Book Review: ESCAPE CLAUSE by John Sandford

escape-clauseAfter dealing with dognappings in 2014’s Deadline, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers investigates catnappings in Escape Clause, his ninth outing in John Sandford’s Prey spinoff series.

The cats in this case are no household pets; they’re a pair of endangered Amur tigers stolen from the Minnesota Zoo. Flowers fears they’ll be slaughtered for parts to use in illegal traditional medicines.

But the first body he encounters is human, a small-time crook linked to the stolen tigers. Then another corpse surfaces. And yet another person goes missing. Flowers realizes he’s up against someone who intends to kill not only the tigers, but anyone who gets in the way of a deadly get-rich scheme.

Though the crimes in this novel are no joke—a subplot involves the exploitation of illegal Mexicans in the workplace—the appeal lies in the humor Sandford gives his eccentric characters.

Sporting long blond hair and cowboy boots, Flowers is sometimes underestimated by others as a law enforcement officer, but readers know he’s smart, competent and fair. His sidekicks are two other BCA agents who resemble “Mafia thugs,” but Flowers points out they’d do well in Hollywood with that look. The cool but complex Catrin Mattson, another colleague (Field of Prey), begs for a spinoff series of her own. Flowers’s girlfriend, Frankie, has a sister who’s dangerously self-centered, but Flowers’s relationship with Frankie is still going strong, just like this series.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Eddy
    November 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I just finished reading this book yesterday. I’m a big fan of that f… fellow Flowers.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      I like him, too! I loved That F**king Dog from DEADLINE, who now has a more proper name but I kinda miss his initial moniker. 🙂

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    November 7, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Aw, man, I’ve never read Sandiford, but see him on the bookshelves all the time. Guess I gotta finally check him out.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      I haven’t read many of the Prey series, but I do recommend the Flowers books.

      • Reply
        Eddy
        November 11, 2016 at 9:04 am

        I’ve read all the Davenports (Prey series), all the Flowers, all the Kidds, and the stand-alones that weren’t co-written. The nice thing about the Prey series is that Sandford is able to keep serial killer storylines fresh. Flowers are much lighter. The Kidd series is good, too, but technologically dated. (Kidd does make a few cameos in the other books, so it is nice to know his back story.)

    • Reply
      Naomi
      November 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I prefer the Prey series to the Flowers books, but I never skip either one. I was glad to see Frankie’s sister didn’t get between Virgil and Frankie.

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