John Sandford is one of my favorite series authors. I really enjoy the Lucas Davenport Prey series, I loved the Kidd novels, and once he started with Virgil Flowers I was overjoyed. Virgil is such a great character, with a laid-back sexy charm all his own. He’s obsessed with fishing, and moonlights as a fishing/nature writer, has an understanding with God, almost never carries his gun with him because ... well ... death ‘n all that. Yet, when it comes down to it, he can be deadly mean, and take down the best of them when necessary.
Storm Front, though, was a disappointment. Sandford is a wonderful writer with a knack for dialogue, and for characterization, and this just felt flat. The plot was convoluted, involving a recent archaeological find, purported to change the historical record in the Middle East, which is stolen, taken to Minnesota, and sought after by multiple groups. Who’s after it? They include Hezbollah, some Turks, the Mossad, the Israeli Antiquities Department, our guys, a lumber rustler, a Texan professor of archaeology, a TV personality who’s specialty is hunting down ancient historical items ... Yeah, you get the picture. Who stole it? An ordained minister who’s also a professor.
I mean, this could be fun, and there were glimmers of it. Virgil is just the guy to play all these disparate groups against each other. The book, though, felt recycled. Funny foreign intelligence agent trying to use American idioms? Yep - kinda like the Russian security officer Lucas ran into in one of the Prey books. Virgil usually solves these kinds of situations by, basically, talking to everyone, thinking about things, sneaking off to do some fishing while thinking more about things, annoying more people by getting into their business, and eventually getting everything to fall the way he wants to. He did some of that, but there were so many complications it felt rushed. The danger was, considering some of the players, almost non-existent. I mean, methods of killing were discussed, and threatened, but you never felt it would really come to pass.
Still 3 stars though, because, it’s Virgil! And there were some great characters here - I just wanted the plot to be better.