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Shock Wave

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The thrilling new Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author. Talk about risky business. The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing The thrilling new Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author. Talk about risky business. The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands. The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage—and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.


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The thrilling new Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author. Talk about risky business. The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing The thrilling new Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author. Talk about risky business. The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands. The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage—and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.

30 review for Shock Wave

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    Can we please find out what John Sandford is eating and put every other thriller writer on the same diet? Its insane that over 30 books into his career the last two hes done, Bad Blood and Buried Prey, were among his very best. Now he delivers another top-notch crime story in Shock Wave. The small city of Butternut Falls, Minnesota, is an uproar over a new big box discount store called PyeMart being built. Someone decides to do more than write angry posts on the Internet and powerful bombs go Can we please find out what John Sandford is eating and put every other thriller writer on the same diet? It’s insane that over 30 books into his career the last two he’s done, Bad Blood and Buried Prey, were among his very best. Now he delivers another top-notch crime story in Shock Wave. The small city of Butternut Falls, Minnesota, is an uproar over a new big box discount store called PyeMart being built. Someone decides to do more than write angry posts on the Internet and powerful bombs go off at PyeMart’s corporate headquarters and at the construction site in Butternut. Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension sends Agent Virgil Flowers to investigate. Virgil finds that there are plenty of suspects from the business owners who know they won’t be able to compete with PyeMart to angry environmentalists claiming that the store will pollute a nearby pristine creek and lake. There are also wide spread rumors that the city council got paid off to allow the store’s construction. As he hunts down the mad bomber Virgil will get tangled up in small town corruption and try a controversial experiment in identifying suspects. While not quite up to the level of last year’s Bad Blood this is still another terrific page turner from Sandford and continues the growth of Virgil from spin-off character from the Davenport Prey series into a fun and off-beat protagonist. And I owe a big ‘Thank you!’ to Dan for this one. I attended the Bouchrcon convention and Dan joined me for a day where we saw the likes of Eion Colfer and Robert Crais, and also learned that eating a big lunch and drinking beer at an Irish pub will impede your ability to stay awake at the afternoon panels. Dan got an ARC of this in the freebie bag full of books you got for registering. My jealously was instant and enormous. I am not proud of the way I threw myself on the ground and began kicking and screaming that it wasn’t fair. Dan quieted my tantrum by offering me a bottle of beer and generously giving me this book. So thanks, Dan!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Ive really changed my mind about the Virgil Flowers books. I gave up on the first one, as I couldnt get past the feeling that it wasnt a Lucas Davenport tale and must therefore be, somehow, inferior. I didnt try another for some time, until I read some positive reviews from people whose judgement I trust. Ive not looked back since. This one is pretty typical. It meanders along with Flowers adopting his normal style of blending in with and befriending the local community whilst asking pretty much I’ve really changed my mind about the Virgil Flowers books. I gave up on the first one, as I couldn’t get past the feeling that it wasn’t a Lucas Davenport tale and must therefore be, somehow, inferior. I didn’t try another for some time, until I read some positive reviews from people whose judgement I trust. I’ve not looked back since. This one is pretty typical. It meanders along with Flowers adopting his normal style of blending in with and befriending the local community whilst asking pretty much everyone who they thought had ‘done it’. He ends up on first name terms with most of most of the suspects and catches the eye of every attractive woman that crosses his path. He drinks a lot of diet coke, eats cheeseburgers and fries and gets his fishing rod out (and no, this isn’t a euphemism) at any opportunity. In this particular episode, Flowers is trying to track down a serial bomber set on preventing the building of a supermarket in a small Minnesota town. But the plot is unimportant really, it’s just fun witnessing Flowers in operation; we know he’s going to catch the bomber and it doesn’t much matter which one of his new friends it is. With Virgil its all about the journey: soaking up the atmosphere, laughing at some of the dialogue, wondering which of the female admirers he’s going to end up focussing his attention on and, for me, continuing to speculate on whether, in another parallel life, I’d rather be Virgil Flowers or his boss, Lucas Davenport. Actually, either would do. And I really must get back to that first Flowers book… I just don’t know what came over me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Janz

