Mad River
by John Sandford
Published by Putnam, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-15770-7
Virgil Flowers Novel
Hard Cover
387 pages

In a cold dry spring, the clear air gives the prairie a particular bleakness, if your mood is already bleak.

Virgil had a feeling that there’d be a shooting before the end of the day, that people who were alive and even feeling good right then, maybe asleep in their beds, would be bleeding into the dirt before the sun went down.

Written with his friend Joe Soucheray, John Sandford has penned a terrific Virgil Flowers novel. We get to see glimpses of the fiercely individualistic Flowers while Sanford unrolls a particularly brutal string of shootings by the Bonnie and Clyde style murderers–Jimmy Sharp and Becky Welsh. Much focus is placed on police procedure and the sharp mind of Flowers. The mixture works well and makes for a story I didn’t want to put down.

Flowers’ fight against the mob mentality of the small-town cops after blood makes an interesting backdrop for the killings and poses the question: What do you do with people who throw out the law-book and begin killing their neighbours and even family–just because they can? Do you bring them to justice or do you shoot them like wild dogs in the street? And what about revenge killings by family members of one of the deceased? Do you treat them the same, or is there a different law for those on the side of right?

Mad River is an interesting story about small town folk with big city problems. And no one writes about rural Minnesota and Wisconsin than does John Sandford.

5 stars

Copyright © 2015 Clayton Clifford Bye