a little romance on the side- a common Virgil Flowers stress-reliever- the plot remains tight and focused, the author skillfully avoiding an anti-climactic ending while delivering non-stop action to the last page. Written with the same energy and imagination of his early novels, Sandford has a surfeit of material for future installments, the BCA lawman following the large footsteps of his storied supervisor, embellishing the thriller with his own skill set and idiosyncratic behavior. Luan Gaines/2012.