Virgil Flowers, a colleague of Lucas Davenport, is called to investigate a murder in a small farming town: an old guy has been burned to death after his house was set on fire. But that's not the only recent killing: another old couple has recently been murdered by someone they must have known. Flowers becomes convinced that something in the distant past holds the clue to what's going on.
Flowers has been introduced in some of the more recent Prey books, and it looks like Sandford is going to make a series of these: another Flowers book is out now. After reading Dead Watch I was a bit worried that this would be poor: that book was definitely not in the same league as the Prey series. This one is nowhere near as bad as that, but it's not quite up to Davenport standards. Or, it didn't feel like that, but I don't know if that's partly because I'm not so familiar with the character. What I did notice was that when Davenport makes an appearance in the story (which happens from time to time, albeit not actually "in person", since he's always on the other end of a telephone when Flowers calls him), the writing seemed to pick up a bit. Maybe Sandford too needs time to get Flowers' character established.
As to the story, it wasn't bad. I think it could have been a Davenport plot, although I don't think Lucas would have approached things in quite the same way: Flowers is a bit more judicious in how he plays people against one another, telling different people slightly different things about the progress of the investigation, in order to provoke some kind of showdown. Davenport would have kicked ass a bit more.
So worth reading, and will be worth reading more in the series. I'd rather have more Lucas Davenport, but perhaps Virgil Flowers will mature into an equally interesting protagonist.
Completed : 12-Oct-2008