- File Size: 1751 KB
- Print Length: 383 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (October 9, 2018)
- Publication Date: October 9, 2018
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B079DXLLPC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price set by seller.
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
Holy Ghost (A Virgil Flowers Novel Book 11) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 383 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $8.99 when you buy the Kindle book.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
“John Sandford’s madly entertaining Virgil Flower mysteries are more fun than a greased-pig-wrestling contest. The plots outlandish; the characters peculiar; and the best bits of dialogue are largely unprintable.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Another winner."--Washington Post
“Holy smoke, Holy Ghost is a hot one! . . . The dialogue is sometimes biting and always witty, and the entire book is at once wicked and sublime.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Wickedly enjoyable . . . Sandford’s trademark sly humor shines throughout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Deep Freeze
“Along the way to the satisfying ending, Virgil displays the rough humor and rough justice that make him such an appealing character.”— Publishers Weekly
“The ride, as always in a Sandford novel, surprises and delights....Add a gripping storyline, a generous helping of exquisitely conceived characters and laugh-out-loud humor that produce explosive guffaws, not muted chuckles, and you’re in for the usual late-night, don’t-even-think-of-stopping treat when Flowers hits town.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Wardell Holland, the mayor of Wheatfield, Minnesota, was sitting in the doublewide he rented from his mother, a Daisy match-grade pellet rifle in his hands, shooting flies. His mother suspected he let the flies in on purpose, so he could shoot at them. He denied it, but he was lying.
He was tracking a bull-sized bluebottle when the doorbell croaked. Like most other things in the place, there was something not quite right with the doorbell, but not quite wrong enough to fix. In this case, the doorbell probably indicated that the beer had arrived. The kid had taken his own sweet time about it; school had been out for an hour.
“Come in,” he shouted.
The fly tracked out of the bedroom and lazily circled through the living room and toward the kitchen. He picked it up over the sights and the kid outside yelled, “Don’t go shooting—”
POP! A clear miss. The fly juked as the pellet whipped past, then circled around the sink and out of sight. The pellet ricocheted once and stuck in the fiberboard closet door by the entrance.
“Hey! Hey! You crazy fuckin’ pillhead, you’re gonna put my eye out.”
Holland shouted, “He’s gone, you can come in.”
John Jacob Skinner edged through the door, keeping an eye on Holland, who was sprawled on the couch, his prosthetic foot propped up on the arm, the rifle lying across his stomach. Skinner, who was seventeen, said, “Goddamnit, Wardell...”
“I won’t shoot, even if I see him... though he is a trophy-sized beast.”
Skinner eased into the room, carrying a six-pack of Coors Light. “You want one now or you want it in the refrigerator? They’re cold.”
“Now, of course. I shoot better with a little alcohol in me.”
“Right.” Skinner pulled loose two cans, tossed one to Holland, put four in the refrigerator, popped the top on the last one, and took a drink.
Skinner resembled his name: he was six-foot-three, skinny, with long red hair that never seemed overly clean, a razor-thin face, prominent Adam’s apple, and bony shoulders and hips. He had about a billion freckles.
He’d shown a minor talent for basketball in junior high, but had quit the game when he’d went to high school. He’d told friends that he needed non-school time to think, since it was impossible to think when he was actually in school.
The coach had asked, “Now what in the Sam Hill do you want to think for, Skinner? Where’s that gonna get you?”
He didn’t know the answer to that question, but he did know that being the second man on the lowest level, 1-A Border Conference would get him nowhere at all. He’d thought at least that far.
“One of these days,” Skinner said to Holland, “You’re gonna catch a ricochet in the dick. Then what? Army gonna give you a wooden cock?”
“Shut up,” Holland said.
Holland had been elected mayor as a gag played by the voters of Wheatfield on the town’s stuffed shirts. What made it even funnier was that after an unsuccessful first term, Holland was re-elected in a landslide. He’d run for office on a variety of slogans his minions had spray-painted on walls around town: “No more bullshit: we’re fucked,” “Beer Sales on Sunday,” “I’ll do what I can.”
