Thank you, John Sandford


I ended last week with a disastrous visit to the physiotherapist (for my RSI). Something went very wrong with the therapy, and I ended up with a hugely painful (but not serious) sprain in my back.

Spent the next 3 days flat on my back on the heating pad, floating in a haze of painkillers. The timing could not have been more wrong. It was our 10th anniversary weekend and instead of the lovely plans we had made, K had to drive me all the way to the back of beyond (nearly 2 hours each way) to get me examined and treated. Add to that, babysitting duties…feeding and entertaining a bored snubnose is a full-time task! But K coped really well, thank you K! and hopefully, our celebrations will happen later.

So, why am I thanking John Sandford? Well, this is primarily a book blog, and John Sandford did provide me with some entertaining reading while I was down. So, thank you to John Sandford as well. I read Dead Watch and Dark of the Moon back-to-back and completed them within 2 days!

Dead Watch

Deadwatch This one seems to be a stand-alone novel (for now). A prominent ex-senator goes missing, and Jake Winter (an investigator attached to the White House) has to figure out what happened. Elections are coming up, and the missing ex-senator is causing all kinds of complications to both Republicans and Democrats. When he eventually turns up dead, the action-adventure heats up.

In my mind, this book is so-so, definitely not Sandford’s best. Here, he ventures into territory best left to David Baldacci, and other such writers who churn out mediocre White House-oriented thrillers. John Sandford is much better than that, and I seriously hope he is not going to churn out more such clunkers.

Note: It’s not a bad book, but not even close to Sandford’s usual, tight, thrilling books.

Dark of the Moon

Dark of the Moon Ahh! This one was a reading pleasure. This book is the first book in the Virgil Flowers series and it introduces Virgil Flowers – a hippy-dippy, chilled out, laid back, ladies man – a police investigator working for the Minnesota police. He is deputed to investigate a chilling double murder of an elderly couple in a small town in the countryside. His arrival in town sparks off a series of murders causing the local sherriff a headache. Virgil takes things in his hands and hunts down the killer.

Earlier, I had read the second book in this series – Heat Lightning, and had liked it quite a bit. Dark of the Moon is even better. It’s a nicely plotted book, with tons of red herrings strewn around. The small-town American western atmosphere, and the well-etched characters, combined with a neat twist in the tale all make it one fun read.

The editing was sloppy though. In a thriller, most readers generally take care to notice every tiny point in the book in order to guess the murderer in advance. Sloppy editing and plotting errors that lead the reader astray cannot be excused. At one point in the story, an elderly man opens a door late at night fearful of hearing bad news about one of his adult children. When the police arrive after he’s killed, they tell Flowers the man was childless. For a long time, this confused me and I thought this was a genuine plot construct…but no, it has no bearing on the murders, nor is it explained away. A genuine mistake which should have been caught before publishing.

Ahh, forget it. In spite of these issues, I still liked these books enough, they are both good old-fashioned whodunnits that were just perfect easy reads for me.

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