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Shock Wave by John Sandford

I know, I know.  It's been a very long time since I've posted a review--because it's a very long time since I've read a book.  I'd started a few, but finished none and was fretting about how long this dry spell would last when along comes Shock Wave by John Sandford.  It is the latest installment in the Virgil Flowers series, and it picks up about six months after the end of the last novel in the series.  There was a wait for the book--and I think there still might be a long list of holds for the book.  It was a very fast read--it only took me a few days to read it.

Shock Wave is so titled because of the rash of bombings at the story's center.  It tells of the latest, big investigation for Virgil Flowers, the sometime writer and eternal fisherman who is also the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's top investigator and the governor's "third most favorite troublemaker."

On his day off, Virgil is called in to investigate when a bomb detonates at the new PyeMart construction site in Butternut Falls, Minnesota, killing the construction superintendent and severely traumatizing the civil engineer.  The bombing follows in the wake of one that targeted PyeMart's corporate headquarters and its CEO in Michigan and proves to be only the first in a wave of bombings targeting PyeMart's latest expansion in Minnesota.

What Virgil finds in Butternut Falls is a town on the edge of economic destruction and brought to its knees by the controversial new PyeMart that, once open for business, will gut downtown mom and pop businesses and possibly pollute the nearby river and lake famous for its fishing prospects.  The incoming PyeMart has local business owners and environmentalists alike up in arms.  Adding to the powder keg of local tensions is the sketchy nature of the town council's about face in approving PyeMart's building permits: though there's no proof, it's common knowledge among locals that three city council members and the mayor were bought by PyeMart in order to get the construction approved.

At first Virgil's focus is tracking down the bomber as his supply of TNT though diminished by the recent bombs remains more than enough to level city hall, but eventually his investigation extends to include local corruption when evidence of bribery comes to light.  Virgil deals in information and this investigation is no different with a suspect list a mile long and motives hard to dig up.  Plus there's the fact that bombers are elusive to catch to begin with.  When a viable suspect with motive, means, know how and balls finally emerges, hard evidence linking that person to the bombs is hard to come by and proves as elusive as finding a viable suspect.

Suspenseful, heart pounding, and puzzling, the reader wonders if Virgil has finally met his match.  This book is hard to put down and, like all the other Flowers novels, proves to be quick read.  I recommend you pick up this book the next time you visit the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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