Sunday, March 25, 2018

✱✱ AudioBook Review ✱✱ Escape Clause by John Sandford

Escape Clause 
A Virgil Flowers Novel, Book 9
by John Sandford
Narrated by Eric Conger

Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers' case, make that two.

The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are "pure reading pleasure" (Booklist).

The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large and very rare Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they've been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others - as Virgil is about to find out.

Then there's the home front. Virgil's relationship with his girlfriend, Frankie, has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie's sister, Sparkle, moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another...she thinks Virgil's kind of cute.

     "You mess around with Sparkle," Frankie told Virgil, "you could get yourself stabbed."

     "She carries a knife?"

     "No, but I do."

Forget a storm - this one's a tornado.

Momma Says: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Virgil Flowers is back and as usual, he only gets the hard stuff. As if the hunt for a pair of rare tigers stolen from the zoo isn't enough, things are further complicated by murder. And then there's Virgil's personal life and his relationship with Frankie, who is not at all what you'd expect in a cop's girlfriend and neither is her family. One of my favorite things about Virgil is the way he goes about solving a case. It's not so much procedural as a series of conversations where he gets a feel for the people involved and some lucky breaks in unlikely places. The Virgil Flowers series ties in with Sandford's Prey series and many of the characters appear in both, including Jenkins and Shrake, two of my favorites. We also get a couple of peeks at Lucas, who pulled me in and got me started on this crazy journey all the way back in the first Prey novel. Any of the books can be read as standalones, but to get the full story of these characters, I would recommend reading the series in order. John Sandford has created some of the most colorful characters in crime fiction and thrown them into some wonderfully adventurous tales full of suspense, action, and even a bit of humor as they interact while solving their cases. As I did listen to this one, I should add that as a long time fan of the author who hasn't missed a book, I was quite impressed with Eric Conger's narration. He brings Virgil to life perfectly and kept me listening long past bedtime to hear what would happen next. 

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