Reviewed: “Bad Blood” by John Sandford

Bad BloodBad Blood by John Sandford is a strange book.

Let’s just start with that, shall we?

According to the dust jacket, it’s book #4 in the Virgil Flowers series. Now, I haven’t read books 1, 2, or 3 of Virgil Flowers so I don’t know if they’re equally as strange but Bad Blood is strange, very strange.

The story of a small town in Minnesota (and later connected to a small town in Iowa) where small-ish group of very strange religious fanatics focus their religious fervor on sex above and before all else… not surprisingly resulting in various murders to keep it all secret… Bad Blood is how Virgil Flowers and the small town woman sheriff set about solving said murders and uncovering possible decades of rampant child abuse.

It’s interesting in theory because I have no doubt that there are people, even so-called religious groups, who focus all their energy on sex, sexuality, and all things related to that.

It’s far-fetched because there’s something my mind that doesn’t want to believe that it could happen in such a localized area. But then I remember the FLDS compound in Texas and the reason that Warren Jeffs is in jail and it just plain creeps me out.

But it’s fiction, so I read it.

What I liked was Virgil Flowers himself. For a fictional big city cop in small town crime (even a big one), he was refreshingly unlike most other fictional big city cops I’ve seen on television and in books. He went to the diner for the town scuttlebut and he broke rules just because he could. I suppose, in a way, he was sort of Sherlock Holmes-y. Maybe?

What I didn’t like was his relationship with Lee, the town sheriff whose last name I’ve know forgotten. Sure, they were a good team because they solved the crime but she was kind of a whiny, stereotypical ‘I-need-a-man-or-I-can’t-be-complete’ cop type woman in fiction.

What I really didn’t like was that Virgil and Lee had sex, a lot, in a book that was all about the most wrong kinds of sex possible. They found pictures of kids being forced to have sex, then they said they’d never get the pictures out of their minds, then they had sex. They solved the crime, and then they laid around naked as they engaged in shop talk as post-sex cuddling conversation.

It was kind of gross. And I’m really not a prude.

But I bought the book in a bargain box because it was $3 and there was a blurb from the dust jacket in which Stephen King highly recommended the book. Was it worth $3? Yes, probably. Does Stephen King always know what he’s talking about? No, probably not.

And I really should have remembered that I don’t like too many of his stories.

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