DEADLINE by John Sandford

DEADLINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Virgil Flowers, agreeing to check out the most minor crime imaginable in sleepy Trippton, Minnesota, finds himself in a steadily deepening pool of felonies.

You may think dognapping is no big deal, but try telling that to Winky Butterfield, whose two black Labs have been carried off by D. Wayne Sharf. As Virgil’s friend Johnson Johnson tells it, this latest theft is only part of a much larger pattern that’s riled the dog-loving citizens of Buchanan County to demand action—if not from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, then from themselves. Eager to avoid a vigilante outbreak, Virgil (Storm Front, 2013, etc.) agrees to look for the missing pooches and promptly finds a meth lab that seems like a much bigger deal, at least to the BCA. Little does he know that a completely unrelated matter is about to nudge Trippton into wholesale violence. Members of the Buchanan County Consolidated School Board, tipped off that has-been reporter Clancy Conley is about to blow the whistle on their long-running embezzlement scheme, vote to have Conley killed and then are forced under pressure from Virgil’s investigation to target ever more victims in order to cover their tracks. The school board meetings, in which cutthroat discussions of ways and means end with formal endorsements of murder that would do any parliamentarian proud, have a subversively comic edge that perfectly complements Virgil’s straight-faced attempts to turn the board members against each other by urging everyone involved to rat out everyone else as they circle the wagons in ever shrinking patterns. The meth investigation winds up quickly and quietly, but Sandford keeps one last surprise up his sleeve for the denouement of the dognapping case, and it’s a doozy.

Exhilaratingly professional work by both Virgil and his creator that breaks no new ground but will keep the fans happy and add to their number.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16237-4
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2014




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Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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