Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers Series #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview

A killer is leaving a puzzling calling card in the mouths of his victims. And in the middle of a steamy Minnesota summer, Virgil Flowers of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension finds himself embroiled in an investigation with no easy answers, and no easy way out.



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Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers Series #2)

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Overview

A killer is leaving a puzzling calling card in the mouths of his victims. And in the middle of a steamy Minnesota summer, Virgil Flowers of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension finds himself embroiled in an investigation with no easy answers, and no easy way out.



Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When the telephone rang, Virgil Flowers was lying in bed, sharing the company of ex-wife number two. Other preoccupations notwithstanding, Virgil could not resist a call about a homicide that bore the mocking tags of a publicity-seeking serial killer. Working on this nightmarish case, the Minnesota Bureau investigator begins to realize that the Twin Cities murderer is working from a long list of targets, and the cops have little hope of catching up. Only he can stop the bloody skein.
Publishers Weekly

Sandford follows up Virgil Flowers's first time in the center spotlight (2007's Dark of the Moon) with this captivating mystery. While investigating a brutal murder in suburban Minnesota, Flowers discovers the killing is part of a series of murders of Vietnam veterans who all served together. Eric Conger's gritty reading is perfectly suited to Sandford's literary world. His voice is at once serious and invigorating, drawing listeners into the story and setting loose the all-out anarchy that Sandford meticulously crafts throughout. Conger refreshingly underplays Flowers, opting to steer clear of stereotypes and offers a character so real and flawed that he creates an instant connection with listeners. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 25). (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Virgil Flowers, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigator, returns after Dark of the Moon in this fast-paced thriller. As Minneapolis/St. Paul tightens security for the 2008 Republican National Convention, dead bodies are being posed at local veterans' monuments. BCA Chief Lucas Davenport (last seen in Phantom Prey) assigns Flowers to investigate the assassination-style killings-the victims, all men linked to the last days of the Vietnam War. To learn what exactly these men had in common, Flowers contacts a former 1960s radical and begins romancing the man's Vietnamese daughter. Working with Davenport and his BCA colleagues, Flowers is led on a high-speed chase through the Northwoods that ends in a breathless, pitch-black shoot-out. With his long, blond hair and vintage band T-shirts, outdoorsman Flowers is a disarming and sometimes charming investigator. This book will appeal to readers of Sandford's "Prey" series as well as fans of adventures like those by Lee Child. Highly recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ5/1/08.]
—Karen Kleckner

Kirkus Reviews
Sandford, who seems determined to keep Lucas Davenport's latest cases secret, allows him to be upstaged once more by his junior colleague Virgil Flowers, though this time there's no great honor in star billing. The Stillwater police call Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to the veterans' memorial where the body of building inspector Bobby Sanderson has been deposited. He was shot twice with a .22 and found with a section of lemon in his mouth-all details that echo the recent death of title searcher Chuck Utecht in New Ulm. The two murders are clearly the work of the same killer, but who is he, and why has he taken such ritualistic care to incriminate himself by emphasizing the similarities between two crimes that ordinarily wouldn't have been connected? More to the point, are these two crimes only the beginning? For readers new to this sort of fiction, Sandford helpfully provides brief conversations indicating that Chippewa Indian Ray Bunton and ex-cop John Wigge, a VP at a private security agency, had better watch their backs as well. Prompted by Lucas and driven night after sleepless night to assemble the facts, Virgil (Dark of the Moon, 2007, etc.) learns at length that all the targets on the kill list served together in Vietnam, where they shared a secret worth killing for nearly 40 years later. The suspects include Ralph Warren, Wigge's sinister boss at that security firm; Professor Mead Sinclair, a lefty researcher on the Vietnam War who just might be in bed with the CIA; his half-Vietnamese daughter Mai, who makes her extracurricular interest in Virgil plain from the get-go. Although the prose sounds like Sandford, the plotting is a letdown: The trail to the lastact is rich in incident, but not original, urgent or compelling. On the other hand, the very last surprise, climaxing a turf war between the BCA and the Department of Homeland Security, is a honey.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440632204
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Series: Virgil Flowers Series , #2
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 7,604
  • File size: 529 KB

Meet the Author

John Sandford
"Like the best writers in this genre—Dashiell Hammett, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain among them—John Sandford evokes his netherworld with authentic dialogue and meticulous details."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

John Sandford is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. Camp was born in 1944 and was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He received his B.A. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, and received his first training as a journalist and reporter when he was in Korea for 15 months working for his base paper.