    Hey. You. Yeah, *you*. Come here a minute. You reading John Sandford's Virgil Flowers books yet? No? Well, why the hell not? Don't you like fantastic writing? I mean, knock-your-socks-off writing that you can chew on and savor like a perfectly-cooked steak? No? What about labyrinthine plots and vivid settings? Didn't move the needle, huh? What about a palpable sense of danger, a wry sense of humor, and an ability to keep the reader guessing? None of that stuff entices you? Dude, you're a tough Hey. You. Yeah, *you*. Come here a minute. You reading John Sandford's Virgil Flowers books yet? No? Well, why the hell not? Don't you like fantastic writing? I mean, knock-your-socks-off writing that you can chew on and savor like a perfectly-cooked steak? No? What about labyrinthine plots and vivid settings? Didn't move the needle, huh? What about a palpable sense of danger, a wry sense of humor, and an ability to keep the reader guessing? None of that stuff entices you? Dude, you're a tough sell. Then how about characterization? You want characterization, you'll get all you want and more in this series. See, Virgil Flowers is a friend of mine. That's how real he is. I feel like he's up in Minnesota right now, idling in his outboard and trawling the cool lake water for muskie. Or he's lying in bed thinking about God. Or women. In his spare time, he unravels deadly mysteries. The kind that make you gape at the pages because they're so shocking or depraved. Enough. I did my best. You'll either read this series or you won't. Me? I'm gonna go hang out with my pal Virgil.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Thane

    This is another very entertaining entry in John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. Virgil is enjoying his day off, drinking beer and watching scantily-clad women play volleyball when some inconsiderate jerk sets off a bomb at a construction site in Butternut Falls, Minnesota, where PyeMart, a retail giant is building a new superstore. A couple of weeks earlier a bomb had exploded at the company's headquarters in Michigan, killing a secretary and nearly wiping out the company's CEO and board of This is another very entertaining entry in John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. Virgil is enjoying his day off, drinking beer and watching scantily-clad women play volleyball when some inconsiderate jerk sets off a bomb at a construction site in Butternut Falls, Minnesota, where PyeMart, a retail giant is building a new superstore. A couple of weeks earlier a bomb had exploded at the company's headquarters in Michigan, killing a secretary and nearly wiping out the company's CEO and board of directors. Virgil's boss, Lucas Davenport, sends him to Butternut Falls to represent the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in the investigation. Virgil quickly discovers that a lot of people are unhappy about the fact that PyeMart is coming to town. Some local business people fear that the store will drive them out of buisness, while environmentalists fear that a pristene river near the site will be ruined by pollution from the store's operation. In short, the list of potential subjects is a long one and Virgil doesn't have a lot of time to sort things out, especially since the bomber continues to blow things up in and around Butternut Falls, apparently attempting to delay or force the cancellation of the project. The mystery itself is a good one, but as is the case in all these books, the real fun in reading it is watching Virgil work and interact with the other characters. He's one of the most laid-back characters in crime fiction these days and his observations about the world around him are alone worth the price of the book. As, for example, the volleyball contestants referenced above: "The contestants were not the skinny, sun-blasted beach-blanket-bingo chicks who played in places like Venice Beach...They'd spent the early parts of their lives carrying heifers around barnyards, and jumping up and down from haylofts; they could get up in the air. Well, somewhat." A person could very much enjoy hanging around with Virgil Flowers on a long, lazy weekend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Audiobook. My favorite Sandford character, again decked out in cowboy boots and rock band t-shirts, and again on vacation, is charged with investigating the bombings of executives of a large chain. Its a scenario familiar to many smaller communities: a large chain like Walmart or Target (in this fictional case the store is called PyeMart) wants to move in and build a store. The community has many small businesses that will go under from the competition of the larger store. They are also worried Audiobook. My favorite Sandford character, again decked out in cowboy boots and rock band t-shirts, and again on vacation, is charged with investigating the bombings of executives of a large chain. It’s a scenario familiar to many smaller communities: a large chain like Walmart or Target (in this fictional case the store is called PyeMart) wants to move in and build a store. The community has many small businesses that will go under from the competition of the larger store. They are also worried about the environmental effects as one of the community draws is the trout stream they worry might be destroyed. So the list of suspects is substantial. It was pleasant to read a story where the various agencies cooperate with each other and exchange information in order to solve the puzzle. It’s a very good story as Virgil pieces the puzzle together to find the killer. As James Thane points out in his excellent review, the pleasure of reading the Flowers series comes as much from the evolving character of Virgil who has to be one of the most sympathetic detectives in crime fiction. Really 4.5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This might be the best Flowers book yet. A great setup with a superstore moving into a small town where it threatens to wreck the living of many, yet the city council changed zoning to allow it. And then the bombs start going off. A lot of twists & turns follow with Virgil right on the trail doing some really great investigation & catching a lot of heat for it which he ignores in typical fashion. I thought at one point it was going to run off the rails, but it swiftly changed into an This might be the best Flowers book yet. A great setup with a superstore moving into a small town where it threatens to wreck the living of many, yet the city council changed zoning to allow it. And then the bombs start going off. A lot of twists & turns follow with Virgil right on the trail doing some really great investigation & catching a lot of heat for it which he ignores in typical fashion. I thought at one point it was going to run off the rails, but it swiftly changed into an unexpected & really great direction. The end was fantastic. I should have read Buried Prey before this one, but goofed. Doesn't seem to have mattered. I'll read it next.

