Rough Country by John Sandford is another gripping Virgil Flowers novel that almost leisurely unveils a tale of murder in Minnesota. Attempting to enjoy a well deserved fishing vacation, Virgil becomes embroiled in an investigation that requires that he trace through the labyrinthine relationships gradually uncovered. Searching for the standard motives of money, sex or revenge, Virgil discovers that the exclusive lodge that the murder victim was associated with caters to an all female clientele, and many of his potential suspects are involved in gay relationships. The discovery that his victim engaged in a liaison that betrayed two other women complicates the trail as Virgil tries to determine which clues are red herrings so he can return to his recreational fishing. An all-woman band with the potential for stardom leads Virgil to the issues that mixing romance and business causes and gives him even more avenues to pursue. Virgil must navigate his own minefields as he deals with his attraction to the various women that he is encountering and the stakes continue to rise as the body count threatens to increase before he can solve the murder.
Another intriguing Sandford mystery peopled with fascinating characters and vividly depicted scenery. Virgil is a laconic but astute investigator for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension which is headed by the iconic Lucas Davenport featured in so many of Sandford’s “Prey” novels. His propensity to become involved romantically with the women that he encounters during his investigation threatens to compromise the search which expands in ever widening circles but he handles the conundrum with his usual flair. I had discontinued reading the “Prey” series because they became a bit too intense for my personal tastes but this novel has drawn me back under Sandford’s mesmerizing spell and I will certainly go back and read the first two novels in this series, if only to get a better picture of the “massacre” that is referred to throughout this story. I am still trying to decide how I feel about the entertaining epilogue and suspect that this will be a typical reaction to the charismatic Virgil Flowers.
The murder of a successful advertising executive leads Detective Virgil Flowers to the unlikely scene of the crime: a peaceful and bucolic wooded resort. But one with as many suspects as it has secrets.