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Holy Ghost

(Virgil Flowers #11)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  8,001 ratings  ·  798 reviews
Pinion, Minnesota: a metropolis of all of seven hundred souls for which the word "moribund" might have been invented. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would—until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can") and a buddy come up with a scheme to put Pinion on the map. They'd heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the ...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Diane S ☔
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh Virgil, you did it again. Pulled me into one of your cases, and what a strange one it was. Sightings of the Virgin Mary saves a dying town, new businesses, townspeople making money, but then the killing started, and who did they call. Yep, you. I know how frustrated you were when nothing was adding up, couldn't figure out the who or the why. Strange days indeed, full of weird townspeople, guns, bows send arrows, even a small group of supposed Nazis. Then again isn't this part of the charm of ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.

This book asks the ultimate question: How long can a man live eating only frozen chicken pot pies?

Wheatfield, Minnesota, is a dying small town until several apparitions of the Virgin Mary in an old church are captured on video by multiple people and posted on social media. Now Wheatfield is booming thanks to an influx of visitors hoping to see the vision for themselves. However, when a sniper wounds two people outside the church at differe
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series is one of the few that successfully combine humor with suspense. And what’s wild is how a book with so little true action was able to keep me so engaged. It’s like putting a puzzle together. Most of the time is spent with Virgil interviewing dozens of townspeople.
The premise is that a small town in Minnesota, in the verge of dying, has a Marian apparition at the Catholic Church. Pilgrims start to arrive, the town starts to revive and then folks start gettin
Andrew Smith
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thing about Virgil Flowers is that he’s good company. He gets on with people, shares more information than just about any other cop would and he listens. He’s a friendly guy and as an agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension he often solves his cases by co-opting a gaggle of locals and by investing in their combined brain trust. And the biggest decision he had to make this time before setting off to find a sniper in a nearby rural community? Whether to take his boat with him o ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another hit from Mr. Sanford's creative mind. 9 of 10 stars
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh John Sandford, you’ve done it again!

I’ve thought, for the last couple of Virgil Flowers books anyway, that I wasn’t liking Virgil settling down with Frankie. This book turned my thinking around 180°. Frankie has had a profound effect on Virgil’s outlook and happiness, and I love Virgil even more now.

Virgil always gets weird cases, but they are always interesting. This one involves the murders of religious visitors who want to see the miraculous appearance of Mary in one of the local churches.
Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
This was my very first John Sandford novel, so my first Virgil Flowers. I always worry about coming into a series so far in, but from the review's I had read it didn't seem to matter. But I think it kinda did...

Seasoned detective Virgil Flowers is sent to a small town to investigate some sniper shootings. Was the killer a local? Or one of the many visitors who have recently flocked to the town after apparitions of the Virgin Mary had appeared in a church? And then more bodies start showing up, a
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy Ghost is the eleventh book in the Virgil Flowers series by prize-winning American journalist and author, John Sandford. It’s a late May Sunday morning when Minnesota BCA agent Virgil Flowers leaves Frankie Noble coping with morning sickness to investigate two shootings in the nearby town of Wheatfield (there may be some confusion as the blurb refers to the town as Pinion). What was a dying town that has recently seen a change in fortunes with sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Ma ...more
The 11th outing in the Virgil Flowers series and filled with John Sandford's usual wit and humor. And characters. Wheatfield, Minnesota has been hit hard by the bad economy. The population is declining. The town is dying. The mayor, Wardell Holland (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can"), spends his time sitting in his trailer shooting at flies with a BB gun. Then the mayor and his seventeen-year-old buddy, Skinner, come up with a brilliant idea. Skinner heard of a place where a floating image o ...more
Janet Newport
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group / Putnam for this arc.

If you want a good Virgil F*** Flowers!

I thought Holy Ghost was a great read. Not to be confused with great literature, but a fun, fun good time.