  7. 4 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    I almost forgot to add this one. Sandford is always good. Virgil Flowers is always good. This episode was easily as good as the rest. Between Flowers and Lucas Davenport, I'm now at 21 John Sandford novels and I'm not sick of him yet. I think it's safe to call me a fan.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Fifth in the Virgil Flowers detective mystery series and revolving around that effin' Flowers over there in Minnesota. It's been six months since Bad Blood , 4. My Take Virgil cracked me up with his response to Pye's threats at the start. Who cares? *snicker* A lot of us can relate to the Butternut Falls issue. Having a big box store open up in town, killing off the local businesses, providing lots of minimum-wage jobs. Throw in those environmental issuesand it's war with the most obvious Fifth in the Virgil Flowers detective mystery series and revolving around that effin' Flowers over there in Minnesota. It's been six months since Bad Blood , 4. My Take Virgil cracked me up with his response to Pye's threats at the start. Who cares? *snicker* A lot of us can relate to the Butternut Falls issue. Having a big box store open up in town, killing off the local businesses, providing lots of minimum-wage jobs. Throw in those environmental issues…and it's war with the most obvious protesters the hunters and fishermen. I did like that bumpersticker: "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms… What's not to like?"Oh, man, the tips in here: Sandford did an interesting bit on the psychological escalation of the bombmaker mentality. It was a bit obvious, but extremely believable. Barlow notes that "most profiles are ninety percent bulls**t". Lee's comments about how her consulting in Hollywood works was fascinating. I had no idea they even did that much "blending"! Haden says he plants marigolds to deter the moles. I do like how Virgil detects. He tells everyone a lot of what the police find and goes around town soliciting opinions from everyone. Then there's George's idea: doing a survey. I thought it was a good idea… Then Virgil comes up with that coding idea. Good 'un. "That's where most of him was. His head was over there — popped right off, like they do."I had no idea there were such differences between trout, muskie, bullhead, etc., fishermen…*more laughter*… I loved it when Ahlquist got on O'Hara about the language. She's only partly sorry for it. Man, Pye is so gonna regret coming to Butternut Falls…that, ahem, ceremony, ROFL. The Story The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: local merchants, fearing for their businesses, and environmentalists, predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands. The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage — and they do. Who's behind the bombs, and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out…before more people get killed. The Characters Living in Mankato, Agent Virgil Flowers is a roving detective for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. His background includes a stint with the MPs, a degree in ecological science, and a Bible-thumping childhood. Today, he loves to write articles for various magazines — including the New York Times, and he loves the challenge of solving cases, getting out from behind the computer. He's in a long-distance relationship with Sheriff Lee Coakley ( Bad Blood ). David is one of her kids. Johnson Johnson is a friend of Virgil's; he runs a custom sawmill. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is… …a state police agency where Lucas Davenport is Virgil's boss. Jenkins and Shrake are the resident thugs. And they crack me up. Sandy is their part-time researcher. Hendrix. Jack Thompson is good with electronics. Gabriel Moss will handle the disk drives. Ruffe Ignace is a reporter at the Star Tribune. Thomas Shaver is a federal judge in Minneapolis. Butternut Falls is… … a small town in Kandiyohi County in Minnesota that is about to get a PyeMart. Jack LeCourt. Mable Bunson's Restaurant and Cheesery is the main restaurant in town. Larry is a reporter with the Clarion Call. Harvey Greene owned the limousine. Lawrence, who knows about workshops, works at Home Depot. Kiki Bjornsen is a bookkeeper with the Butternut Outdoor Patio Design Center. Thor is an eighteen-year-old desk clerk at the Holiday Inn. That boy is goin' places, lol. Jim Paulson owns the Soaring Center. Gretchen, Frank, and Retrief work at Butternut Scuba. Doug Mackey, the local golf pro by summer, schoolteacher the rest of the year, has a good tip. The City Council Geraldine Gore is the mayor; her husband, Dave, sells golf carts. The councilmen who were for PyeMart include Arnold Martin, a stock manager at a car parts place; Burt Block who runs a temp service and employment agency; and, Pat Shepard. Jeanne is Pat's angry wife. Marilyn Oaks and Carol Anne Moore are Pat's girlfriends. Bernice is Jeanne's friend. Edwin Kline, the town pharmacist, had been one of those against. Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department Sheriff Earl Ahlquist likes the camera; his wife is an unhappy realtor. Deputies O'Hara (did a tour with a Black Hawk unit), Tom Mack (two tours in Iraq), and Jimmy with Jeneret as the chief deputy have their turn in the story. Helen is a clerk. Shirley Good Thunder is the prosecutor, and Theodore Wills is the county attorney and Shirley's boss. Bill Check is the public defender. Tom LaRouche is a defense attorney. Coral Schmidt is the stenographer. Dick Pruess will be Virgil's temporary assistant. Jim Barlow and David McCullough are with ATF. Tim is a bomb guy. Doug Mason and Charlie are computer techs. PyeMart is… …a Walmart-type store looking to expand. Willard T. Pye owns it. Marie Chapman is his "court reporter". She follows him around and writes down every word he says. Angela "Jelly" Brown is Pye's executive assistant. Sally Humboldt is in food services. Harry is a Pye driver. Bob Brown is the head of security and Barrett Newman runs the Pye Pinnacle building systems. John Dunn is an expediter. Gilbert Kingsley is the construction superintendent. Mike Sullivan is the civil engineer. Mary Sullivan is his wife. Donny Clark will replace Sullivan. Suspects include… …Ernie Stanton, redneck, hard worker, and owner of two fast-oil change places; Don Banning runs a clothing store; Beth Robertson runs the Book Nook; Greg Sawyer; Lyle McLachlan; Bill Barber; Gordon Wilson is a car salesman at the Ford dealership; and, Dick Gates is a power-hungry wildlife officer. Fishermen include Larry Butz, a trout guy who owns a jewelry store; Cameron Smith is a wet-fly man and the president of the local trout-fishing club; and, George Peck, the local photographer, is more dry and does love his antique fishing everything — he nominates himself on the survey. Henry Erikson is a trout guy, likes to build nice guitars, and works at the Chevy dealership. Sarah is his wife. Ron is the manager at the dealership. Ron Mueller is Sarah's brother. Butternut Technical College is… …a two-year technical college. Jesse Card is the lead instructor in the metal shop. John Haden teaches; Barbara is his ex-wife. Bill Wyatt is getting divorced from his wife, Jennifer. Billie is their daughter. Mary Trail is Virgil's insurance agent. Andy at East Coast Marine has what Virgil wants. Mark Douka with Xavier Homes provides Virgil with a possible motive for the bombings. The Cover and Title The cover makes me think of Turner's light with that gorgeous glow coming off the painting. It's as though there's gold foil underneath that fiery sky, billowing smoke roiling through the oranges over the city skyline. That's the bottom half. The top half is a deep, deep blue with the author's name in an embossed deep gold and bright white. The title is a consequence of physics: there is a Shock Wave when a bomb goes off.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tory Wagner