After the army, Camp spent 10 months working for the Cape Girardeau Se Missourian newspaper before returning to the University of Iowa for his Masters in Journalism. From 1971 to 1978, he worked as a general assignment reporter for the Miami Herald, covering killings and drug cases, among other beats, with his colleague, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edna Buchanan.

In 1978, Camp joined the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a features reporter. He became a daily columnist at the newspaper in 1980. In the same year, he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for an article he wrote on the Native American communities in Minnesota and North Dakota and their modern day social problems. In 1986, Camp won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for a series of articles on the farm crisis in the Midwest.

Camp has written fourteen books in the bestselling "Prey" series under the name John Sandford. The titles in this series, which features Lucas Davenport, include Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Silent Prey, Winter Prey, Night Prey, Mind Prey, Sudden Prey, Secret Prey, Certain Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Naked Prey, Broken Prey, Invisible Prey, and now, Phantom Prey.

With the "Prey" series, Sandford has displayed a brilliance of characterization and pace that has earned him wide praise and made the books national bestsellers. He has been hailed as a "born storyteller" (San Diego Tribune), his work as "the kind of trimmed-to-the-bone thriller you can't put down" (Chicago Tribune), and Davenport as "one of the most engaging (and iconoclastic) characters in contemporary fiction." (Detroit News)

Biography

John Camp (better known to readers as thrillmeister John Sandford) began his career as a journalist -- first as a crime reporter for The Miami Herald, then as a general reporter, columnist, and features writer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch. In 1986, he won the Pulitzer Prize for "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family," a five-part series examining the farm crisis in southwest Minnesota.

Camp's interests turned to fiction in the mid-1980s, and he took time off to write two novels which were ultimately accepted for publication: The Fool's Run, a techno-thriller featuring a complex con man known as Kidd, and Rules of Prey, a police procedural starring maverick Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. When both books were scheduled (by different publishers) to be released three months apart in 1989, Camp was persuaded to adopt a pseudonym for one. He chose his paternal grandmother's maiden name, "Sandford" for Rules of Prey, and the nom de plume has remained attached to all the books in the series.

Less Dick Tracy than Dirty Harry, hard-boiled, iconoclastic Lucas Davenport is a composite of the cops Camp met while working the crime beat as a reporter. Intelligent and street smart, Davenport is also manipulative and not above bending the rules to get results. And although he has mellowed over time (something of a skirt chaser in his youth, he is now married with children), he remains one of the edgiest and most popular protagonists in detective fiction. Fans keep returning to the Prey books for their intelligently hatched plots, high-octane pacing, and deft, fully human characterizations.

From time to time, Camp strays from his bestselling series for standalone thrillers (The Night Crew, Dead Watch), and in 2007 he introduced a new series hero, Virgil Flowers of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who debuted in Dark of the Moon. Although he is no longer a full-time journalist, Camp contributes occasional articles and book reviews to various publications. He is also a passionate archaeologist and has worked at a number of digs, mainly in Israel.

Good To Know

Don't confuse John Sandford with John Sanford -- it's one of Sandford's pet peeves. Sanford (without the "d") is a Christian philosophy writer.

The Sandford pseudonym has caused a few problems for Camp in the past. At an airport once, his ticket was reserved under Sandford, while all of his identification, of course, had the name Camp. Luckily, he had one of his novels with him, and thanks to the book jacket photo, he was able to convince airport security to let him on the plane.

The books in Camp's less successful Kidd series (The Fool's Run, The Empress File, The Devil's Code, and The Hanged Man's Song) have been re-released under the Sandford pseudonym.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Roswell Camp
    2. Hometown:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 23, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    1. Education:
      State University of Iowa, Iowa City: B.A., American History; M.A., Journalism
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 198 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(78)

4 Star

(73)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 200 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • 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.

    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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  • 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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

    1 out of 1 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 1 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 October 6, 2008

    Virgil is as good as Davenport

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

    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 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    LightningClan- Bios

    Lightstar- a pale gold she-cat with amber eyes

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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

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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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 18, 2013

    DONT JOIN THIS CLAN

    The leader here is evil. Theres already a lightning clan

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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