Storm Front (Virgil Flowers, Book 7) By: John Sandford

Storm Front (Virgil Flowers, Book 7)51zfwgxB1TL._SL500_
By: John Sandford
Narrated by: Eric Conger
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
Release date: 10-08-13
Publisher: Penguin Audio

It’s amazing how many fun stories you can read when you branch out from your norm. For the longest time I was a pure Horror/SciFi only reader. Those two genres pack the punch needed to escape the real world, and that’s what I do when I read. Sure there are some classics that I’ve read but only until recently have I been branching out. It’s funny, it all started with the L. Ron Hubbard pulp fiction re-releases by Galaxy Press that started me on this road.

Back in 2013 I received on of John Sandford’s novels from Penguin Audio, and for the longest time it sat on my “not-sure-whether-or-not-it-is-my-cup-of-tea” shelf. This is a shelf of audiobooks that sound intriguing but I’m not yet familiar with the author or whether I will like the story. I go to this shelf when I’m not sure what I want to hear. Many times I have started a book from this shelf and have been let down and not able to finish the book. Since then all Sandford novels are in my to be read shelf.

Sandford first intrigued me with his Lucas Davenport series “_____ Prey” all the books are 2 word titles and the second word is Prey. Lucas Davenport is an investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. So basically, he catches criminals. After Sandford’s Prey novels became hugely popular, he launched these Virgil Flowers stories back in 2007. Virgil helped Lucas on a few of his criminal pursuits and became a fun character.

Before I get into a summary of the book, I have to send out all the adulations to the narrator, Eric Conger. Conger narrates all of the Sandford audiobooks I’ve listened to and he has me hooked. Conger seems to take on the persona of either Virgil Flowers or Lucas Davenport. His voice is a perfect match and whenever I pick up a hard copy of the book to read, in my head I hear Conger’s voice. I’m hoping to discover some other readings by Conger soon.

In this book Minnesota state investigator Virgil Flowers is working on a case involving Florence ‘Ma’ Nobles and her sons selling counterfeit antique lumber. Part of the reason that Virgil is working so hard is that Ma is very attractive and flirting with him. Sure enough, just before the fun happens Lucas Davenport calls with a new case.

A Lutheran minister named Elijah Jones who is dying of cancer stole an ancient inscribed stone called a stele from an archaeological dig in Israel and smuggled it home to Minnesota. The Israelis want it back and have dispatched an antiquities expert to bring it back. Simple all Virgil has to do is be the tour guide, pick up the terminally ill minister, and locate the stele. Davenport assures Flowers that he’ll back on his counterfeit lumber case in to time at all. In cop stories no time at all usually means after a couple of weeks of investigation and a few hours of risking your life.

The plan is to auction the stele off to the highest bidder to get the money needed to care for Jones’ wife suffering from Alzheimer’s after he dies. The stele’s inscription has historic implications that could be very damaging to Israel so Hezbollah has sent a representative to try and obtain it for propaganda purposes. Also coming into the hunt are a couple of Turks that would kill you just as soon as look at you.

After lots of double crossing and misleading clues and some public media spotlight Virgil solves the case, but not easily.

Publisher’s Summary

The thrilling new novel in the number one New York Times – bestselling series.

In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat. In Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a message from Lucas Davenport: You’re about to get a visitor. It’s an Israeli cop, and she’s tailing a man who’s smuggled out an extraordinary relic – a copper scroll revealing startling details about the man known as King Solomon.

Wait a minute, laughs Virgil. Is this one of those Da Vinci Code deals? The secret scroll, the blockbuster revelation, the teams of murderous bad guys? Should I be boning up on my Bible verses?

He looks at the cop. She’s not laughing. As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don’t care who’s in the way or what they have to do to get it. Maybe Virgil should start praying.

©2013 John Sandford (P)2013 Penguin Audio