All of which outshone his opponent’s “A Bright Future for Wheatfield,” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
This, in a town whose population had fallen from 829 in 2000 to 721 in the last census and now probably hovered around 650, leaving behind twenty or thirty empty houses and a bunch of empty apartments over the downtown stores. Half the stores were themselves shuttered and some had been simply abandoned by their owners, eventually and pointlessly taken by the county for lack of property tax payments.
This, in a town where, fifteen years earlier, the city council had purchased from the then-mayor, in a corrupt deal, a forty-acre tract on the edge of town. The town had run water and an electric cable out to it and advertised it on a lonely I-90 billboard as the Wheatfield Industrial Park. In fifteen years, it had not attracted a single business, and, in the estimation of voters, never would.
Holland, a former first lieutenant in the Army, had lost a foot in Afghanistan and lived on a military disability pension, which, in Wheatfield, was good enough. He’d refused the thirty-dollar-per-meeting mayor’s salary and had rented out the industrial park to a local corn farmer, so the forty acres was finally producing a bit of money. Sixty-eight hundred dollars a year, to be exact.
When he was feeling industrious, Holland would limp around town with a weed-whacker, trimming weeds and brush from around stop signs, fire hydrants, and drainage ditches. Once a month or so, he’d run the town’s riding lawn mower around the local park and Little League ball field, which was more than any other mayor had done. None of that took too long in a metropolis of 650 souls.
Skinner asked Holland, “Remember how you said you were gonna do what you can, for the town? When you were elected?”
“I was deeply sincere,” Holland said, insincerely.
Skinner dragged a chair around from the breakfast bar, straddled it backwards, facing Holland on the couch, and said, “I was walking by the Catholic Church last night.”
“Good,” Holland said. And, “Why don’t you open the door and let a couple more flies in? I’m running out of game and that big bastard’s hiding.”
“There was some Mexicans coming out of the church,” Skinner continued. “They’re meeting there on Wednesday nights. Praying and shit.”
“I knew that,” Holland said. He was distracted, as the bull bluebottle hove into view. He lifted the rifle.
Skinner said, “Honest to God, Holland, you shoot that rifle, I’m gonna take this fuckin’ can of beer and I’m gonna sink it in your fuckin’ forehead. Put that rifle down and listen to what I’m saying.”
The fly reversed itself and disappeared and Holland took the rifle down. “You were walking by the Catholic Church...”
The church had been all but abandoned by the archdiocese. Not enough Catholics to keep it going and not enough local hippies to buy it as a dance studio or enough prostitutes to buy it as a massage parlor. There was a packing plant forty miles down the Interstate, though, with lots of Mexican workers, and the housing was cheap enough in Wheatfield that it had lately attracted two dozen of the larger Mexican families.
The diocese had given a key to the church to a representative of the Wheatfield Mexicans, who were doing a bit to maintain it and to pay the liability insurance. Every once in a while, a Spanish-speaking priest from Minneapolis would drop by to say a Mass.
Skinner: “I got to thinking...”
“Man, that always makes me nervous,” Holland said. “Know what I’m saying?”
“What I thought of was, how to make Wheatfield the busiest town on the prairie. Big money for everybody. For a long time. We could get a cut ourselves, if we could buy out Henry Morganstat. Could we get a mortgage, you think?”
Holland sighed. “I got no idea how a seventeen-year-old high school kid could be so full of shit as you are. A hundred and sixty pounds of shit in a twelve-pound bag. So tell me, then finish your beer, and go away, and leave me with my fly.”
Skinner told him.
Holland had nothing to say for a long time. He stared across the space between them and finally said, “Jesus Christ, that could work, J.J. You say it’d cost six hundred dollars? I mean, I got six hundred dollars. I’d have to look some stuff up on the Internet. And that thing about buying out Henry... I think he’d take twenty grand for the place. I got the GI Bill and my mother would probably loan me enough for the rest, at nine percent, the miserable bitch, but... Jesus Christ.”
“I’d want a piece of the action,” Skinner said.
“Well, of course. You came up with the idea, I’ll come up with the money. We go fifty-fifty,” Holland said.
