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Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

Considering when I read this book, this review comes a little late; I'm already deep into another book. How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend? I spent mine reading this book. About 30 pages in, I was still thinking about whether or not I was going to finish it or ditch it and move on to the next one. There are too many books on my reading list to mess around with one I don't like or that doesn't hook me in the first few chapters. I used to feel guilty about dropping a book after a chapter or two if it didn't work out, but ever since one of my college professors said it was okay, I don't feel so bad about ditching a book if it's not connecting with me. There's always the next one. Then the next thing I knew, I was in over 100 pages; this book sucks you in like that.

Dark of the Moon features Virgil Flowers, an off-beat agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (I think it's an equivalent of PA's State Troopers... some states have state troopers and others have state bureaus of investigation). Flowers works for Lucas Davenport, a main character for Sandford's popular Prey series, and indeed, Davenport does make a few brief appearances in the book. Flowers has been called out to a rural county to assist the local sheriff in a baffling murder investigation that is basically dead in the water--no leads, no suspects. The night Flowers arrives in the small town another man is murdered and his place is torched and before long the bodies are piling up in the small town. The question isn't necessarily are the murders connected--so many murders in a county that hasn't seen one in decades means they are almost certainly related--but how are they connected? The investigation is further complicated by the small town atmosphere where news and gossip spread faster than wildfire, secrets are extremely hard to keep, and everyone knows their neighbors' business. Who can Flowers trust among the townspeople, one whom is the killer? All the man knows for sure is that he's got a crazy person dropping people like flies, and it all may tie into a decades old mystery and cover up perpetrated by some of the town's most notorious citizens.

This was a suspenseful mystery; even though the murders are pretty brutal, the novel has its touches of humor. This is definitely a guy's book. It was written by a guy, and the characters and the language are definitely male. This isn't a bad thing; I read male authors, but I'm not used to reading about characters doing this, doing that, "taking a pee" and then going on to the next thing. Now that I think about it; it sounds like an old guy, and the character, from what I can figure out, is in his late 30's.

One other thing that bothered me a little bit. What kind of a name is Virgil Flowers?

I recommend this book if you're a big Sandford fan, you will enjoy it; you will also like it if you are a die hard crime fiction fan. It is available to borrow at the Matthews Public Library and upon request from every library in Lebanon county.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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