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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, entertaining thriller/mystery. Great start to a new series
You don't need to have read any of the Prey series to enjoy the adventures of this spin-off character, an American investigator working in Minnesota. If you happen to have read the Lucas Davenport series then you'll already be familiar with Virgil Flowers, who pops up in the background now and then. In this series he takes centre stage, acting as a solo officer working...
Published on 3 April 2010 by Rowena Hoseason

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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars -- effectively suspenseful and pleasantly entertaining
This is my first experience with a John Sandford novel, and it was quite enjoyable. The main character in this one, Virgil Flowers, is a bit like Jack-Reacher-lite -- smart, irresistible to women, tough, and a bit lacking in inner life -- but unlike Reacher, he's attached to a law enforcement unit and he's in a specific place (rural Minnesota). The plot is an effective...
Published 3 months ago by Stanley Crowe


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, entertaining thriller/mystery. Great start to a new series, 3 April 2010
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
You don't need to have read any of the Prey series to enjoy the adventures of this spin-off character, an American investigator working in Minnesota. If you happen to have read the Lucas Davenport series then you'll already be familiar with Virgil Flowers, who pops up in the background now and then. In this series he takes centre stage, acting as a solo officer working on unusual cases beyond the Twin City limits.
Flowers is an intriguing character; an amiable womaniser who falls in love at the drop of a shoe. He's also a writer, a hunter, something of a philosopher, and a shrewd investigator. He has a wicked sense of humour when it comes to choosing T-shirts, too. And an excellent nickname which I can't mention here...
John Sandford constructs, as usual, an entirely believable situation for his characters who feel like genuine, real life people. Sometimes the scenarios get a little complicated (the plot in this novel has maybe a few too many possible outcomes for the reader to keep track of them all), but the interactions between the core characters are spot-on. The dialogue is precious: often Flowers will deliver a deadpan line which will have you hooting with laughter. And often his latest girlfriend knows exactly how to knock him down. And Sandford doesn't skimp on the background description: small-town America springs to life and you can almost see the blue grass swaying.
So I can happily recommend this series of modern, smart, intelligent police procedurals. There are three in the series so far, and this is the first: a great place to start.
8/10

See also Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers 2)
Rough Country (Virgil Flowers 3)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark of the moon, 16 Sept. 2008
By 
K. S. Wykes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
A great new character from Jihn Sandford. Now that Lucas Davenport is happily settled down we needed an edgier star to satisfy us. Flowers delivers this, the humour is still there and he gets the girls, something I have missed in last few Prey books. More please!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flowers to the fore, 5 Dec. 2008
By 
Michael Ward (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
I think I have now read all of John Sandford's published work. I believe that the Lucas Davenport /Prey novels are some of the most intriguing and enjoyable. I wasn't clear how he could develop this character further, so it was with delight that I read this book about one of the more minor characters from the Prey novels. It was worth it. I now can look forward to a new book each year I hope, for some years to come.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars -- effectively suspenseful and pleasantly entertaining, 22 Oct. 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
This is my first experience with a John Sandford novel, and it was quite enjoyable. The main character in this one, Virgil Flowers, is a bit like Jack-Reacher-lite -- smart, irresistible to women, tough, and a bit lacking in inner life -- but unlike Reacher, he's attached to a law enforcement unit and he's in a specific place (rural Minnesota). The plot is an effective variant of an Agatha Christie type of plot. That's to say, we're in a small town where everybody knows everybody, and it's clear pretty early on that the murderer must be local and therefore very much in plain sight. Sandford handles this aspect of the plot very well, and like Poirot or Miss Marple, we get a consideration of all the possible suspects, and the probabilities of the possible guilt of each is weighed. I won't say more about the details of this in the interest of not spoiling things for non-readers.

