Bad Blood by John Sandford
Reviewed by Gerti
In “Bad Blood”, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension superstar Virgil Flowers takes on a religious cult in which sex has taken the place of spirit in worship services. The book opens with a non-descript high school kid beating an older man to death at his job, and no one knows why he would do such a thing. When the kid is found dead in his jail cell, the suspicion falls on the errant deputy who was on duty when his death occurred. But then something awful (and wonderful) happens to that deputy. Exactly what is going on in Warren County?
That’s what the ever-entertaining Virgil Flowers is sent to find out, and with his nose for trouble (and the ladies) he works his way through witness after witness until he winkles it out. Oh, and he starts dating the local lady Sheriff, too.
This novel is rich with humor and depravity. There is enough description of deviant sexual behavior (including child sexual abuse) to make this a book I would only recommend to consenting adults. While the perversion and violence make it interesting, it is a vast departure from other Flowers books, which tend not to go down this path. So be forewarned: if descriptions of gang rape offend you, you will not enjoy this book.
On the other hand, the tale that Sandford tells about this farming community is pretty complex and fascinating, peopled with a large panoply of eccentric characters, although I object to his notion that this wild sex cult existed for hundreds of years in Germany and then was brought to the US by immigrants. However interesting the story, Sandford does not seem to like these small, insular farming communities that he writes about, and at times the book seems almost like a way for him to slam them in the nastiest way possible. But does that make it interesting for the reader? Sure, you betcha.
The final chapters, including a shootout that could not be more dramatic if you were watching it rather than reading it, are riveting. Even when you think it’s all over and the bad guys have been vanquished, the plot takes another twist. I have to say that this is the most interesting of the latest spate of Sandford novels that I have tackled, even if it is the least savory. From the verbal artistry of the first chapter to the life-and-death drama of the last, Sandford is obviously a writer in