Crime Fiction Book Review: Escape Clause by John Sandford

crime fiction book coverUnlike some other authors of long-running crime fiction series, John Sandford just seems to keep getting better and better. His latest offering in the Virgil Flowers series, Escape Clause, is an excellent example.

Minnesota state cop Virgil Flowers is back, this time investigating the theft of two rare Amur tigers from a Minnesota state zoo.

I’ve read Sandford from the first book in the Prey series which features another Minnesota cop named Lucas Davenport. I have to admit I like the Prey series best but have come to really enjoy the Virgil Flowers novels too. Initially, simply because I really like John Sandford’s writing style, I started reading the Virgil Flowers books to pass the time until the release of the next Prey novel. But now I look forward just as much to the new releases in this series.

Unlike the intense, logical thinking, no-nonsense Lucas Davenport, Virgil Flowers is a laid-back, “good old boy” type who would rather be Muskie fishing with his best buddy Johnson Johnson than fighting crime. Nevertheless, he always comes through, solves the crime in his own unique way, and nails the bad guys in the end.

Escape Clause, is classic Virgil Flowers. It’s another weird case, the only kind Virgil ever seems to get, and it features the usual cast of quirky characters.

It’s something of a trademark in Sandford crime fiction novels for the perpetrators to be known to the reader almost from the very beginning of the book, so reading a Sandford book means following the way his detectives solve the case. The same is true of this one. The book also has the customary interwoven subplots that you expect from a John Standford novel that help move the story along and keeps things interesting.

In my opinion, the best thing about the Virgil Flowers novels is that Sandford injects a lot of humor into the Virgil Flowers character as well as the stories, something that is quite rare when it comes to mystery/thriller books. This book was no different. The dialogue was consistently funny. I found myself laughing aloud several times throughout while reading it.

If you’re looking for an entertaining detective novel that is a pleasure to read, look no further than Escape Clause.

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