This traditional plot is grafted effectively on to more sensational and 21st century elements -- one of the suspects is involved in the production of meth-amphetamines, and that means that the Federal Drug Enforcement makes an appearance. So we have another common detective story trope -- the interaction of the local police and the Feds. In fact, there are three levels of law enforcement at work: the local police in the rural community (can they be trusted?), Virgil Flowers, who works for the State of Minnesota out of the Twin Cities, and the aforementioned Feds. Sandford keeps all these balls in the air quite effectively, and he manages a very un-Agatha-Christie-like big shoot up at a crucial point in the novel. There's also another familiar theme -- the crime in the present has roots quite far back in the past, in the 1960's in this case. One thinks of Peter Robinson's very different novel "Children of the Revolution, " where also the '60's have a lot to answer for. Add to the mix efficient crisp dialogue, sexy women . . . it's pleasant entertainment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Airplane or holiday read, 7 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
It was ok, a good holiday read - not much concentration required. I will probably read another in the future, it would however only happen if I couldn't find an alternative, obviously this is my opinion only, I can see that the books would be popular.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Sandford is good whichever direction he goes, 18 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
Linking two of his main men from the Prey series is fine by me with good change of direction to solve the crimes
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5.0 out of 5 stars !/2 way thru, 16 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
My wife and I both enjoy thriller murder mysteries. I'm really enjoying this new author to me I'll be buying more in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, 17 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
I've read almost all of Sandford's superb Prey series and decided to read the first of the Virgil Flowers series (Flowers being a minor character in the Prey series). I hadn't expected it to be as good as the Prey series but I was delighted to find the same humour, pace, observation and characterisation as in his other books.

Highly recommended.
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2.0 out of 5 stars M O O N, that Spells Doom, 17 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
John Sandford's `Prey' novels are amongst the best crime thrillers to come out of America in the past 20 years. Lucas Davenport, the maverick cop, uses his contacts and moral ambiguity to catch a killer. However, like Sandford himself, Davenport is getting on a little and needs a younger man to do the running and gunning for him; step forwards Virgil Flowers, a maverick cop who specialises in solving violent murders. Although Davenport may not be the centre of `Dark of the Moon', surely enough of the same ingredients are present for it to work just the same?

Unfortunately, this is not the case and `Moon' is probably the worst novel by Sandford I have read. Firstly, Flowers is no Davenport - he may have a few quips and a line of novelty t-shirts, but there is no dark anger that drives Davenport. Flowers seems a far more cerebral man. Intelligence should not be looked down upon in life, but in fiction it can be a bit of a bore. Whilst Davenport goes about solving murders by interviewing his network of pimps and criminals, Flowers seeks the library, or older witnesses. All a little dull. It is not helped that Flowers is constantly phoning his boss, Davenport, reminding you of exactly what you are missing.

The usual Sandford writing style is also gone. The `Prey' novels revel in swapping between murderer and pursuer, taking a chapter at a time. `Moon' is all about a laborious investigation into something that happened 30 years earlier. I question whether Sandford had as much influence in this book as in previous novels he has written. His acknowledgements mention another author who helped on the book; did Sandford provide a rough outline for a less skilled writer to fill in? This is certainly how the book feels as the beats are all Sandford, but the meat ain't.

A real disappointment from one of the best crime writers around.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overly complicated although enjoyable, 15 May 2009
By 
SonicQuack (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark of the Moon (Paperback)
An offshoot from the 'Prey' series of books sees Virgil Flowers, another member of the BCA, become embroiled in a series of murders outside the Twin Cities. Sandford creates a distinctly different lead character from that of Lucas Davenport, although his signature writing style is still prevalent. There are moments of amusement, well though out action sequences and plenty of misdirection to keep readers guessing. That said, the myriad of characters involved requires series attention to keep on top of the thought processes of Flowers as he deciphers the clues and conversations around him. The overall likeability of the characters and narrative style make up for the convoluted plot, and as a result Dark of the Moon is a welcome diversion to the Prey series, although not (yet) as captivating.
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Dark of the Moon
Dark of the Moon by John Sandford (Paperback - 1 Sept. 2008)
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