Sunday, August 12, 2012

Discovering John Sandford's Bad Blood; plunging into Paul Doiron's Bad Little Falls

August 12 Sunday Salon (a facebook group for book bloggers)

Because I am newly resolved to blogging more often, I am posting again – two weeks in a row on Sunday Salon. Woohoo!!!  A habit for others, a record for me.  Reading this week included more mysteries.
I finished John Sandford’s Bad Blood, a “Virgil Flowers novel,” and then just when I was about to swing back to literary fiction, another mystery, one that I had preordered from Amazon, arrived in the mail.
 I couldn’t resist. I had a temp job lined up the next day that required sporadically directing others and allowed nearly eight straight hours of reading.
 I dove into Paul Doiron’s Bad Little Falls, the third in a series featuring Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
I am just coming up for air and blogging, with a full review likely to follow this week.  Doiron’s first book was the subject of my first review on this blog, a little more than a year ago, so I have a particular fondness for this self-assignment.
Back to Sandford. It seems I have some catching up to do.  I had never read Sandford’s works before and only picked this one up at the library for a slightly silly reason. One of my favorite television stars, Mark Harmon, who plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS, is a fan. Harmon took on the role of  Lucas Davenport last year in a USA television movie   “Certain Prey. “ I figured whatever Gibbs -- oops, I mean Harmon -- likes, I might like. How easy it is to conflate the two.  There are 22 titles in the Davenport/ “Prey” series, in the “Kidd” series and five more (in addition to Bad Blood) in the Virgil Flowers series.  Good reading ahead.  Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist John Roswell Camp.
Bad Blood was fun to read. After a daisy chain of murders – three in the first 30 or so pages, Sheriff Lee (a female) Coaxley, calls in Virgil Flowers of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  What she and he eventually uncover  (other than themselves together alone) is a religious cult involved in what it seems many closed groups get into – sex abuse.  In addition to the nice contrast between two adults in consensual sex and  the plot's multiple partners in creepy unconventional and non-consensual sex, the Flowers- Coaxley combination offers plenty of clever sexy repartee.
Humor stands out for me in Sandford’s writing.  One of Flowers’ unconventional methods of gathering tips and applying pressure to the guilty is to announce his progress in the local Yellow Dog Café.  All the town’s ears tune in while he blabs to the owner about the ongoing investigation.  Takes a village to catch the guilty, along with Flowers’ expertise.
 I’ll be reading more. Sandford’s writing makes me smile.
One down.  Thirty-one to go.

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