A happy detective working on difficult cases for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension against a backdrop of rural poverty is the premise of the Virgil Flowers books by John Sanford. The comedic Virgil Flowers stories are a counterpoint to Sanford's "Prey" series focused on Flower's intense boss, Lucas Davenport.
The Virgil Flowers character is a long-haired, t-shirt wearing, fishing aficionado with three divorces in his past. His casual attitude leads criminals and law enforcement types to underestimate his considerable talents. Particularly adept at recognizing patterns, he approaches cases with a focus that allows him to weave together a single solution from seemingly disparate crimes. Throughout the books, he confronts personal risks on both the deadly and romantic fronts.
The Virgil Flowers series resonates with action, danger and suspense. Just as in his "Prey" books, Sanford delivers well-defined characters displaying charisma and an edgy intelligence. Sanford writes with compassion for Flowers and his fellow Minnesotans, an often quirky set of players with unclear agendas. The stories exhibit a country pace mirroring Flowers' speech patterns and laid-back demeanor.
"Dark of the Moon," the initial Virgil Flowers book, is not the first time Flowers appears in Sanford's books. Virgil makes his debut as a secondary character in "Invisible Prey," the seventeenth book in the "Prey" series.