Thursday, October 30, 2014

DEADLINE by John Sandford a Backwoods Crime Thriller

Deadline by John Sandford is a new crime thriller set in the rural, wooded country of southeast Minnesota. The novel is the latest in the series to feature Virgil Flowers, a state police investigator.

In the small town of Trippton, a local reporter uncovers a hidden embezzlement scheme that is stealing huge funds from the schools budget. The entire school board is in on the criminal scheme. To stop the reporter from exposing them, the board members take a secret vote to have him murdered. The vote is unanimous.

That's the chilling set-up for the novel. Virgil Flowers is in the same local area to investigate a dog stealing ring that's taking valuable hunting dogs from their owners. When the reporter's body is found shot in the back, Flowers takes on that case as well. He soon finds himself the target of a cold blooded conspiracy by treacherous country folks who aren't going to be stopped.

Deadline is an entertaining crime read filled with startling plot twists and colorful characters and dialogue. John Sandford continues to be one of the best crime fiction writers working today.

BEACH RATING: 4 Palm trees

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE DROP by Dennis Lehane a Hard-Edged Crime Piece

The Drop by Dennis Lehane is a tough, grim crime story set on the hard-scrabble streets of south Boston. This short novel features rough, blue collar characters whose terse dialogue reflects the worn bleakness of the neighborhood around them.

Bob Saginowski is a bartender at a run down local bar. His older, bitter cousin Marv Stipler, a minor mobster, once owned the bar until the tougher Chechen mob took it away from him. The bar is now used as a money drop for the Chechens' illegal activities.

When the bar is robbed one night and the mob money stolen, the violent Chechens want answers from Bob and Marv. Another problem emerges for Bob when he finds an abused puppy in a trashcan and takes the dog home to care for it. Then a sociopath ex-con named Eric Deeds shows up and says the dog is his and he wants it back or else.

Once set in motion along these lines, the story moves inexorably toward violent events, as if its characters are hopelessly locked in by their own warped natures. The Drop is a fast reading, gripping tale that will be appreciated by those who like hard nosed crime fiction.

BEACH RATING: 4 palm Trees