    Shockwave by John Sandford features BCA investigator Virgil Flowers. This is the fifth in the series and deals with a bomber who is targeting a successful businessman who is planning to build one of his stores in a small rural community. The first bomb goes off at the top of a towering office building and then the bomber begins to target the small town that is "selling out" to the businessman. Virgil is an engaging character and the mystery is entertaining.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Needed something for a Summer "Road Trip" & it was available at the library to help with the driving to & from Wyoming's Yellowstone basin...with Congers narration, I've upgraded from 4 to 5 stars...here's the original review: "That F**kin' Flowers" is up to his neck invesatigating a bomber loose in "small town" Minnesota...Is the bomber, or is the bomber not targeting a "big box" store building a unit in the town?...Flower's love life with a rural sheriff is on hiatus and we find Virgil Needed something for a Summer "Road Trip" & it was available at the library to help with the driving to & from Wyoming's Yellowstone basin...with Congers narration, I've upgraded from 4 to 5 stars...here's the original review: "That F**kin' Flowers" is up to his neck invesatigating a bomber loose in "small town" Minnesota...Is the bomber, or is the bomber not targeting a "big box" store building a unit in the town?...Flower's love life with a rural sheriff is on hiatus and we find Virgil at loose romantic ends as well as deep in investigation...fun as always!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alondra Miller

