On the first page of the latest Virgil Flowers novel we learn that David Birkmann is a killer. “He’d gotten away with it, he thought.” Naturally, since we also know that Virgil will be called on to investigate the murder, we’re perfectly well aware that David most certainly will not get away with it. However, in Deep Freeze, the tenth novel in the saga of Virgil Flowers, we have to wait nearly 400 pages to understand exactly how the legendary detective solves the case. And along the way we’ll have a lot of fun with the subplot, which involves Barbie Dolls converted into sex toys.
The action in Deep Freeze unfolds in the depth of winter in Trippton, one of the many small towns in Minnesota in Virgil Flowers’ territory. Dave Birkmann is “the Bug Man of Trippton,” owner of the local pest control service. He is grossly overweight and what some might call a nebbish. Nobody would ever consider Dave to be the killer of one of the town’s richest and most beautiful women, the owner of the local bank. Even Virgil will have a hard time coming to that conclusion. And therein lies the fun in this latest Virgil Flowers novel.
Deep Freeze (Virgil Flowers #10) by John Sandford (2017) 399 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
No signs of fatigue in this latest Virgil Flowers novel
At this point in a long-running series, a lesser writer than John Sandford might be showing the signs of boredom with his character. Not so with Virgil. Though the series began as a spinoff from the even longer-running Prey novels, Virgil is, for my money, the most engaging of Sandford’s stock characters. He is a cop who hates guns and typically refuses to carry one. He’d rather be fishing or writing about fish and wildlife, his successful sideline. He holds a university degree in environmental science. And he has an insatiable appetite for beautiful women, which leads him into bed with a different female in almost every one of the books. It has also led him to marry three times and get divorced every time. In this latest Virgil Flowers novel, he appears to be in danger of succumbing a fourth time, but we know that’s not going to happen.
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