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Rough Country by John Sandford

Rough Country is the third installment in the adventures of Virgil Flowers, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension super agent. The series is written by John Sandford.

Flowers, the BCA's go to guy for cases that are especially difficult or in need of a quick turn around, is on a much needed vacation in the wake of the events that closed the previous Flowers novel.  (This shouldn't deter one from jumping in feet first mid-series; although it's smart to start at the beginning anyway because you'll go back to the beginning to read the ones you missed.)  Those events have also made Flowers a minor celebrity due to a New York Times Magazine article series the wannabe writer wrote about the investigation that was subsequently picked up and run by every local paper in Minnesota, and Flowers isn't sure he likes being a minor celebrity.

Flowers' vacation is interrupted by a phone call from his boss who pulls him off vacation to investigate a murder nearby in a county whose sheriff's department is already stretched thin due to another case that's grabbed the media spotlight.  Erica McDill, a hotshot ad executive from the Twin Cities, is murdered by a sniper while on a solo canoe excursion at a remote, exclusive, upstate resort that caters to a women only clientele.  Scarce forensic evidence complicates a case that is steeped with several viable suspects who have scads of motives.

Flowers operates in information: his philosophy is that the more information he culls on the victim, the crime and the other parties connected and/or involved with the victim and/or the crime the higher the chance that something will shake loose that breaks the case.  In this particular case there's loads of information but not much forensic evidence to point definitively to a specific suspect or motive.  Then a two year old unsolved Iowa murder comes to light whose victim shared several connections with McDill and to further complicate the investigation two more crimes are committed whose victims have tenuous ties to the original case.

This is a quick read with a perplexing mystery.  There's also an obvious suspect or two that both Flowers and reader will struggle to tease out just how and why they killed McDill.  I recommend you pick up this book--you won't regret it.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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