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3.5 out of 5 stars44
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2014
I don't generally like to leave tepid or negative reviews but I think so highly of John Sandford - I've read all his Prey and Virgil Flowers novels and have found them all to be 5* reads - that I can't bear to see him diluting the quality of his work by apparently co-writing his novels with other authors.

No other author appears on the cover and it's not quite clear from the few words before the story starts what 'help' exactly - research? writing? - he was given by Michele Cook, whom he credits. He's acknowledged 'help' before from people who would probably have been experts in police procedure and so on. But this book is such a tremendous fall-off in form in every way - writing style, plot, credibility, humour, even basic common sense - that I find it hard to believe that the same John Sandford who wrote the other books wrote this one on his own.

In any other field than publishing, I wonder whether this would be considered as 'passing off' and in the UK, against the Trades Descriptions Act. All sorts of things in publishing are weird but if I'm buying a novel with 'John Sandford' on the cover, I want him to have written it. If he hasn't, I'd like him and his publishers to be honest with me and put the names of all of the authors on the cover. Then I'll make my own mind up about whether I want to buy it, as is my right.

I gather that Mr Sandford is now aiming to publish both a Prey novel and a Virgil Flowers novel a year and maybe that's why he's sought a co-author but I'd rather buy a good quality book once a year than not buy a disappointing book twice a year.

If it's pressure from his publisher that's driving this I think they're making a mistake.

Please, Mr Sandford, it's you I want to read!
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on 2 March 2014
Having been an avid fan of sandford since i first discovered him about 12years ago,I eagerly await each new book! What a disappointment storm front was.I cannot believe that john sandford had anything to do with it apart from his name on the front! My best advice is to get his publishers to recall all copies and burn them to prevent his reputation being ruined! As for that ghost writer sack them for writing total garbage!!!
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on 23 October 2013
If John Sandford wrote this piece of garbage, I'm a monkey's uncle. This is tripe and had nothing to do with the the Virgil Flowers series. I KNOW how Sandford writes. John!!!! Don't turn into James Patterson You will betray your loyal followers. LISTEN TO ME.
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on 29 May 2014
Like other reviewers I was concerned seeing the range of votes cast for this book. I've finished it now and feel I can say it isn't a John sandford classic but is certainly not the turkey some reviewers are stating. The plot is quite ridiculous is why I marked it down but the trademark humour and strong Virgil characterisation helped. It was quite unbelievable how many different characters were interacting and hats off to managing all these parties but it just made it all a bit chaotic. Maybe the co authorship didn't help but worth a read.
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on 15 October 2013
I have read all of John Sandfords books and I think that this book is by far the worst that he has written. The story line is pretty poor and I would not recommend it for reading
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on 15 December 2013
I tried to finish this book but eventually gave up after 75% approx. I can`t believe this was written by John Sandford it is absolute garbage. Leave the conspiracy theories to Dan Brown and don`t try and write like Patterson ie for kids.
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on 25 November 2013
I enjoy Sandford's books and like the character Virgil. Part way through this book it felt like I was reading a different author as the storyline was simplistic, and often inconsistent. I kept hoping it would improve, but it regressed instead. Finally, 83% of the way through the book I gave up on it. Out of curiosity I checked the credits and found out it was co-written. I checked Amazon's listing and nowhere was it indicated that another author was involved. I feel ripped off and would like my £9.99 back.
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on 14 June 2014
Until I'd read the Amazon-reviews I had not fully appreciated the extent of the involvement of a co-author. But now it explains a lot. I really was enjoying this novel in the excellent Flowers series up to the point when I did feel it was getting a bit out of control. Nevertheless I still thought it was worth at least 3 star. Would have been four if I'd truly understood everything that was going on.
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on 9 May 2015
I like Mr Sandford's work, especially his novels featuring ace Minnesota cop and political fixer Lucas Davenport. This spin-off series with Virgil Flowers, one of Davenport's key investigators, stands up well in its own right. The theme throughout the Virgil Flowers books is that Davenport gives Flowers the weird or hard cases, usually those with potential political repercussions for Davenport's bosses. I don't think this particular novel is one of the best although it is as usual very readable. The case centres on why a respected academic should steal a venerable relic from an archaeological dig in Israel before escaping to the Minnesota backlands. Flowers is on the hunt but so are various bad guys as well as rogue Israeli spies. The book has a lighter touch and features a lot of Flowers attempting to attract the various female characters he encounters and musing on his life, as well as trying to solve the case. And get in some illicit fishing. Perhaps that's my problem with this one. It feels a little lightweight compared to earlier books in the series and especially to the Lucas Davenport novels themselves.
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on 14 November 2013
Worst by far of John Sandford's novels. If I were him I would ditch his new writing partner and get back to writing by himself.
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