Customer Reviews for

Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers Series #2)

Average Rating 4
( 199 )
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(77)

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(75)

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(29)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

John Sandford is a superb writer! . . .

I throughly enjoyed this book! . . . once I began reading it, it was hard to put it down. I am of the Vietnam era and remember the angst of that time. The author so expertly develops his characters that it enables the reader to truly "know" them. The plots in these b...
I throughly enjoyed this book! . . . once I began reading it, it was hard to put it down. I am of the Vietnam era and remember the angst of that time. The author so expertly develops his characters that it enables the reader to truly "know" them. The plots in these books are magnificently woven and there is a believability to them that the reader can relate to. I am totally enamored with the Virgil Flowers character and likewise with Lucas Davenport - please keep the books coming that include their stories.

posted by cewilch on November 24, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Not what I expect from Sanford

Minnesota of Crime Bureau Apprehension investigator, Virgil Flowers, is summoned to the scene of a second murder victim. Two shots to the head, a lemon wedge in the victim's mouth posed in front of a Vietnam War memorial; a far different feeling than that of the warm b...
Minnesota of Crime Bureau Apprehension investigator, Virgil Flowers, is summoned to the scene of a second murder victim. Two shots to the head, a lemon wedge in the victim's mouth posed in front of a Vietnam War memorial; a far different feeling than that of the warm bed he had just shared with his second ex-wife. We know the killer is after a list of others. Targeted Assassinations, probable but why? Left-winged anti-war radical Activist and academic Mead Sinclair explains "When the Vietnamese execute a prisoner-a political prisoner, or even a murderer-they'll gag him by stuffing a lemon in his mouth. Hold it there with tape. Duct tape." Vigilantly or revenge killings? By whom and why? Flowers must find out before any more bodies are found.

Sanford's great plot idea becomes laborious, and somewhat torturous with his overuse of time breaks that even confounded him and the publisher's proof readers. Glaring mistakes causes the reader to stop and regroup just as Flowers in his investigation. While the answer to the why Virgil is always seeming a step behind the shooter is finally answered, not so with the author's proof reading oversights. Nor is the question why Flowers cannot hold conversations in which double entendres are interjected or the blatant fact that he much rather be out on boat fishing.

Even Prey's Lucas Davenport's appearance can't save this novel.(Character is flat. For those whom never had read any of the Prey series, the reader would assume he is just another so-so bureaucrat.) Philosophical questions of God, the eco-system, politics Sanford raises are out of place to the story he is telling and its ending ventures into the realm of absurdity.

posted by Molinarolo on July 27, 2009

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  • Posted November 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    John Sandford is a superb writer! . . .

    I throughly enjoyed this book! . . . once I began reading it, it was hard to put it down. I am of the Vietnam era and remember the angst of that time. The author so expertly develops his characters that it enables the reader to truly "know" them. The plots in these books are magnificently woven and there is a believability to them that the reader can relate to. I am totally enamored with the Virgil Flowers character and likewise with Lucas Davenport - please keep the books coming that include their stories.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    another good John Sandford page turner

    Another book about that f Flowers! I inhale new John Sandford books in a weekend, and this one didn't dissapoint. It kept me entertained & intrigued.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not what I expect from Sanford

    Minnesota of Crime Bureau Apprehension investigator, Virgil Flowers, is summoned to the scene of a second murder victim. Two shots to the head, a lemon wedge in the victim's mouth posed in front of a Vietnam War memorial; a far different feeling than that of the warm bed he had just shared with his second ex-wife. We know the killer is after a list of others. Targeted Assassinations, probable but why? Left-winged anti-war radical Activist and academic Mead Sinclair explains "When the Vietnamese execute a prisoner-a political prisoner, or even a murderer-they'll gag him by stuffing a lemon in his mouth. Hold it there with tape. Duct tape." Vigilantly or revenge killings? By whom and why? Flowers must find out before any more bodies are found.

    Sanford's great plot idea becomes laborious, and somewhat torturous with his overuse of time breaks that even confounded him and the publisher's proof readers. Glaring mistakes causes the reader to stop and regroup just as Flowers in his investigation. While the answer to the why Virgil is always seeming a step behind the shooter is finally answered, not so with the author's proof reading oversights. Nor is the question why Flowers cannot hold conversations in which double entendres are interjected or the blatant fact that he much rather be out on boat fishing.

    Even Prey's Lucas Davenport's appearance can't save this novel.(Character is flat. For those whom never had read any of the Prey series, the reader would assume he is just another so-so bureaucrat.) Philosophical questions of God, the eco-system, politics Sanford raises are out of place to the story he is telling and its ending ventures into the realm of absurdity.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    didn't like it.

    Having a hard time reading this book. Usually I like John Sandfords books but this one I found had to many characters, and he went back and forth using the first name and the last name only of the character, kept having to look back and see "now who is this guy" just didn't like it and doubt I am going to finish it even.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Sanford...Need I say more?

