John Sanford – Heat Lightning (2008)

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Heat Lightning is the second in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sanford. The story of a revenge killing which resulted from a war crime in Vietnam.

There are a string of torture murders which take place, having the killer place a lemon in the victim’s mouth. A sign that it’s the work of Vietnamese executioners. Virgil is called to the scene and he starts an investigation which leads him to a group meeting attended by the people getting killed. He gets to know that a professor, Mr Sinclair had also been in touch with them.

Virgil falls for the professor’s daughter Mai and continues to be in close contact with her throughout the investigation.

Virgil identifies two of the people who are next in the killer’s list and goes in search of them. One winds up dead in the similar fashion and the other is on the run for his life. Even though Virgil manages to catch hold of this guy and provide safety in a community of Indians, the killers manage to find him and kill him.

This makes Virgil doubt the credibility of his communications and he backtracks every step he took. He finds out a sophisticated transmitter in his vehicle and this makes him more vigil.

Who has placed that transmitter, who are the people being killed, what information they are being killed for, why they are being killed and by whom they are being killed make for the interesting plot line.

Virgil’s romance in this novel too ends on a sad note, making us wish for a better romance prospect for him. The novel is medium paced through the first half and picks up pretty decently the next half. The massacre at the International Falls part is very well detailed and quite interesting. Overall the novel is a good read and leaves us waiting for the next part in this series.

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