Monday, March 14, 2016

Fast-paced, entertaining crime thrillers by John Sandford.

John Sandford is a pen name for journalist John Camp; he has compiled a long list of police and adventure thrillers, like the two that I recently read (while in early stages of recovery from surgery): "Easy Prey" and "Storm Front".

The first is one of a long series of "...prey" novels starring experienced lawman, Lucas Davenport of Minneapolis, MN, and an ensemble cast of girlfriends, friends who are women, colleagues, peers, superiors who can be counted on to spice the pages with glib and funny dialogue that softens the brutal crime scenes and actions that make up the plots. Lucas, somewhat of a sociopath himself, is very adept at figuring out who the criminal is by using gaming techniques he's also used to start a successful electronic game design company that made him wealthy. You can read these novels in sequence or pick them up at random: fun and easy to read. My favorite character from several of the books is a chirpy and cute red-headed young woman from OK or KS who plagues and flirts with Lucas as she cuts a swath of contract hits through his territory: the redoubtable Clara Rinker.

"Storm Front" is from another series of novels, featuring a younger investigator for the state of MN, headquartered in Mankato, MN, Virgil Flowers. His character makes me think of Timothy Oliphant in "Justified". The plot centers on an ancient artifact stolen from a dig in Israel and smuggled to Minnesota for sale to the highest bidder. International bad guys converge; Virgil must prevent the artifact from falling into the wrong hands. A variation on the Clara Rinker character shows up in story: the adorable, young-Dolly Parton-like con-woman, Ma Nobles. Virgil doesn't know whether to arrest her or kiss her. This book was written in collaboration with Sandford's wife, Michele Cook.

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