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Bloody genius
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Virgil Flowers will have to watch his back--and his mouth--as he investigates a college culture war turned deadly in another one of Sandford's "madly entertaining Virgil Flowers mysteries" ( New York Times Book Review ).

At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of science and medicine. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?

Then a renowned and confrontational scholar winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and as he probes the recent ideological unrest, he soon comes to realize he's dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.
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Virgil Flowers is an agent for Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Suspects and witnesses underestimate him because of his longish hair, propensity for rock-band T-shirts, and laid-back demeanor. A prominent medical doctor and researcher at the University of Minnesota is murdered in a study carrel in the university library. Barthelemy Quill was a multiple divorcée and the son of a prominent, wealthy family. His department was involved in an academic turf war, and, as Virgil comes to understand, there are few as ruthless as academic bureaucrats. But murder? The wealthy Quill family exerts its power over the governor when local law enforcement doesn't make progress on the case, prompting Virgil's involvement. Examining the crime scene, he finds evidence that there was probably a sexual encounter in the study carrel. Why there? That's the first thread Virgil tugs. Then there's the project on which Quill was working, in competition with a rival medical researcher. Or does the motive lie in something far more mundane? Flowers remains one of the great modern fictional detectives, and Sandford, as always, supplies amazing secondary characters, sharp dialogue, and plots that confound and amaze. A near-perfect crime novel.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2010 Booklist
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