Holy Ghost by John Sandford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.
This book asks the ultimate question: How long can a man live eating only frozen chicken pot pies?
Wheatfield, Minnesota, is a dying small town until several apparitions of the Virgin Mary in an old church are captured on video by multiple people and posted on social media. Now Wheatfield is booming thanks to an influx of visitors hoping to see the vision for themselves. However, when a sniper wounds two people outside the church at different times it puts the brakes on the new tourism trade. State investigator Virgil Flowers arrives and tries to figure out why someone would be randomly shooting folks who are just hoping to catch a glimpse of Mary. Virgil begins pulling on multiple threads involving various townsfolk, and things quickly escalate.
Can Virgil track down the sniper before he finds himself in the crosshairs? Or will he starve to death first since he can’t get a decent meal anywhere in town and has to subsist on chicken pot pies from the convenience store?
This is a pretty typical Virgil Flowers novel, and as a John Sandford fan that’s good enough for me. Once again we’ve got Virgil going to a small town to solve a mystery, and he relies on tapping into local gossip more than forensics or Sherlock Holmes style deduction to do it. There’s a lot of fun characters, and we get a welcome dose of Sandford regulars Shrake and Jenkins. Virgil also continues to see his personal life change and grow with a big event on the horizon.
The difference in this one is that it’s much more of a whodunit than most of Sandford’s other thrillers. Usually we get a lot from the villain’s perspective even if Sandford masks their identity in the writing, and the mystery usually comes from withholding a critical piece that turns out to be the way that Virgil or Lucas Davenport find the bad guy when they figure that out. This time we are completely in the dark as to who is doing the shooting and why until near the end except for one brief chapter in the middle which gives nothing away. When the answers come it’s the kind of logical and satisfying solution that I’d expect from the tight plotting that Sandford does.
The only really negative thing I can say about this is that it may have ruined pot pies for me. At least for a little while...
View all my reviews