Virgil Flowers Books in Order: How to read John Sandford series?

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Thrice divorced and in his late thirties, Virgil Flowers is a member of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), who reports to Lucas Davenport, the main protagonist of the Prey series, also written by John Sandford. Virgil Flowers was also a supporting character in some of the Prey novels, including Invisible Prey and Storm Prey. Brought to the BCA by Davenport himself, Flowers was in the army and the military police before relocating to Bluestem where he operates pretty much on his own.

How to read the Virgil Flowers Series in Order?

Every entry in the Virgil Flowers book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  1. Dark of the Moon – Virgil Flowers has been doing the hard stuff for three years, but he’s never seen anything like this. In the small rural town of Bluestem, an old man is bound in his basement, doused with gasoline and set on fire. Three weeks before, a doctor and his wife were murdered. Three homicides in Bluestem in just as many weeks is unheard of. It’s also no coincidence. And it’s far from over…
  2. Heat Lightning – On a summer night in Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A body has been found near a veterans’ memorial in Stillwater with two shots to the head and a lemon in his mouth-exactly like the body they found two weeks ago. Working the murders, Flowers becomes convinced that someone is keeping a list-with many more names on it.
  3. Rough Country – While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, Virgil Flowers receives a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort for women only. As Virgil begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women.
  1. Bad Blood – Two bodies in two days. One is murder. The other is suicide. Virgil Flowers never imagined that discovering the connection would lead him into the perverse history of the Minnesota farm community, and almost unimaginable darkness.
  2. Shock Wave – A billion-dollar superstore has its sights set on a small Minnesota river town for its next outlet. Two very angry groups want to stop it. The protests are ignored, until a bomb goes off-the first of a series of explosions. Virgil Flowers has been enlisted to find out who’s behind the dangerous acts, but the answer he uncovers may be the biggest shock of all.
  3. Mad River – A modern-day Bonnie and Clyde are on the run through rural Minnesota-victim by victim they’re having the time of their lives. But when Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the hunt for the thrill-hungry kids, things take a shocking detour.
  1. Storm Front – An ancient relic is unearthed during an archaeological dig. A Minnesota college professor is keeping a secret that could change the world’s history as we know it. For Virgil Flowers, the link between the two is inescapable-and his investigation, more dangerous and far-reaching than he can possibly imagine.
  2. Deadline – In Southeast Minnesota, during a meeting of a school board, the chairman proposes a vote: whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter or not. Meanwhile, Virgil Flowers is helping out a friend when he gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found, and the victim is a local reporter….
  3. Escape Clause – Two large and very rare Amur tigers have vanished from the zoo, and authorities are worried 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 – as Virgil Flowers is about to find out.
  1. Deep Freeze – Virgil Flowers knows the town of Trippton, Minnesota, a little too well. A few years back, he investigated the corrupt–and homicidal–local school board, and now the town’s back in view with more alarming news: A woman’s been found dead, frozen in a block of ice.
  2. Holy Ghost – Nothing ever happened in Pinion, Minnesota and nothing ever would–until the mayor of sorts and a buddy come up with a scheme to put Pinion on the map. When a dead body shows up, that’s only the beginning of their troubles–and Virgil Flowers’–as they are all about to discover all too soon.
  3. Bloody Genius – At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate … and he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who are functionally crazy.

The next books are part of the Lucas Davenport/Prey series.

  1. Ocean Prey – An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family when he calls in some suspicious behavior from a nearby boat. It’s a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there’s something hinky going on, and his hunch is proved right when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.
  2. Righteous Prey – “We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.” So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is made up of vigilante killers who are very bored…and very rich. They target the worst of society and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable Bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become popular figures in the media …though their motives may not be entirely pure. After The Five strike again in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate.
  3. Judgment Prey (2023) – The ferocity of the killings, which occur at the home of federal judge Alex Sand and his two young kids, sends their affluent St. Paul neighborhood into shock. There are plenty of those out to get the judge, but the failure of a significant contribution he had planned to make to charity further complicates matters, putting the funds in limbo and focusing attention on his distraught widow. It doesn’t take long for Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers to be contacted as public pressure grows and both the neighborhood police department and the FBI encounter several roadblocks. The pair is committed to investigating every lead and every idea until they discover who killed the Sands. However, as they come up against the most improbable of forces, they start to question whether each detour could bring them closer to the truth.

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One Comment

  1. A tiny river town in Minnesota is the target of a billion-dollar superstore’s next location. It is opposed by two enraged groups. Up until the first of many explosions—a bomb going off—the protests are disregarded. Virgil Flowers has been assigned the task of identifying the person(s) responsible for the dangerous acts, but the most unexpected revelation he makes could be the reason why.

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