John Sanford – Mad River (2012)

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Mad River is the sixth book in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sanford. It’s the story of how three college kids who come from abusive families, have gone bad and how they end up dead.

John Sanford lets us know the feelings of these characters so well that it’s not a wonder we feel bad for them despite a few misgivings.

These kids go to a house to steal some diamonds and end up killing a lady from the house and a random person on the road. This starts them to enjoy the killing, where the first one turned out to be an accident or is it. On the other end of the town a couple is killed and this calls the expertise of the BCA. Virgil Flowers is sent down to investigate the killings which are described to be done by the kids gone mad.

The sheriff of the county is Duke, who believes in instant judgement, and killed the culprits instead of sending them to trial. So Virgil is on a race to catch the kids before Duke does, to keep these kids alive. On his investigation he stumbles upon evidence to prove the killing of Agatha, the lady killed during the supposed robbery was staged to look like that. In fact he gets to know it was a planned murder by her husband who paid one of the kids to kill his soon to be ex-wife. To prove this guy had his wife killed, Virgil needs the statement from the kids.

In a race against time, we get to know that one of the kids is raped by another.That kid escapes after a shoot out at a bank robbery, kills a cop accidentally, surrenders to Virgil and acts innocent of all the crimes. Virgil arrives in time to save this kid from being killed by one of Duke’s deputies.

Virgil gets to know that the other kid got shot and loosing blood. The two kids continue on with the stolen money for safety and for biding time till the guy gets healed. The girl realizes that the boy will not survive if they keep running and agrees to surrender at Arcadia mall. Virgil conveys the same to Duke and races to get to her before Duke does. However while the girl reaches to cross the mad river bridge, they are ambushed and killed in a one sided shooting termed as cold blooded murder.

The novel is a worth read where we connect to each of the characters and what they have to go through to arrive at the stage they are. The killer of Agatha is tried before the jury and is acquitted. He is later found missing and the way it is done is a worth read. Overall I would rate this book a 9 out of 10 for the awesome thrilling content.

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