“That’s good. I’d hate to get everything in place and then have to blackmail you for a share,” Skinner said.
Holland’s eyes narrowed: “We gotta talk to some guys...”
Skinner said, “We can’t talk to any guys. This is you and me... If we...” He realized that Holland’s eyes were tracking past him and he turned and saw the fly headed back to the kitchen. “Goddamnit, Holland, look at me. We’re talking about saving the town, here. Making big money, too.”
Holland said, “We’ll have to tell at least one more person. We need a woman.”
Skinner scratched his nose. “Yeah. I thought of that. There’s Jennie. She can keep her mouth shut.”
“You still nailin’ her?”
“From time to time, yeah, when Larry isn’t around.”
“You know, you’re gonna knock her up sooner or later,” Holland said. “She’s ripe as a plum and I’d guess her baby clock is about to go off. What is she, anyway, thirty-three? When that red-haired bun pops outa the oven, you best be on a Greyhound to Hawaii.”
“Yeah, yeah, maybe, but she’d do this, and she’d be perfect. Who else would we get, anyway?”
“I dunno, I...”
The fly tracked around the room again and Holland said, “Shhhh... he’s gonna land.” He lifted the rifle and pointed it over Skinner’s shoulder toward the sink. Skinner lurched forward onto the floor to get down and out of the way, as Holland pulled the trigger.
The fly disappeared in a puff of fly guts and broken wings.
Holland looked down at Skinner and whispered, “Got him. It’s like... it’s like some kinda sign.”
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
POV: Third person. I’m grateful for that decision, as I believe the more neutral stand that third person permits is a better fit for the wry sarcasm that I detect in the narrative.
BLUSH FACTOR: There are plenty of profanities, including several “f” words. There also is slang regarding issues of activities normally occurring in the bedroom, if you get my drift. Probably, you won’t be reading this aloud to your prayer group.
ADVENTURE: Yes, to wild hunting grounds of rural Minnesota with its wild fly population waiting for the great white hunter. You’ll understand this factious reference better while perusing chapter one.
THE WRITING: A tongue-in-cheek look at rural life for a war vet opens this suspenseful tale of murder. The opening drips with sarcasm and is almost over-the-top. Had I not known some folks in southeast Ohio who reminded me of this mayor, but who WERE over-the-top, I might have burst out laughing. Instead, I just got this wry-looking smile…
I hasten to add, though, that at some points in the book I did break into an audible chuckle. There are times when I believe you will, as well.
GRAMMAR, EDiTING & SUCH: This is a first-rate production by a premier writer.
CHARACTER: Anybody not familiar with Sandford’s Virgil Flowers will probably find him to feel familiar, for he is the natural-born big brother I’d have sought out when I was younger. After all, any man who loves his dog as much as Flowers loves Honus has to be a hero.
SOUL: Since I live in rural North Dakota myself, and have come to know a number of folks who could well be characters in “Holy Ghost,” I
‘…decided Bilbija was right: the thing hadn’t been opened in years, and part of the problem with pushing it open was that it had been tarred shut.
On the other hand, the roof had good sight lines to the places where the shooting victims had been standing. When Virgil walked around the roof, he found the second floor was built over half the structure, with the back half dropping to a single story. If someone had a short ladder—not even a stepladder but one of the three-step stools used to reach high cupboards—he could have climbed onto the back roof, then used the stool to climb to the top. Getting down would be even faster, if it had become necessary to flee. He could have gone from roof to roof with no more than a three-foot drop.
If the shooter climbed up and down the back of the building, between the wall and the dumpster by the kitchen door, he might even do it unseen.
Virgil put it down as a possibility. The roof didn’t show any footprints, discarded DNA-laden cigarette butts, a book of matches from a sleazy nightclub, an accidentally dropped driver’s license, or any other fictional possibilities, so he went back down the hatch and pulled it shut.
“Find anything?” Bilbija asked.
“A nice view, but . . . no.”
“Didn’t think you would,” Bilbija said. “Say, you want a beer or a quick shot to keep you going? I got a nice rye.”
