cover image Bloody Genius

Bloody Genius

John Sandford. Putnam, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-53661-1

Bestseller Sandford’s compulsively readable 12th novel featuring astute Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers (after 2018’s Holy Ghost) will please fair play fans. Thanks to some string-pulling, Flowers gets assigned to assist the Minneapolis PD with the investigation of a homicide at the University of Minnesota that has stalled two weeks after the crime. Someone bashed in the head of Barthelemy Quill with a laptop in the university library in the middle of the night; Quill, a professor who worked in a lab specializing in spinal injuries, was in the midst of a romantic rendezvous at the time. The dead man’s sister, a major political campaign donor, prevailed on the governor to add resources to the case, a decision not welcomed by the veteran police detective in charge. Flowers finds no shortage of suspects, including a map thief and an academic rival whose theories were denounced as bunk by Quill during one of her lectures. Readers who like a bit of unrepentant wiseass in their sleuths will find Flowers fits the bill. Sandford makes blending humor and mystery look easy. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Oct.)