• Rough Country

  • A Virgil Flowers Novel
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Eric Conger
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,307 ratings)

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Rough Country  By  cover art

Rough Country

By: John Sandford
Narrated by: Eric Conger
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Publisher's Summary

Virgil's always been known for having a somewhat active, er, social life, but he's probably not going to be getting too many opportunities for that during his new case. While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, he gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort, where a woman has been shot while kayaking. The resort is for women only, a place to relax, get fit, recover from plastic surgery, commune with nature, and while it didn't start out to be a place mostly for those with Sapphic inclinations, that's pretty much what it is today.

Which makes things all the more complicated for Virgil, because as he begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented country singer.

©2009 John Sandford (P)2009 Penguin

Critic Reviews

"Rich, satisfying, and frequently hilarious.” (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly)

"Unexpected twists...Sandford excels at all the required elements of the novelist: plot, personality, and prose. The melding is masterful and produces an exquisitely paced book at once beautiful and profane, a story that fans of both crime-novel approaches can enjoy. He makes Flowers as appealing and captivating a character as always. With a confident touch, Sandford brings it all home in Rough Country.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“It’s a complicated case, but Virgil is up to the task, and, as always, he’s funny, smart, and tough when he needs to be.” (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Rough Country

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,056
  • 4 Stars
    936
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    59
  • 1 Stars
    30
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,892
  • 4 Stars
    560
  • 3 Stars
    93
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,707
  • 4 Stars
    650
  • 3 Stars
    149
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    17

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • 04-16-10

Sandford finally hits pay-dirt with Flowers

I'm a big fan of Sandford's Lucas Davenport novels but have been disappointed with his Virgil Flowers spinoff. Not any more. Rough Country is a very good story with interesting characters, humor and a storyline that relies less on implausible twists and more on reasoned deduction. I also felt like Sandford didn't pad the story with a lot of details that were not germane to the story. He treated us to 10+ hours of narrative that was just enough to tell the story. I like long listens but I don't like it when I finish an 18-hour book and feel like it could have been told in 12-hours without losing anything. This book was the right length. Good narration makes this a must-listen for Sandford fans.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Js
  • 10-16-09

New character, and a sense of fun


5.0 out of 5 stars A great new character who is still growing., October 15, 2009
By J.S. Banks (Mountain View, CA) - See all my reviews
First a word about the narrator: Eric Conger reads the novel. He does a great job. I was worried because Richard Ferrone is a the definitive interpreter of the Lucas Davenport "Prey" series. Conger is different, a little more laid back, and a perfect match for Sandford's new character, Virgil Flowers.

As for the story itself. The mystery is no great shakes, and one questionable lapse of judgement by our otherwise clever hero is a stutter in the plot. Still, as far as characterization and dialog, Sandford hasn't lost a beat. There is more to chuckle at as the author dials up the humor and lets a little of his inner Hiaasen out. A protagonist a lot less macho than Sandford's Lucas Davenport, quirky Virgil Flowers is younger than our fictional friend, Lucas, and so has a whole bunch of life ahead of him, with twists and turns we can only guess at, but that the author, John Sandford, will be happy to think up. Love this book.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary Plot Twists

The 'guy' point of view gets a little tiresome, but the plot is extraordinary yet again. This is the second Virgil Flowers novel for me and I'll get more.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Listen in Quite Awhile

This is the most completely entertaining audiobook I've listened to in quite some time. It's a well-plotted story played-out by a really likable protagonist and a great mix of supporting characters. The story has considerable humor, dry and otherwise, woven into it which actually enhances the listening experience. The reader is very good -- especially his interpretation of Virgil Flowers. This is audiobook dollars well spent.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sandford Does Not Disappoint as Flowers Blooms

Sorry, couldn't resist. When Sandford first spun off the Virgil Flowers novels, my reaction as a dedicated Davenport fan was "oh no, please don't distract your efforts from the next Davenport novel!" I listened to the first Flowers novel (Heat Lightning?), though, and really enjoyed it. This latest story is no different. As always, Sandford spins a complex plot with an unknown killer in an unusual situation in the Minnesota north country.