Virgil declined the offer and worked his way back up Main Street, this time behind the stores on the west side, and found a more complicated situation, a mix of mostly ramshackle prewar houses and small businesses, some of them in converted houses. The ProNails place had a dusty, handwritten “Out of Business” sign in a window, but Auto Heaven, Buster’s Better Quality Meats, and Trudy’s Hi-Life Consignment were still operating; nobody had heard a shot fired.
Because of the way the houses and businesses were mixed, there were multiple spaces and slots between hedges and behind fences where a rifleman could have hidden. Virgil was lining up a theoretical shot down toward the churches when a man’s voice called, “Hold it right there! I got a gun on you!”
Virgil raised his hands: “I’m a cop. Don’t shoot.”
A heavyset man in a blue T-shirt and a ragged pair of Dickies coveralls stepped out from behind a garage twenty feet away. He was maybe fifty, balding, with a wind-eroded face. He was aiming an ancient twelve-gauge double-barreled shotgun at Virgil’s stomach. “Cop, my…’
Sandford, John. Holy Ghost (A Virgil Flowers Novel) (pp. 33-35). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
The honest look at rural life is not always a pleasant sight. City folks are probably not impressed by us, but that’s tough. I loved the insight into people who feel just like my neighbors and I enjoyed the mystery too much to take any stars away due to language.
Five stars out of five.
I am striving to produce reviews that help you find books that you want, or avoid books that you wish to avoid. With your help, my improvement will help you and me improve book reviews on Amazon. Together, you and I can build a great customer review process that helps everybody. Will you join me? It is people such as you who have helped me improve over the years. I'm still learning, and I have a great deal yet to learn. With your help, I'll improve every day.
One request: Be respectful and courteous in your comments and emails to me. I will do likewise with you.
Thank you so much for indicating if this review helped you, or for your comment.
Complexly plotted, great dialog, and very real characters.
I swear to God I don't know what I'm going to do if Sandford ever retires!
Lately, in Sandfords books, the reader knows who the killer or killers are in the 1st couple chapters and it's about Davenport or That F'n Flowers trying to track them down. I don't mind the Cat-and-Mouse books so much but I first fell for Sandford's books trying to figure out who the perpetrator(s) were. I'm more than halfway into this one and I'm still guessing. Without spoiling anything, I will say there were some questions that Virgil was trying to answer that I figured out first and that is always a treat. Call 'em mysteries within a mystery.
If you've loved any of Sandford's previous works, this one won't disappoint. Frankie is a treat, Jenkins and Shrake still crack me up, and Bea Sawyer is as by the book and helpful as always. If you've never read any of the others, you don't know anything about the people I just mentioned and should check out earlier books in the series.
I can say without finishing the book I already feel I got my money's worth. Can't wait for the next Prey novel.
Read this one and you will not be disappointed.
Top international reviews
This works quite successfully for a good three quarters of the story, its entertaining to listen and meet the towns folk, their dialogue amd gossipy natures seem pretty authentic and Virgil is so different to Lucas Davenport in his personality and proceedural duties that he remains agreeable and entertaining company throughout the story once again. Plus it was good to see his usual colleagues involved to pepper those particularly sparky and sarcastic conversations you'd expect, though Lucas isn't present in this now he's gone elsewhere .
However, when the "reveal" finally comes its fairly weak one and below par for a Sandford novel, and I automatically questioned it. I just felt it more than likely that in reality it would probably have been sorted out differently way before it got to the stage that it did.
But then its no less unlikely than some of Mr Sandfords stories, and ,given the vast majority of them, particularly the Davenport novels, are the very best out there and I've read them all, then obviously I'd still recommend this, though perhaps not as highly as some.
This one however i found boring and had to really work up to picking it up to read.
The humour was really good, the suspects, all 600 or so, all had good alibis and i was wrong more than right.
It just seemed all a bit pointless.
Sorry John, but I hope Virgils next outing is a tad more exciting.
Although a handful of oddballs meet their unseemly ends in every Flowers novel, there seems to be no shortage of them to front up for the next crazy ride. Count me in!
the characters just get better and better and they feel like people I know and see . Such a great wrtier.