    3.50 Stars. Another classic Virgil Flowers thriller. No nonsense, hilarious at times and one dropped bomb after another. No pun intended. Virgil is on the case again; this time after a bomber with a plan. No plan is perfect and the bomber learns this quickly. I love reading this series; and love the main character. Nice flow and good for a quick read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Another Virgil Flowers murder solved. Virgil gets called to check out a couple of bombs that seem to be related, and another one goes off...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Another Worthy Crime Novel from John Sandford Virgil Flowers considers himself a shitkicker and tends to dress, talk, and act like one, favoring T-shirts from rock bands, cowboy boots, fly fishing, fast motorboats, and, shall we say, casual language. Here he is in conversation with one of his suspects in Shock Wave, a trade school instructor: Virgil: So, where you at? Suspect: You dont need the at at the end of that sentence. If youd asked, Where are you? that would have been fine. Virgil: Im Another Worthy Crime Novel from John Sandford Virgil Flowers considers himself a “shitkicker” and tends to dress, talk, and act like one, favoring T-shirts from rock bands, cowboy boots, fly fishing, fast motorboats, and, shall we say, casual language. Here he is in conversation with one of his suspects in Shock Wave, a trade school instructor: Virgil: “So, where you at?” Suspect: “You don’t need the ‘at’ at the end of that sentence. If you’d asked, ‘Where are you?’ that would have been fine.” Virgil: “I’m colloquial.” Virgil sometimes uses words like “colloquial” because, in reality, he has a college degree (in ecological science) and a scary-high IQ, and, though everyone seems to comment that he looks nothing like a cop, he is the most successful detective in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprensioin (BCA). In Shock Wave, the fifth in John Sanders’ Virgil Flowers series, Virgil is sent to investigate a fatal bombing at the site of a future big-box store that is carefully positioned not to be a Wal-Mart even though it clearly is. There, he encounters the founder of the Wal-Mart-like chain, an irascible old man with a million-dollar secretary and $32 billion net work, along with the mayor and members of the city council of a small town in the far reaches of Minnesota. As the novel’s first bombing is followed by a second and then, in quick succession, another, Virgil and the local sherrif race to identify the bomber — and, along the way, come to grips with the corruption on the city council that gave the green light for the store to be built. John Sandford is a master of novels like this. In addition to the Virgil Flowers series, he has published 21 entries in the “Prey” series featuring Virgil’s boss, Lucas Davenport, 4 more in another short-lived crime series, plus two unrelated novels and a couple of nonfiction books as well — starting in 1988. If your skills run more to language than to mathematics, please note that Sandford (a pseudonym for a former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) has been writing an average of about 1-1/2 books per year. Others are more prolific, but Sandford’s plots are invariably inventive, his characters three-dimensional, and his prose eminently readable. (From www.malwarwickonbooks.com)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    Early in the fifth Virgil Flowers novel, a county sheriff refers to Virgil as a "social investigator," which is apt. In this book, for example, he actually undertakes an anonymous written survey to assemble a list of suspects. More generally, he pokes around a town, bouncing his case theories off people and getting their input until he solves the case. After two bombings kill employees of a modestly upscale discount store, Virgil travels to a town where small business owners and conservationists Early in the fifth Virgil Flowers novel, a county sheriff refers to Virgil as a "social investigator," which is apt. In this book, for example, he actually undertakes an anonymous written survey to assemble a list of suspects. More generally, he pokes around a town, bouncing his case theories off people and getting their input until he solves the case. After two bombings kill employees of a modestly upscale discount store, Virgil travels to a town where small business owners and conservationists and fishermen are the likely suspects. Good surprise ending.

  15. 4 out of 5

    William

    Best of the Virgil Flowers books so far. Great fun! Huge lots of good short humour here, mostly ribald, even better than previous books. Virgil is even more literate and sharp here, as are many other characters. 41% An extended ribald funny story for 3-4 pages. Guffaws guaranteed. 43% Date with Pye's biographer doesn't ring true. It made Virgil look sleazy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Block

