John Sanford – Bad Blood (2010)

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Bad Blood is the fourth novel in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sanford and it deals with the scenario of child prostitution. A similar concept has been used in the Winter Prey novel where Lucas Davenport almost gets killed towards the end by the hand of a child.

Similar to Winter Prey the children, teenagers or even younger are brought up with a notion that having sex with the family members and within their group is alright. The characters follow a cult religion called the World of the Spirit. They misuse the Bible by taking some incidents in it and molding it to a religion. Basically the incidents like Judah and Tamar, Lot and his daughters.

All these come out when a boy, Bob Tripp, takes it upon himself to avenge the death of his best friend. He kills one of the perpetrators, Jacob Flood, and makes it look like an accident. However the truth is found and no one in the town believes that such a sweet boy could do that. The next day Tripp requests to speak to a local newspaper reporter, he is found dead hanging in his cell.

With no leads the chief of the Warren County Lee Coakley goes to Virgil Flowers and request his help in the investigation.

Virgil, on listening to the whole story of the killings suggests investigating the overnight deputy, Jimmy Crocker. When they arrive at his house they find him dead, rather murdered. This leads to him investigating anyone who might have known Flood, Tripp and Crocker. His investigation leads to a lot of dead ends, however he gets to know the locals were following a religion and the Flood girls looked more mature than their age, flirting with him.

He gets to know that there was a murder two years earlier, of a girl Kelly Baker. He starts investigating in that angle and as he thinks there are no actual proof turning up any sooner, he gets to know that a person has ran away from that cult religion.

How Virgil finds out about the religion and their child or woman being sexually abused, how he finds out the runaway person, how he finds evidence to prove the child prostitution, how he breaks the cult and the actual murderers are brought to justice forms the plot-line.

The novel is a sure thriller, a sad tale of sexual abuse of the women and girls right from their childhood. The children are conditioned to accept the sexual advances and acts by their fathers, grandfathers and learn to go with it or face consequences. Their pathetic condition is well explained in the novel and Sanford touches the reader’s heart. Myself for one thought that all the cult members should be found and broke open from inside for all the trauma they caused the kids of both sex. Overall a superb novel and a worthy read.

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