enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: John Sandford, Escape Clause

I read this book about 26-Dec-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2016. This note was last modified Tuesday, 03-Jan-2017 23:05:23 PST.

This is book 9 of the "Virgil Flowers" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


An out-of-town operator, using some local help, steals the two Amur tigers from the Minnesota Zoo and start rendering them down for traditional Chinese medicines. Well, they start on the male immediately.

I've visited the actual tigers often enough that I took this kind of personally. There is at least a little payback, the female gets to crunch the skull of the main bad guy in the story. And there seems to be enough public outcry to save her at the end, despite that (not sure they made public that the kidnappers were feeding her with the bodies they had to dispose of also).

It's being surprisingly hard to track down the names of any of the tigers the zoo has or had. The only two I've nailed down so far are ones that died, and none of them match the names in the book. Provisionally, let's say the names in the book are just made up. Besides, I don't recall the Zoo having exactly two in the relevant timeframe, and that's important to the plot.

The opening is amusing, staged as a raid to get people out of prison, and we don't find out it's to capture tigers until the end of the chapter. The place is referred to explicitly as a "prison", though, which is cheating in my book; kind of takes the shine off the achievement. There is a nice bit of "typical gun stupidity" that, by the time you know what's really going on, all makes sense (tranquilizer dart gun, not any kind of conventional firearm). Dunno if Sandford was intentionally trolling gun nuts, but if so nicely done.

It all seems kind of laid-back and non-urgent, while simultaneously I feel worse for the tigers than I often manage to for the human victims of Sandford's killers. Probably just me.

There's a nice bit where an iPhone is shiped FedEx ground to a fast-food joint in California to confuse the cops. That's an amusing idea.


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David Dyer-Bennet