This was a typical Virgil story. Poking around in a wide spot in the woods (or corn fields) a very small town just chock full of all sorts of interesting folks leading rural lives. most pretty typical of small town (read dying) business owners, just trying to keep the heads above w
Darcia Helle
If you've yet to read any of the Virgil Flowers novels, no worries about starting with this book. This is the type of series you can jump into at any time, without concern about missing backstory or not understanding characters' relationships.

You won't find nonstop action or edge-of-your-seat suspense in this story. Virgil simply doesn't work that way. The focus with Virgil Flowers is largely on the characters and the setting. In this story, Virgil is in a small town full of fun, wacky, unique,
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Virgil Flowers #11. Leaving his boat and trailer behind, Virgil heads off to a small town with a sniper on the loose, who has shot two people. The prairie town has had a resurgence since a couple of appearances of the Virgin Mary recorded by cellphone cameras. After Virgil arrives and gets a much needed haircut, someone is finally killed by the sniper. Virgil starts his socializing method of investigation, sharing theories. When that fails, he puts himself in the crosshairs of the sniper, but on ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: john-sandford, crime
In a small town in Minnesota, the Virgin Mary has taken to appearing in a small church. Is it a hoax? That's really none of Virgil Flowers' business, but the maniac who has taken to shooting people outside the church is!

The 11th Virgil Flowers novel is every bit as delightful as the previous ones. Virgil has grown a bit, settling in to the idea of being a father.

The book just zooms an bounces along. As usual the supporting characters are all well rounded and interesting. I am hoping for a couple
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Virgil Flowers is back! And while he may be a bit more mellow than before he hooked up with girlfriend Frankie Nobles - who's pregnant with their baby, by the way - he hasn't lost much of his irreverent edge. Flashes of humor are here as always, this time nailing politics, frozen potpies and even visions of the Virgin Mary. Also sprinkled liberally throughout is the "f" word (fans of Virgil won't be shocked at all, but I mention it as a caution to those who might be).

In my eyes, though, Virgil
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Each year, I eagerly await the release of John Sandford's latest Virgil Flowers novels. The series has become one of the few that I routinely keep track of. There's just something about Flower's off-kilter approach to crime fighting that makes the books must-read events. When I was offered an advanced copy of the eleventh and latest novel in the series, I eagerly accepted. It sat on my "to be read" list a bit longer than I anticipated, but the pages flew by as soon as I began reading it.

Marty Fried
Thanks to NetGalley for a preview copy of this book. I am a big fan of this series, and appreciate not needing to wait for a copy, which I surely would get when available.

What I love most about the Virgil Flowers series are the characters, especially Virgil himself., a lawman from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The humor in their banter makes the actual plot less important; it's almost just there to provide a vehicle for the character's interactions. But in this one, the plot see
Jeannine Stewart
Typical Virgil Flowers/John Sandford novel...……...well developed plot with lots of twists and red herrings, great characters and entertaining dialogue, action, suspense, humor, etc. Virgil Flowers will pick you up and take you for a ride. Unfortunately I finished the novel and now have nothing to replace it. Bummer!
Jonathan Janz
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
John Sandford has become one of my favorite writers. I could attribute this to many factors--his craftsmanship, his eye for detail, his sense of humor--but what I love most about his books is what matters most to me in fiction:

The characters.

Whether it's a book or a movie or a tv show, I need great characters. And Virgil Flowers is about three steps beyond great.

I've read four books in the PREY series and enjoyed them all. Lucas Davenport, the protagonist of that series, is a great character.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a reader who's followed all of John Sandford's fiction series, I feel like I've gone home for a family reunion when I pick up one of the Virgil Flowers, Lucas Davenport or Luellen-Kidd books. Nobody depicts rural life -- where nothing ever happens, yet something is happening all the time -- and rural people better than John Sandford.

This was a particularly fun installment. Virgil is sent to a tiny farming village that is barely holding on to practice his unconventional brand of investigation.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
If you like this type of book ( sort of a palate cleanser), and Virgil Flowers in particular, then you will prob enjoy this entry. Diane S wrote a very good review of this title for you to read.

