It took a few days for the body of Dr. Quill to be found behind the locked door of a personal study carrel at the University Library. A subsequent two week investigation by the local police went nowhere. It was clear that he was murdered and that had been accomplished by two massive blows to his head with a heavy object of some sort. Who did it and why, the location of the murder weapon which might have been his very expensive computer, and a host of other questions have yet to be answered. Dr. Bathelemy Quill came from serious money and had connections despite his arrogance and other issues. His surviving sister has serious money and powerful connections so it is no problem at all for her to call the Minnesota Governor and express her dissatisfaction. Before long the request rolls downhill to land squarely on one BCA agent named Virgil Flowers.


Virgil Flowers is less than thrilled to be sent to the University of Minnesota to investigate the murder, but Minneapolis Homicide is not getting anywhere. As it is Thursday the Governor would like the whole deal wrapped up by the end of the weekend and has made that thought clear all down the chain of command. The Governor may be a weasel or worse as Flowers sees him, but he can’t be ignored either. The only good thing is he won’t have to go out of state or to the far corners of Minnesota as he has in the past. This time Flowers will be relatively close in case the very pregnant Frankie needs him or an issue happens out at their farm. He is going to have to go home, explain all and pack and get some sleep, and then go see Sergeant Margaret Trane of Minneapolis Homicide.


By noon the next day, he is Minneapolis City Hall meeting with Sergeant Trane and reviewing the case. Trane is justifiably enraged by the media coverage that has become increasingly negative towards her and the Department as well as being second guessed by the family and Governor to the point that Flowers is present to work the case. She is also more than a little frustrated and annoyed with herself and her own failure to solve the case.


It becomes clear to Flowers that the fact the case isn’t solved is not because of a lack of effort by Trane. The issue is a lack of clues and leads. The few leads they do have do not seem to have any merit at all and are next to worthless. The evidence found to this point is very limited and seems to have no merit. Despite all the hard work by Trane and support stuff, there does not seem to be anything to really go on, let alone a pattern or order to things, or a connection to the murder. The only idea Flowers has initially is to go to talk to everyone Trane has interviewed so that he can get a feel for them. He also needs to go walk the crime scene in the library.


Before long Flowers is doing his thing of talking to people and, metaphorically speaking, kicking over rocks. His doing so starts sending things into motion. Eever so gradually, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, progress begins to be made on this case and several other situations that may or may not be connected.


Regardless of which series it is, author John Sandford can always be counted on for complex reads with many moving pieces. Sometimes readers know from the get go who the bad guy or guys are. Other times, as in this case, readers don’t. One also knows that in his books, there will be plenty of adult language and fast moving actions, references to at least one latest book by a major author, and plenty of the everyday minutiae in the main series character’s life. All these elements and more make Bloody Genius: A Vergil Flowers Novel well worth reading. While it could be read by readers new to the series, there are several references to books in earlier in the series that could impact readers well as multiple references to running jokes that have been in place since the start.


For another take on the book, please read this September 2019 review by Lesa Holstine.


Bloody Genius: A Virgil Flowers Novel

John Sandford

Random House Large Print

October 2019

ISBN# 978-1-9848-8285-1

Large Print Paperback (also available in audio, digital, and hardback formats)

480 Pages



My reading copy came from the Bachman Lake Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

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