It was just another summer day for Minnesota BCA agent Virgil Flowers: he’d been scoping out criminal genius (not to mention hottie) Ma Nobles and some fake antique barnwood when the call came in from his boss. He’s been assigned to chaperone an antiquities expert as she tracked a Minnesota minister Israel had accused of stealing a rock from an archaeological site. The problem was that this "old rock" could be the biggest find of the century; maybe even of the Christian Era.
Virgil found this amusing, at least until his curiosity was piqued. Apparently last week, Reverend Jones made off with an ancient stele supposedly bearing an inscription that could turn the Judeo-Christian world upside-down. He reappeared at the Mayo Clinic to be treated for terminal cancer, then dropped out of sight again - with that stele. Suddenly there were maybe half a dozen people, including a knife-wielding Turk, a Hezbollah agent and a reality TV Indiana Jones clone; all of them in a bidding war for the artifact. And that Israeli antiquities expert? Seems her expertise was more along the lines of a 9mm than archaeology… Mossad, you think?
As the participants scoured southern Minnesota in search of the stele, somebody ended up kidnapped and a couple of people ended up taking bullets - though not in a serious way. Would Virgil find the missing minister before a) he croaked or b) that darned stele disappeared for good? Well, he is "That F***in' Flowers," so it's a good bet that Virgil will get his man – probably get a woman or two, too - and have fun while he’s at it.
Storm Front is the 7th Virgil Flowers novel (Shock Wave, Dark of the Moon) to come out of the word processor of Minnesota’s John Sandford (Sandford also writes the Lucas Davenport “Prey” series). Davenport, Virgil’s boss, shows up as a minor character in Flowers series; mainly grumpily answering Virgil’s early-morning phone calls.
Flowers might well be Sandford's Midwestern version of James W. Hall's Thorn (Going Dark). Like Thorn, he’s an ageless outdoorsman who’s good at what he does partially because he’s connected to nature and his neighborhood. Thorn is rather dark and brooding, however, and Flowers is a happy-go-lucky dude with blond surfer-boy hair and a drawer filled with punk band t-shirts. His friends and foes alike judge the book that’s Virgil Flowers by its cover at their own risk. The man is deeper than he appears, and in Storm Front he proves it again.
You can expect a novel that’s not a typical police procedural, one that lightens the expected suspense with a dose of fun. You won’t find graphic sex or lots of gore in Storm Front, but you will find a good time.