Bad to the Bone Books
January 07, 2011
Virgil Flowers is bad (he's called worse in John Sandford's popular Minnesota crime Virgil Flowers series). Walt Fleming catches bad guys and bad animals as sheriff in the Sun Valley, Idaho area — part of the fast-paced adventurous Ridley Pearson series. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder discovers body after body under the snow in the Amish community of Painter's Mill, Ohio: there's a lot of bad business going on in author Linda Castillos's Sworn To Silence and Pray for Silence. These books are so bad, and that's a good thing.
I like a good (bad) thriller, and these books are some of my favorites. Each of these series has a new book out right now that has kept me up nights. I call it my dark and dangerous period. When the days get shorter and the weather colder, I like to read a well-written suspense story buried under my down comforter. I can almost hear the killer's footsteps crunching on the snow, and my night light is the flickering flashlight searching in the dark!
Sandford's latest, Bad Blood, was the best Flowers novel I've read so far — a cult of bad farmers, doing bad things, now that's spooky. Flowers is a cocky crime bureau investigator, thrice-divorced in old rock t-shirts who always has something to say. I'm starting with the first Flowers book, Dark of the Moon, and catching up to the latest. Always good dialog. I love the wilderness setting of Ridley Pearson's Walt Fleming stories, and just finished the new one: In Harm's Way. My mom turned me on to Killer View and Killer Weekend. But, I think Killer Summer was the most suspenseful: a downed plane, a cabin in the woods, kids on the run. And for really dark, slash 'em up bad, don't forget the lady cops and the lady writers. Really, Linda Castillo's Amish mysteries are the best of the whole bunch. I stumbled on to Sworn to Silence — cool cover, brooding sky, red barn, snow-covered field — and liked the writing and the characters right away. Chief of Police, Kate Burkholder, was the victim of a horrible crime as an Amish girl, left the community and has come back to stop a new killer on the loose. She's working with criminal investigator John Tomasetti, a handsome "train wreck" who gets called in to help with both personal and professional problems. Their relationship heats up in the latest book, Pray for Silence.
I've recommended these books to both men and women of all ages and all walks of life. We like to talk about the stories and I'm usually asked to keep the books coming. But cover your eyes; these books aren't for the faint-hearted. So, if you're really feeling bad...