    I don't think I've ever read a book by Sandford to which I'd give fewer than five stars. This one is written with the skill he always displays. Virgil Flowers, always engaging, grows in dimension, as JS's characters always do.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    What a great book!!! Like every single one of the Lucas Davenport/Virgil Flowers novels, it was an excellent story from the first page. I've even read this one before, but could not remember until it was revealed who done it. John Sanford is just that great of a writer!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Really entertaining. But this is the second book referring to sodomizing a child.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I just love Virgil, he is not your usual cop which is part of his charm. He is always open to new ideas, does his deep thinking in unusual ways, and seems to have uncanny luck with women. This time around some of the new ideas that Virgil uses to work the case causes him to get into some hot water. When they first start talking about it I thought it was a crock of crap, but as things progressed it seemed to work. I love how Virgil brings his boat and fishing stuff when working on a case, it seems I just love Virgil, he is not your usual cop which is part of his charm. He is always open to new ideas, does his deep thinking in unusual ways, and seems to have uncanny luck with women. This time around some of the new ideas that Virgil uses to work the case causes him to get into some hot water. When they first start talking about it I thought it was a crock of crap, but as things progressed it seemed to work. I love how Virgil brings his boat and fishing stuff when working on a case, it seems to help him do some of his best thinking. This case was no different, what was different was how this favored past time was used as a punishment for him. The results of that had him walking around looking like someone kicked his brand new puppy. I had to laugh though when Virgil got a call helping him clear the way to get back on his feet in this aspect of his life. Virgil normally has good luck with the ladies, but in this book it seems like that isn't the case. There were all sorts of possibilities, but there were also strings still holding him or so it seemed. I will say that some of the best scenes in the book was when Virgil was talking to an 18 year old boy about women and I do mean women. He was giving advice on how to score and trying to give some advice on how not to get in over his head. The bombings in the story seemed so random. It was only when you knew the whole story that things made sense. I didn't guess the bad guy until almost the end. I did enjoy seeing Virgil work with the ATF, the local cops, and the big business bigwigs. It is funny that at first glance none of them take him serious, then he is there to slap them down. I also thought it was great that in addition to the bombings that Virgil was able to investigate the alleged corruption in the city government. I can't wait to read the next book, I hope Virgil is past his melancholy mood.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Gelati

    Virgil Flowers is one of my favorite characters and I love what he does in this , the fifth, stand alone. He is very much Virgil, but a different side of him, more introspective, a bit deeper, more thought out , and definitely a ton of fun. The backdrop to all this is something most readers can appreciate: the angst behind a huge mega store coming in and crushing a community and its businesses. Using that, John Sandford again hits all the right notes and takes us the reader on nice wild ride Virgil Flowers is one of my favorite characters and I love what he does in this , the fifth, stand alone. He is very much Virgil, but a different side of him, more introspective, a bit deeper, more thought out , and definitely a ton of fun. The backdrop to all this is something most readers can appreciate: the angst behind a huge mega store coming in and crushing a community and its businesses. Using that, John Sandford again hits all the right notes and takes us the reader on nice wild ride .The motivations of the community, who really is the bomber, and a great social networking experiment to help find the killer. Would you take part in it? Me, I don’t think so, not my gig diming out my neighbor, whether they make bombs or not. Who else am I going to borrow sugar from in the future, who knows what may be in it if I did.I for one am glad this came buy when it did, now I need my Davenport and company fix. Can’t wait. Here is what you are in for if you crack this open: “Talk about risky business. The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands. The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage—and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    I'm getting as addicted to the Virgil Flowers books as Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. This one is an excellent mystery that keeps you guessing the why and how as much as whodunit. A bomb explodes in the conference room on the 55th floor of the Pye Pinnacle, headquarters for the Pye Mart chain that's a bit higher end than Walmart and almost as prolific. Then another bomb takes out the mobile construction office for a new Pye Mart in a small Minnesota town. Davenport sends Flowers to work with I'm getting as addicted to the Virgil Flowers books as Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. This one is an excellent mystery that keeps you guessing the why and how as much as whodunit. A bomb explodes in the conference room on the 55th floor of the Pye Pinnacle, headquarters for the Pye Mart chain that's a bit higher end than Walmart and almost as prolific. Then another bomb takes out the mobile construction office for a new Pye Mart in a small Minnesota town. Davenport sends Flowers to work with the local police and the ATF investigators. Virgil uncovers a web of secrets and corruption, but his investigation could make him a target for the bomber himself. Wickedly funny and fast paced, this book will keep you guessing until the very end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    Virgil Flowers is an interesting character and Shock Wave is quite readable. Not quite believable, but intelligently written and entertaining. The Minnesota location is different and interesting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is the 5th of Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. It's written with the same attention to plot detail as the Davenport "Prey" series but with a slightly lighter touch in spite of the murder and mayhem involved. An enjoyable "crime break" between more literary fare.