PS For me- Eric Conger has become Virgil Flowers. Hope they never change narrators.
Carol Jean
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A typical comfortable read by Sandford. POT PIE!
Rex Fuller
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Almost stopped reading this 40% through. Interminable speculation and little real movement on who was sniping people in a little town where the Blessed Virgin had made an "apparition." Eventually, Virgil calls forth his deductive powers and movement begins to run at a pretty satisfying clip. If you like Virgil, this will fulfill your wishes at long last.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sandford hits it out of the park again with his latest Virgil Flowers novel. I have loved Sanford's books from the time I picked up Rules of Prey and they just get better as they go along. The only problem with being up to date on the Lucas Davenport and the Virgil Flowers series is having wait 6 months for a new Sandford novel. Keep 'em coming and I will keep reading them.
Rick Molitor
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Virgil Flowers stories are always great. Virgil as usual works his magic to solve the mystery. Great character with a good supporting cast. I enjoyed the story. John Sanford as usual has another winner.
Dan Hiner
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-read-books
Not a very good effort out of Sandford regarding this book. Too much pot pie, too much time spent in a small town, and subtle digs about society.
Charlie Smith
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I enjoy John Sandford's novels a lot. And I am particularly fond of Virgil Flowers. And I would have given this a three except for it moved a little slowly, seemed to have too much filler of stock conversations, and I was EXTREMELY IRRITATED that the guilty party was barely introduced until three/fourths of the way into the novel. That's no good.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-thriller
Wheatfield Minnesota is one of those rural towns dying on the vine—it now has 650 residents, down from 829. Now this tiny town has two big-city experiences. First, two residents are wounded in separate events by a sniper with a rifle while they were walking down Main Street; second, an apparition of the Virgin Mary has appeared at the Wheatfield Catholic Church; the event is filmed on an iPhone and it brings a flood of looky-loo tourists, and their business, to town.

The local sheriff needs assi
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

Wheatfield, Minnesota was a small town in decline – until that it, the Virgin Mary appeared before a crowd of Mexican American and other citizens at St. Mary’s Catholic Church; people armed with cell phones. On the second appearance, there were television cameras there. Now there are thousands of pilgrims who need to eat, sleep and so on. Now, Wheatfield is booming. And the mayor, Wardell Holland has cashed in on it – big time. He and his friend Skinner have opened a little convenience st
Paul Wilner
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great stuff. I prefer Virgil Flowers to Lucas Davenport, as protagonists go. Yet another demonstration of how/why genre fiction in many (though not all, of course) is more readable than "literary'' fiction. The paragraphs and sentences are short and punchy, the dialogue is funny and moves the story along. My only quibble is I wasn't sure about the coda: that seems to be stopping me in a lot of books these days. But it's just a quibble. The more highbrow stuff can be more emotionally enriching, o ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good to have Virgil back. He’s working a case in southern Minnesota and this one is really stumping our ace BCA agent. He calls his boss in the Cities to send a couple agents down to give him a hand. So enter Shrake and Jenkins, two recurring characters in all of Virgil’s books. With a bit of head scratching and humor the boys always solve the cases. Oddly I found myself, several times in the book, craving a chicken pot pie.
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See also John Camp

John Sandford was born John Roswell Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the Univer

Other books in the series

Virgil Flowers (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Dark of the Moon (Virgil Flowers, #1)
  • Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers, #2)
  • Rough Country (Virgil Flowers, #3)
  • Bad Blood (Virgil Flowers, #4)
  • Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers, #5)
  • Mad River (Virgil Flowers, #6)
  • Storm Front  (Virgil Flowers, #7)
  • Deadline (Virgil Flowers, #8)
  • Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers, #9)
  • Deep Freeze (Virgil Flowers, #10)
“The nun said, “I can forgive the language. I’m not sure I can forgive your making an obscene gesture at your mother.” “Ya gotta know her,” Holland said. “If you knew her, you’d give her the finger, too.” 1 likes
“You gotta try harder to be kind, man. We’re all trapped on this earth together.” 1 likes
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