    I am not giving this a great review because I am a Sanford fan but because the Virgil series is unique and really that good. I have read the Davenport series and this is just as good but different. Sanford did great with Virgil's character. If you read this, read the whole series (I think there are only 3 so far). Also please read the Davenport series, you will not be disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Virgil is as good as Davenport

    Excellent. Just as good as the Lucas Davenport Prey Series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    A good read, but not Sanford's best

    Overall this was a good book to read, but was somewhat predictable. It would have been better to have seen more interaction between Virgil and the characters he was pursuing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Will the Real Virgil Flowers Please Stand Up?

    What happened to the cool, eccentric, and laid back Virgil? Too many subplots and other extraneous characters, along with a strange and unbelievable plot, completely blew Virgil away. I continued to ask Virgil why he allowed Lucas to undermine him like this. Virgil is a loner who doesn't need the help of backup characters. And why such a story about events that happened years ago. What's with the lemon wedge, and why it's relevancy? Sanford can certainly do better than this and proved it in his first novel starring Virgil Flowers. He needs to reread his first book and get back to the basics. I'm disappointed in this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    Virgil Flowers is back

    The second in John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series (after last year's fun Dark of the Moon) finds the somewhat eccentric investigator assigned by Lucas Davenport to a series of serial murders in which a lemon wedge was placed in the victim's mouth. Flowers soon discovers that the lemon ritual was practiced by Vietnamese firing squads on their unlucky subjects, and that all of the current victims served in Vietnam. This leads him to a former 60's radical who might have CIA connections and then into the bed of the man's half-Vietnamese daughter (not surprising for the rakish Flowers.) The suspect list eventually focuses on the head of a private security firm involved with the Republican Convention taking place in Minneapolis. Although Heat Lightning is a fast-paced read with an exciting denoument, I wasn't sure I bought the ins and outs of the entire plot, and the resolution is a little tough to take. But Virgil Flowers is such an engaging character that he more than made up for the book's weaknesses. Also recommended: A STRANGER LIES THERE - winner of the Malice Domestic Award for best first mystery, its protagonist is a former 70's radical whose anti-Vietnam War action left three people dead. His past comes back to haunt him one morning in the form of a dead body on his front lawn.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2014

    An entertaining read!

    Virgil Flowers is a super character - just the right mixture of a clever tough cop, maverick wise-guy, outdoors-man, and charming but sensitive ladies' man. Sandford always creates lots of interesting characters, many of whom are plausible suspects. The story captures the reader's interest and curiosity right up to the end of the book. If you know a little about the geography and semi-rural culture of southern Minnesota, you will enjoy the book even more.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Awesome!

    Only took 2 days to read, I just couldn't put it down. That "F'n Flowers" is currently my #2 favorite character....send only to Lucas Davenport!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Jake

    Im only on at night

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Stormeh

    You on

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Amberheart

    Pad after him

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Sleetshard

    Pads back to camp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    Great read.

    I think the Flowers series is better than Davenport.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    Tigerflame

    Thank you she meowed

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    Someone is killing Vietnam War Veterans. Each time, the deceased

    Someone is killing Vietnam War Veterans. Each time, the deceased man is left at a veteran's memorial with a lemon in his mouth. After two of these murders, it is clear to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator, Lucas Davenport, that there is a connection. Unable to devote his own skills, (Davenport is featured in Sandford's "Prey" series), he calls in the only man who can clean up the mess. It is time to call in the man he hired to solve "the hard stuff".
    Enter Virgil Flowers, the thirty something detective, whose quirky, off the cuff reputation is as well known as his ability to solve the cases that no one else can. To say Flowers doesn't fit the standard law enforcement mode would be an understatement. He keeps is blond hair at shoulder length, wears rock band t-shirts and cowboy boots, occasionally writes for national outdoors magazines, and keeps in contact with various women and ex-wives, all of whom he has fallen in love with. Despite all of this apparent baggage, Flowers gets the job done, and he does it well. As he begins investigating the deaths of the veterans, he realizes that they are being killed professionally, as if they are each being checked off of a list. When he discovers the connections, he is immersed in a global conspiracy dating back to the time of the war.
    There is no denying Sandford's ability to create riveting mysteries with relatable characters. He writes with an urgency that keeps the plot moving, never allowing the suspense to ease. As I read, I continued to be sucked deeper into the mystery as each twist and turn was unveiled. Virgil Flowers has a charismatic everyman charm that forced me to root for him. It has been almost a year since I read the first Virgil Flowers novel, and I forgot how much I enjoyed the world that Sandford has provided. There is a kind of timelessness to the story that will surely appeal to any mystery fans. With two solid novels, this series is quickly becoming my new favorite!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Hunting

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