Deep Freeze (A Virgil Flowers Novel) by John Sandford


Reviewed by Allen Hott

Deep FreezeJohn Sandford takes one of his favorite characters, Virgil Flowers, back to Trippton, Minnesota where Flowers has worked in his capacity as an agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation in previous books. His last visit was when Virgil busted up a crime ring that somehow was created and run by a crooked school board. Virgil hadn’t made a lot of friends at that time but he did have a few who believed he did the right thing.

This time however it involves a female president of the local bank who was found floating in the Mississippi which was actually pretty much frozen over. The woman was pretty much clothed except for having on only one shoe and it was actually twisted on the wrong foot!

It is not the time of the year that Virgil likes to go to Trippton because it is mostly snow and ice so he can’t do much of his favorite sport of fishing in between trying to solve the latest crime. But off he goes and meets up with the medical examiner that shows him the body and explains that it appears the victim was hit in the head with a heavy round object which probably killed her. She also shows some bruising and other marks on her body which could indicate B&D (or rough sex for some folks). Virgil also notices a cut on her face but the ME explains that when the guy who spotted the body floating in the river he didn’t want to go across the ice to get to her so he cast his fishing hook into her and pulled her ashore to where he was. (Sounds like typical Virgil Flowers/John Sandford stuff, right?).

Virgil begins building his list of not only names of people who are somehow involved with Gina Hemming (the dead woman)but also circumstances of her death and what has been going on recently in town. Being that Trippton is a small town and Gina not only grew up there but was very popular in high school and was very well-known, the list was lengthy. Virgil begins by seeing where she had been before her body turned up in the river.

He finds that there was a meeting at her home of some fellow high school graduates who were setting up a reunion get together. It appears that just shortly after the meeting ended is when the murder took place in Gina’s kitchen.

As Virgil begins finding out how the body got from the kitchen to the river, he and Johnson Johnson (true name and a fishing buddy) have their dinner interrupted one evening by a woman, Margaret Griffin, who is trying to serve a Federal cease and desist order. She is trying to serve it for Mattel who have found out that someone in or around Trippton has been altering Barbie and Ken dolls. The alterations turn the dolls into little sex toys that perform various sex acts.

The dolls are being sold all over the country but originate in Trippton. Virgil, being a federal agent, is somewhat called upon to help Margaret but tells her immediately that most of his time will be spent on tracking the murderer of Gina Hemming. But whether or not he wants to get involved he not only does get involved but in a somewhat funny way. Although it may be funny to those who hear of it and the reader truth is that it is un-funny and very harmful physically to Virgil.

While chasing down the leads and checking out various possible candidates for the murder Vigil finds that there are some other things going on in Trippton that he was unaware of and actually as it turns out very few of the townspeople are even aware of the B&D acts either.

How Sandford builds this story with many assorted scenes and happenings makes for a very enjoyable read. And is the norm for Sandford there is no explicit sex but quite a bit of profanity. Deep Freeze is one more Sandford story really worth reading.