Virgil Flowers investigates a miracle--and a murder--in the wickedly entertaining new thriller from the master of "pure reading pleasure" (Booklist)
Pinion, Minnesota: a metropolis of all of seven hundred souls, for which the word "moribund" might have been invented. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would--until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can") and a buddy come up with a scheme to put Pinion on the map. They'd heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the whole town into a shrine, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And all those pilgrims needed food, shelter, all kinds of crazy things, right? They'd all get rich! What could go wrong?
When the dead body shows up, they find out, and that's only the beginning of their troubles--and Virgil Flowers'--as they are all about to discover all too soon.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Minnesota detective Virgil Flowers returns with a prairie murder mystery that’s amusingly loopy and darkly puzzling. In Holy Ghost, John Sandford’s unorthodox hero heads to Wheatfield (population 650), where enterprising hoaxsters have rejuvenated the dying economy by faking Virgin Mary apparitions at the local church. Crowds suddenly overrun the town—until a sniper starts stalking congregants and Flowers is called to investigate. Driven by a likable cast of idiosyncratic locals—including a one-footed mayor who shoots bugs for fun and a secret-genius teenager making it rich with pot pies—this rural thriller is as satisfying as an afternoon horse ride.
In bestseller Sandford's wickedly enjoyable 11th outing for Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers (after 2017's Deep Freeze), Wardell Holland, the maverick mayor of Wheatfield (pop. 650), and his 17-year-old sidekick, John Jacob Skinner, decide the town needs an economic boost, so they contrive for the Virgin Mary to appear at St. Mary's Catholic Church, with one of Skinner's many sexual conquests, Jennie Fischer, in the Mary role. The Marian Apparition succeeds in bringing flocks of tourists to Wheatfield. Then sniper-like shootings that wound two citizens threaten the bonanza. Flowers's subsequent investigation turns up suspects ranging from a few would-be Nazis to a farmer/gun range owner and Jennie's porn-loving boyfriend. When the shootings turn deadly, Flowers gets help, which he badly needs as he comes to realize that he must outwit a clever killer who proves one of his maxims: "If it's criminal, it's either stupid or crazy." Sandford's trademark sly humor shines throughout.
For the most part a good read. Not quite up to par as far as Virgil stories. Too many non-character characters. I read in my spare time, so rarely more than a chapter or two at one sitting, so I found the whole story a bit too tangled.
Virgil Flowers at his best. Great series! Great characters!
Least favorite Virgil flowers novel
I like almost all Virgil flower novels. This one is boring. Hard to get into the story, the characters aren’t compelling, not a fun book. Sorry John! Love your writing and guess everyone writes a dud sometimes. Just don’t become Grisham and make it a regular occurrence.