Dark of the Moon by John Sandford is the latest book my husband and I have read by this dynamic author. He is one of our favorite authors. Be aware that his books can be a bit violent. Because of that I put him in the ‘guy book’ category. Basically we alternate serious, dynamic, ‘guy books’ with lighter cozies or more humorous authors. Cozies are books that take place in locations that are considered familiar, comfortable, or safe. Something like Agatha Christie’s. Other ‘guy book’ favorites include Clive Cussler, David Hosp, Robert B. Parker, William Kent Krueger, etc.
I have trouble putting Nevada Barr and Dana Stabanow in either category. They both set their mysteries in awesome panoramic outdoor wonder worlds. And although these locations can be considered beautiful, I can’t call them safe or comfortable. So, to me, they’re serious mysteries but not rock’em, sock’em types. In the cozy or humorous category, some of our favorites include Janet Evanovich, Diane Mott Davidson, Nancy Bell, Joanna Fluke, and Charlaine Harris.
Getting back to Dark of the Moon, it’s the first book with Virgil Flowers playing the hero. Lucas Davenport (Sandford’s oft protagonist) only appears via phone conversations. Virgil is considered a ‘sensitive’ cop with writing, fishing, and skirt chasing skills. And although it’s a relief to see Sandford working with a different character, it’s easy to see Virgil has a way to go to be as rich and diverse a hero as Lucas is. With that said during the second half of the book things really pick up. There’s a ton of action and overlapping plot developments. Virgil’s job is to solve a series of bazaar murders based on events that occurred over 20 years ago. The victims either played a roll in the event or helped cover up the unfortunate results. In every chapter new information sends Virgil and the audience in new directions. I highly recommend this book and give it a 4 ½ star review out of 5.
On a side note, we were condo shopping in St. Paul Minnesota last spring and oddly enough did a walk through on a unit that Sandford used as a place to write away from home. In my mind, I pictured yellow sticky notes all across the wall in the living room as he developed his plots. On breaks I also imagined him having a cup of coffee or tea on the balcony with it’s privacy screen overlooking Mears Park. Unfortunately the condo was a bit small for all our paraphernalia, so we passed on it as a viable option.
See www.JohnSandford.org for information on his current and future releases. An added bonus on this website includes a page of links listing mystery and thriller authors many of which are our favorites too. Enjoy!