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Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dark of the Moon by John SandfordReviewe by Allen Hott

Virgil Flowers, hero of several Sandford books, appears this time as sort of a freelancing agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Basically all his new boss told him when he joined was “We’ll only give you the hard stuff.” And that truly pleased Virgil.

His first major assignment was to help the local police solve some murders in the small town of Bluestem. A doctor and his wife were found shot to death with the doctor’s eyes shot out as a warning. The local sheriff was Jimmy Stryker whom Virgil had known in high school.

As Vigil was driving into Bluestem to begin his assignment he spotted a major fire burning just outside of town and in what he knew to be the Judd estate.

Arriving at the fire Virgil talked with Stryker and found that there didn’t appear to be any sign of Judd. However later forensic work proved that he had in fact burned to death in the fire and was basically cremated. Another death for Virgil and Stryker to investigate.

William Judd Sr. had started as a lawyer and then through investing and a few shady deals had become the top dog in Bluestem. However though he had all the riches he had few friends.

He had in his day back in the 60s hosted some very raunchy parties with many different local women and even a few local men at times. Most of the older townsfolk had been to one or two of the parties. Judd’s lifestyle became even more unliked when he convinced some of the locals to invest in one of his schemes. The scheme cost many of them nearly all of their life savings.

The story continues with several more deaths and ample leads or clues but nothing that Virgil and Stryker can use to solve the case. It is so confusing that at one time Virgil even has Stryker on his list of suspects. All because of the happenings that occurred back in Judd’s heydays. So many of the townspeople were involved in that and then later in the Judd scheme that everyone could be a suspect.

There are also rumors of another possible present day scheme that Judd and the local head religious extremist appear to have concocted concerning ethanol production. That particular event even draws the DEA into the story.

Exactly how they go about handling the searching out and destroying the “gang” that was involved with that production is very interesting. It also does help Virgil to finally tie all the ends together.

Then in the “Dark of the Moon” he manages to do what he was sent to do.

But even after that happens he finds additional intriguing information that causes him to leave Bluestem shaking his head.

Readers will enjoy all the twist and turns that Sandford put in this one all the way to the ending!

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