As is often the case in Sandford's work, there are many characters and while they give the novel a sense of reality and complexity it is somewhat difficult to keep track of them all (a special challenge for an audiobook). In my view the way many of the characters are in the spotlight for a short time and then kind of fade away quickly leads too strongly to the real villain by a simple process of elimination in the reader's mind. That said, though, I really did not figure this one out until Virgil did. And when that key clue came to light - mentioned almost in passing - there was an AHA! moment that made the whole book worthwhile. And there was a twist at the very end in one of the book's key sub-plots that really got me. Others will see this coming but for me it was a bolt from the blue that again made the book really enjoyable.

Eric Conger does a perfect job of the narration. For me his voice is now as much a part of Virgil Flowers as Richard Ferrone's voice is of Lucas Davenport. Production is flawless, well directed, and clear and easy to listen to.

If Sandford holds to his usual cadence there'll be another Davenport story to listen to later this year, and another Flowers story at the beginning of 2011. I already can't wait. Thanks Audible for bringing back one of my favorites.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I really like that !@#$% Virgil Flowers!

It had mystery and humor, It was sexy and fun.
I was a little hesitant on buying this one because
sometimes Sandford will just push out a new novel
for us only because he feel he needs to.

With this one he REALLY enjoyed writing, I could feel it.
The story held my interest from start to finish,
got me wondering about new characters,
had great character build up and I found Virgil to
be rather sexy in this one.

I like the new character introduction, It's fun reading
Sandfords novels when laced with humor. Virgil develops
more of that in this book. Of course narrater Eric Conger
didn't hurt with his sex appeal lending his voice as Virgil
was a good choice.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Virgil Flowers: A Genius Piece Of Crumbcake??

Okay, y'gotta read Rough Country to get my title up there. But you gotta read it to have a good time too. Eric Conger brings Virgil Flowers to full bloom once again and he squeezes the stitching out of every character and plot twist that John Sandford imagined in this ass kickin' adventure. If you're looking for fun wrapped inside of a nice puzzle... here it be! I'll be reading another Virgil Flowers adventure with murder, wild folks and hot women. Why? Because this one was cool.

OH... BTW... don't start with this Flowers novel. Too many flashbacks to previous stories in this series. And most of them are spoilers if and when you go back to earlier books. So... do read this, but start earlier on with the series. You'll thank me... or John Sandford.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Yo Virgil

I've read the two previous Virgil Flowers' books and was so happy to see another installment. While not as good as Heat Lightning, it's still better than the re-warmed-over latest Davenport books. I love Virgil's character and philosophy about life. He's funny and quirky (however the T-shirt shtick is enough already) and he's a joy to read. To me, the mystery is less interesting than Virgil's actions, thoughts, and love life. All the Flowers books are good and fun reads, but to really get to know Virg, read them in order.

Can't wait for the next one!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best of the Virgil Flowers series

I'm reviewing some of the John Sandford novels I listened to several years ago. Rough Country is the third novel in the 9 novel Virgil Flowers series which is a spin off of the Lucas Davenport series. The first novel in the series was released in 2007, 18 years after the start of the Davenport series. Davenport appears briefly in Virgil Flowers series novels as Flowers' boss at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (what most states call their State Bureau of investigation).

Flowers is not at all like the wealthy and urbane Lucas Davenport. He works outside the twin cities throughout the state always towing his fishing boat behind his vehicle just in case he finds the time for his second favorite activity. His attitude toward life is usually devil may care. He loves women and in most of the novels in the series he loves them and leaves them. He is also a great cop.

In this book Virgil Flowers investigates the of a woman killed by a sniper at a women only resort. He is clearly in his element. I rate this novel 5 stars and it is likely the best of the 9 novels released so far. However, all of them are at least solid 4 star detective mysteries. Eric Conger is an excellent narrator, but in my opinion he is not in the top tier.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Sandford always enjoyable

i think this is the 3rd in sandford's "Virgil Flowers" series that i've listened to. I've enjoyed them all. Not the same as the Davenport series, but i think i like them just as much. Narration was good, story was good... i don't ask for much more.

6 people found this helpful