John Sandford's 'Prey' series. But Virgil proved to be pretty popular and ended up with his own series. Escape Clause is the ninth book in his series.
What makes Virgil so popular? He's a 'good ole boy' with a laid back attitude, loves fishing as much as he loves working and his cases are always, well, odd. He's got an eye for the ladies (and the ladies for him) but things seem to be getting more serious with girlfriend Frankie. He's crap with a gun, often not even bothering to carry one and instead relies on his wits and his mouth to get him out of tight situations. Bottom line, I just like him.
So I was eager to see what his latest case was. This time 'round, Virgil is after two tigers stolen from the Minnesota zoo. Is it animal rights activists or has someone stolen them for their value in traditional Chinese medicine? And on the homefront, Frankie's sister Sparkle has come to visit. Sparkle seems to be ruffling some feathers at a local business that could mean trouble.
In the zoo case there's no mystery as to who dunnit, but it's enjoyable to ride along as Virgil and his team try to piece it together and make it stick. That journey is a lot of fun, but fair warning - there is some violence.
But for me the real draw of the Virgil books are the characters. The supporting cast of players is just as great as Virgil. I've always enjoyed mainstays Jenkins and Shrake. There's a cameo by Lucas Davenport and faithful readers will spot the tie in to Sandford's last book. The dialogue is the other thing I really enjoy - it's quick, wry and witty.
This series isn't high drama or contain convoluted plotting. What it is, is just plain entertaining. Great quirky characters, left of centre plotting and witty dialogue add up to a quick and addictive read. The trademark phrase 'That f****ng Flowers is always fun to watch for. Read an excerpt of Escape Clause.
Fans of the television show Fargo would enjoy this series. And upon saying that, I think it would be great to see Virgil on the screen as well. Now, who should be cast as the lead.......