Virgil had never seen a purely ideological murder, Republicans being too cautious, Democrats generally being bad shots.
I don’t like John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers character as much as I like his more famous detective, Lucas Davenport. But I quite enjoyed Bloody Genius, the latest in the Flowers series. I notice that it’s gotten a lot of poor Amazon reviews, but I had a good time.
Virgil Flowers is a deceptively laid-back agent for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He dresses like an aging rock musician, and goes fishing on company time, but he closes cases.
This time he’s called to Minneapolis (which he hates; rural Minnesota is his stomping grounds) to investigate the murder of a famous genetic researcher at the university, who was battered to death in his study carrell in the library. No motive is apparent, and the murder weapon is uncertain – though his heavy laptop computer is missing.
Virgil probes the murky waters of academic rivalries, and the victim’s sexual escapades, and his family relationships. But the real culprit and the real motive will be new ones in his experience.
As often happens with these books, they take me to places I’m familiar with, at least to some extent, and I enjoy that. And I like Sandford’s observations of the world, though Flowers’s eyes – quite often they’re politically incorrect.
I was surprised by the observation, at a couple points, that the University of Minnesota’s team colors are red and gold. Even I, the opposite of a sports fan, know they’re maroon and gold.
But I particularly liked Harry, an old guy Virgil meets in a bar. Harry informs Virgil that he can recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “Gunga Din.” As it happens, those were my performance pieces back in the day. Harry might almost be me, except that I don’t hang out in bars.
As always, cautions for lots of foul language and adult themes.