It’s rare in my experience to come across funny crime fiction. Donald E. Westlake‘s series about the master criminal John Dortmunder was a glaring exception and never failed to please. Carl Hiaasen‘s novels about environmental crimes fit the bill, too. Timothy Hallinan writes hilarious stories about the master burglar Junior Bender. I’m sure there are others. And the dialogue in the late Elmore Leonard‘s books sometimes makes the grade as humor. But if there is a crime writer working today whose dialogue is consistently as funny as John Sandford’s in his novels featuring the Minnesota crime investigator Virgil Flowers, I don’t know who that is.
Deadline (Virgil Flowers #8) by John Sandford @@@@ (4 out of 5)
In Deadline, Sandford’s newest excursion into the backwoods life of Virgil Flowers, a case of dognapping becomes entangled with small-town school board corruption and the murder of an alcoholic investigative journalist. Flowers’ life is threatened, and so are his friends’. Naturally, it all comes out right in the end, but the tale is a twisted one, with lots of laughs along the way despite the utter seriousness of the crimes. (Yes, you’ll come away understanding that even dognapping is serious, whatever you might think about our canine friends.)
For additional reading
You’ll find reviews of all of John Sandford’s excellent Virgil Flowers novels by clicking here. I’ve also reviewed five of his 25 Prey novels featuring Flowers’ boss, Lucas Davenport: Stolen Prey, Field of Prey, Silken Prey, Storm Prey, and Phantom Prey. You can find these reviews by typing the title into the search box in the upper left-hand corner of the home page.
You might also be interested in My 17 favorite funny novels, of which Deadline is one.
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- Top 10 mystery and thriller series;
- 20 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers; and
- 20 outstanding detective series from around the world.
For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels (plus 200 more). And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others).
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