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Shock Wave (A Virgil Flowers Novel) by John Sandford

Shock WaveReviewed by Allen Hott

Virgil Flowers, one of Sandford’s oft used characters, is an agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension which works with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Department out of Washington D.C. Flowers is somewhat of a floater but mainly covers southern Minnesota and is based in Mankato. As is not too unusual he gets a call on his day off and is told to head up to Butternut Falls where a bomb has gone off on the site of a new megastore.

Part of the reason for the calling out of Flowers so quickly is that just a week or so before a bomb had been set off in the Pye Pinnacle in Michigan. The megastore in Butternut Falls was to be a Pye Megastore!

Shortly after his arrival at the bomb scene Pye meets up with some of the local sheriff’s crew who are not overly happy to have the outside intrusion. And to make matters even worse about the same time Willard T. Pye, the owner of the megastores all over the country makes his appearance via private jet. This causes even more consternation among the local officers because they are sure that Pye will now be bringing in even more “help” to solve the crime.

As it turns out the ATF has already sent in additional help from another part of Minnesota and they also are not happy with the arrival of Pye as they believe that he is a grandstander who will use his money and his name to not only get his way but to get into the way of the investigators.

It doesn’t take long for numerous suspects to be brought forth by name from the locals. Those named have various reasons to want to see the Pye Megastore stopped. Some own small businesses that will be hurt or ruined by a megastore, some fear the intrusion of cheap labor that will be needed in large numbers, and some fear that possible runoff from the store’s parking lot and landscape will do harm to the fishing that is a prime draw for locals and others.

Virgil’s initial inquiries however really confuse him because it doesn’t seem any of the locals have ties neither to the Michigan area nor to any way to not only get to Michigan but to get a bomb deposited in the Pye Pinnacle’s corporate offices. That part of building is practically impossible to break into except if a person could get onto the roof. Virgil makes a trip to Michigan to see for himself if that is true.

While he mulls over all of the various suspects a new development pops ups. It appears that although at first some folks thought that a council member or two had taken a bribe to pass the required approval for the construction. But the deeper they look into that element the more that comes to light.

Several folks seem to get crossways with the bomber or something because bombs go off and folks die! Sandford has put together a very interesting and plausible story. He has great ability to make stories interesting with dialogue, colorful description, and even Flowers’ watchfulness of the pretty women in the book! Add to that the normal twists and turns and you have a winner.

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