  24. 4 out of 5

    K

    Well, Im going against the majority a little bit by rating Shock Wave 3.5 stars, despite so many glowing reviews. Let me be clear and disclose that I love the Virgil Flowers series. Which is probably why Im going to be a bit critical here. First, the elements that scored a 4 rating: Plot terrific with more than enough twists and plausible culprits to keep this reader guessing and changing his mind until late in the story. Sense of place ahhh, another small Minnesota town, well described and Well, I’m going against the majority a little bit by rating Shock Wave 3.5 stars, despite so many glowing reviews. Let me be clear and disclose that I love the Virgil Flowers series. Which is probably why I’m going to be a bit critical here. First, the elements that scored a 4 rating: Plot— terrific with more than enough twists and plausible culprits to keep this reader guessing and changing his mind until late in the story. Sense of place— ahhh, another small Minnesota town, well described and complete with... Characters— at least a few that were memorable including a feisty redhead Sheriff’s deputy named O’Hara. Ok, now the lower scoring part: As laconic and agreeable as Virgil is, there was just too little energy in the first half of the book. Sure, there were bits of the sass and charm I’ve come to expect, but these were too infrequent and the story seemed to drag a little. Also, I found Virgil’s waning relationship with his girlfriend, Lee Coakley, who was in California working as a TV consultant and clearly unlikely to return to small town MN, to be interfering with the Flowers character. His pining for her just feels wrong, especially given his history of attracting female attention in previous books. I prefer a more flirtatious (and willing) Virgil- makes for more interesting reading. It’s challenging to adequately illustrate why this one seemed just a half step off, just not as bright and shiny as other Virgil Flowers mysteries, but there it is. Compared with lesser books, this would still be a great book. But I’m comparing Sandford against himself, and in this case the score gets rounded down. I do, however, have faith that the next Virgil Flowers novel I read will again rise to the lofty levels we’ve come to associate with this talented author.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Virgil Flowers, part hippie, part laid back fisherman, who looks like a surfer dude, who habitually wears rock band T-shirts, works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He works under Lucas Davenport (the protagonist in the Sandford Prey series). Virgil works on his own in the more rural areas. Davenport sends Virgil to Butternut, Minnesota to investigate a serial bomber. PyeMart is planning to build a large retail store in Butternut. The fishermen who love the Butternut River are Virgil Flowers, part hippie, part laid back fisherman, who looks like a “surfer dude”, who habitually wears rock band T-shirts, works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He works under Lucas Davenport (the protagonist in the Sandford “Prey” series). Virgil works on his own in the more rural areas. Davenport sends Virgil to Butternut, Minnesota to investigate a serial bomber. PyeMart is planning to build a large retail store in Butternut. The fishermen who love the Butternut River are unhappy. The small businesses who are threatened by the behemoth are not happy. A bomb goes off in the boardroom of PyeMart’s headquarters. Then a bomb goes off at a work trailer at the building site. More bombs go off targeting the water system supplying PyeMart, the limousine of the founder, and even Virgil. The pressure is on because the bombs are going off at an alarming rate. So far only two have been killed, one injured, but the stakes are getting higher. Virgil, who tends to talk to as many locals as he can while solving crimes is pressed for time. One of the residents suggests doing market research to narrow down the suspects. Virgil sends letters to selected residents and asks for anonymous replies of who they believe could be the bomber. He compares the lists to get the most likely suspects. Lots of dead ends, lots of miscues, it just isn’t coming together for Virgil. But, he is closing in, putting pressure on the bomber, and, as a byproduct, uncovering a corruption in the city government. These books are easy reading with an immensely likable Virgil.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Two things, first - Goodreads doesn't have enough stars, because five just doesn't cut it for this book. Second - it's dangerous to say "best" or "favorite" about any John Sandford book, but I'll take the risk on Shock Wave . This is my favorite John Sandford - Virgil Flowers book. (and I have read all of them.) Sanford's style is creamy. That is to say smooth, and cool and it goes down very easy. All of his books are almost like ... taking a nap when you were a kid on a hot afternoon with the Two things, first - Goodreads doesn't have enough stars, because five just doesn't cut it for this book. Second - it's dangerous to say "best" or "favorite" about any John Sandford book, but I'll take the risk on Shock Wave . This is my favorite John Sandford - Virgil Flowers book. (and I have read all of them.) Sanford's style is creamy. That is to say smooth, and cool and it goes down very easy. All of his books are almost like ... taking a nap when you were a kid on a hot afternoon with the fan blowing across you as you laid on your favorite blanket on the floor. Pleasant relaxing hilarious in some places, stunning in others, always easy to read. I get up after an hour of reading Sanford and feel better. I always feel better. This book, Shock Wave, had, to my mind, the Perfect Blend of all of the above (not the fan or blanket) and they were in just the right amount for a great balance. There are so many great lines that it's hard to pick one, and unfortunately most of them are unprintable in a Goodreads review; in particular though when Virgil is talking to the ATF agent, Jim Barlow, about a bomb Tech removing an unexploded bomb, Virgil asked "how'd he do that?" Barlow replies, "we've got all kinds of high-tech equipment with us, we just haven't had to bring it out yet." Virgil asked " like what? A robot?" Barlow flatly replies, "no a long string. he dropped it over the end of the pipe bomb and pulled it from a distance. In short, this book is a great first read for budding or new Sanford fans. And one that I will most likely come back to.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Another awesome book by John Sandford. Love Virgil Flowers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom Swift

