John Sandford is well known as the author of the Prey series featuring Lucas Davenport first as a lieutenant in the Minneapolis Police force, and eventually a Deputy Chief in Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Dark of the Moon is the first book in a spin-off that features a supporting character from the Prey series: Virgil Flowers, a detective working for Lucas Davenport in the BCA.
With his long blonde hair and obscure rock band t-shirts, Flowers is the opposite of a stereotypical cop. In fact, he is known as “that f***in’ Flowers” to his peers in Minnesota law enforcement, because he follows his own rules to complete an investigation. Thrice divorced and a somewhat compelling figure to women, he completes his investigations by talking to everyone and judiciously leaking information to the public and press alike. He is primarily assigned to rural Minnesota, which brings him to the town of Bluestem.
While on his way to Bluestem to investigate a double murder that happened the week before, he spots a massive fire near the Bluestem exit. It’s the home of a wealthy recluse, disliked in town for his involvement in a scam back in the 1970s that enriched him but ruined everyone else. There were also rumors of his illicit relations with the wives of townspeople, so he is not only disliked but even hated. After the embers cool from the fire, his body is found in the basement of the house.
Three murders in less than a week raise Virgil’s suspicions, and as his investigation continues and his relationships with the people in the town get more complex, he begins to realize that he may be the next target.
Sandford’s Virgil Flowers is a likeable detective with a Midwestern charm and pragmatic approach to the law. His engaging ways lead to hidden truths as people begin to trust him, and he works doggedly to solve the crimes he’s assigned to, as well as others that sometimes come up during the investigation. Sandford has a knack for putting you into the environment of rural Minnesota, so you begin to feel at home. There are now eight titles in the Virgil Flowers series, and they are all fun, interesting, and thrilling reads.