Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers – 9) by John Sandford
Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two. The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure” (Booklist)
The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others — as Virgil is about to find out.
Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.
“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”
“She carries a knife?”
“No, but I do.”
Forget a storm – this one’s a tornado.
Virgil Flowers is called in to investigate the theft of two Amour tigers from the Minnesota zoo. It is feared that they are going to be used in Chinese medicine. The kidnappers are not the brightest but it is still a race against time for Virgil to find the tigers.
But that is not the only things happening. Sparkle, Frankie’s sister has stopped by Virgil’s place. She is investigating local migrant workers and how they are abused and taken advantage of in a local factory. Virgil has to run home to Mankato to help protect Sparkle against the factory owner that don’t want any of this information to get out to the public. Virgil is also playing with fire since Sparkle seems interested in him and Frankie has put her foot down about any funny business.
I really enjoyed this story. We do know who kidnapped the tigers and their plans but we follow along as Virgil is trying to stop them. This is great cat and mouse action since the kidnappers are not top of the line, professionals. The other story of the migrant works was done well. He has to step in and keep Sparkle. But he has to dance on a razor’s edge because too much contact and Frankie is going to put him in his place.
I really enjoyed this story. Although the story did have a serious side with animals being killed for their parts, it was handled well. It is my first book with Virgil Flowers in it but it won’t be my last.
I received Escape Clause from the publisher free of charge.