    I want to be Virgil Flowers when I grow up.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevintipple

    Virgil Flowers returns in SHOCK WAVE and the read is a good one. This is the fifth novel of the series and this time he is chasing a bomber. Virgil is based in Mankato, Minnesota and therefore routinely covers the southern part of the state for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He also goes whether his boss, Lucas Davenport, sends him. Virgil has quite the reputation, not just with the ladies, and always gets the job done. The latest bombing was of a construction trailer located at Virgil Flowers returns in SHOCK WAVE and the read is a good one. This is the fifth novel of the series and this time he is chasing a bomber. Virgil is based in Mankato, Minnesota and therefore routinely covers the southern part of the state for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He also goes whether his boss, Lucas Davenport, sends him. Virgil has quite the reputation, not just with the ladies, and always gets the job done. The latest bombing was of a construction trailer located at the site of a planned PyeMart store. PyeMart is a major grocery and more type chain store deal and somebody is trying to stop their latest venture. This just hours after the company’s board room in their very secure office tower was blown up killing one and wounding another. Like the office tower bombing, the destruction of the construction trailer has killed one and wounded another. Lucas Davenport sends Virgil to the small town of Butternut to deal with the problem in typical Virgil Flowers fashion. That means both traditional police work and a reliance on the unorthodox methods when traditional police work does not give Virgil Flowers the answers he needs. Butternut is one of those small towns where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. That means everyone knows who the folks on the edge are and also know that most of those types can’t pull these bombing off successfully. Yet, somebody is doing it because it keeps happening. As expected, Virgil does finally solve the case in a fast paced book that also occasionally provides a laugh out loud moment. No new ground in terms of character development is broken here. Instead, the focus is on the case and chasing a bomber that is striking again and again in the area. In a refreshing change from recent books in this series, discussions and observations about sex and sexual perversions are almost non-existent making for a much better read. The focus is on the case, the suspects, and how to stop the attacks. The read moves very quickly with a minimum of character exploration. That is especially obvious in the way the secondary subplot is handled as it could have easily been expanded some to add some complexity to the book. Despite that minor nit, there are plenty of twists and turns in this nearly 400 page novel to give you a good read. SHOCK WAVE: A Virgil Flowers Novel John Sandford http://www.johnsandford.org G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group) http://penguingroup.com 2011 ISBN# 978-0-399-15769-1 Hardback 388 Pages $27.95 Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System. Kevin R. Tipple © 2011 Reviews, writing events, and more at http://kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com/

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dotti Elrick

    This is Virgil Flowers fifth novel. I love Virgil. He is so untypical of most of the detectives you read about. He's easy going, laid back and looks nothing like a cop. Long blond hair, jeans and old indie band shirts, along with his trademark cowboy boots is what you will find him wearing not only working crime scenes but that's what he'll be wearing in front of the cameras for a press conferences. And most of the time he's pulling his fishing boat behind his state vehicle. Virgil thinks best This is Virgil Flowers fifth novel. I love Virgil. He is so untypical of most of the detectives you read about. He's easy going, laid back and looks nothing like a cop. Long blond hair, jeans and old indie band shirts, along with his trademark cowboy boots is what you will find him wearing not only working crime scenes but that's what he'll be wearing in front of the cameras for a press conferences. And most of the time he's pulling his fishing boat behind his state vehicle. Virgil thinks best when he's on the water fishing. Virgil is enjoying his day off with a friend watching scantily clad women playing volleyball, trying to decided if his recent girlfriend, the sheriff is going to break his heart, when he's called away to investigate a serial bomber. He is sent to the small town of Butternut Falls Minnesota where a construction trailer has been bombed and one man died, one was seriously injured. This is the second hit against the big box store Pye-Mart. The first was earlier, when the bomber took out the board room of Pye Pinnacle, the home base of Willard Pye, the billionaire owner of the franchise. Someone really doesn't want the new Pye-Mart being built in Butternut Falls. The local fishermen say the runoff from the parking lot will damage the fishing in the river that runs behind the new store, several local businesses will have to close their doors when they cant compete with the prices of the big store. The bomber is nowhere near done, he takes out a construction site and all the new sewer pipe, Willard Pye's limo and, in Virgil's opinion the worst offense, he blew up Virgil's fishing boat. Now he's really mad. At the same time the town is screaming at the local police force to do something about all the city councilmen who were bribed to sign off on the building of the new Pye-Mart. One more thing for Virgil to look into. This book moves a bit slower that the other Flower's novels. But the story is very complicated and lots of twists and turns woven in to throw you off. I liked it. I love most everything Sandford writes.

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