Virgil Flowers Books In Reading Order (14 Amazing Reads)

Are you a fan of the Virgil Flowers series and don’t know where to start? Maybe you have read some of the books before, but want to get started on reading them all in order.

Virgil Flowers Books In Reading Order (14 Amazing Reads)

Virgil Flowers is a fictional character from the popular book series by best-selling author John Sandford.

The stories are mostly set in Minnesota and involve detective Virgil Flowers investigating all sorts of crimes from murders to tornadoes.

If you are looking for a great thriller series featuring Virgil Flowers, then this article has everything you need to know about the books and exactly which order you should read them in.

Here is a list of each Virgil Flowers book, broken down by reading order so that you can figure out exactly how to follow along with the series!

About Virgil Flowers

Virgil Flowers is a book series written by John Sanford, a novelist famous for his expertise in crime stories. Virgil Flowers is the main character of the series that began in 2007, he is a man in his thirties who has been divorced three times.

After being in the military police and army, Lucas Davenport brings Virgil to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Virgil Flowers is an interesting character who has been through many hardships throughout his life.

He has seen some of the worst that humanity can offer, and yet still manages to remain optimistic about life. His experiences have made him an excellent investigator, as he can think outside the box when it comes to solving cases.

Virgil Flowers Books In Order

Dark Of The Moon

Dark of the Moon (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

Dark of the Moon is the very first novel in the series. It follows Virgil Flowers as he starts his journey to a small town and joins the BCA under the supervision of Davenport.

The book starts out with a house, owned by a man named Bill Judd, exploding into flames.

The mystery quickly deepens as it becomes clear that someone wanted Judd dead and was willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it happened.

As Flowers investigates further, he finds himself in danger, as well as uncovering secrets about those around him that could put them all in danger if revealed.

With each new clue, Virgil gets closer to finding out who was behind Judd’s death and why they wanted him gone so badly.

The Dark of the Moon is an exciting start to this thrilling series that will keep readers guessing until the very end.


  • Brilliant start to an exciting series about an investigator. Written well with in-depth characters.


  • Perhaps there’s not enough insight into Virgil Flowers that readers would like in the first book of the series.

Heat Lightning

Heat Lightning (Virgil Flowers, No. 2)

Heat lightning is the next book in Sanford’s series, and it follows Flowers as he investigates mysterious murders.

In Heat Lightning, Virgil gets a phone call from Davenport about a mysterious body that has appeared at a veteran’s memorial, much like the body they had found two weeks prior.

He must use all of his skills as an investigator to uncover who is behind these killings and why they are happening. With each new clue, Flowers gets closer to solving the case but also finds himself in more danger than ever before.

It will take all of his strength and courage to make it out alive and bring justice to those responsible for these heinous crimes.


  • Full of twists and turns that will keep the readers on their toes around every corner.


  • Easy to get lost at certain points in the novel, however, it all comes together at the end.

Rough Country

Rough Country (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

Flowers is back in the third installment, Rough Country, and this time around he must put his love life on hold as he investigates a case. It all starts with a female kayak enthusiast being shot at an outdoor women’s spa.

Flowers soon discovers that everyone at this resort is found to be connected somewhat, and thus everyone is being considered a possible suspect until ruled out.

The case quickly becomes more complicated than Flowers originally thought as he uncovers secrets and lies that have been hidden away for years.

He must use his skills of deduction and intuition to get to the bottom of this mystery before it’s too late.


  • Great connections in the book that come together by the end of the installment.


  • Some readers have mentioned that the portrayal of one of the gay characters is incorrect and sexist.

Bad Blood

Bad Blood (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

A soybean farmer has been murdered, and it was a shock to the small town in Bad Blood. It was a tragedy that no one could have expected, and it left many people wondering why such an act would be committed.

The young man who had killed the farmer by using blunt force to his head had done this for reasons unknown, but he had made sure to call the police and report the scene as an accident, claiming he had no part in this murder.

The mystery surrounding this case only deepened when more evidence came to light, leading investigators down a path of secrets and lies that threatened to tear apart this small town forever.


  • Enticing storyline once again by a loved character, Virgil Flowers.


  • Some readers have said that the pacing of this book is off, and the portrayal of sexual abuse against the women and children in the novel has been described as ‘ugly’.

Shock Wave

Shock Wave (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

Shock Wave is the fifth installment of the Virgil Flowers series. The small town of Minnesota is in shock after a bombing series occurs at a superstore chain called PyeMart.

This chain was intended to be a fantastic addition to the town, but the small business owners and environmentalists felt differently. With tensions high, Detective Flowers is tasked with finding out who is behind this.

The investigation leads Flowers down a winding path of suspects with motives ranging from environmentalism to financial gain.

Will he be able to find out who was responsible for these heinous acts? Find out in Shock Wave, the 5th book in this thrilling series!


  • An enticing plot line that is unusual to the usual themes for investigative stories.


  • Sensitive topics around violence on some levels, which some readers may not like.

Mad River

Mad River (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

This is the sixth book in the series. Mad River follows three teenagers on a killing spree, whose first victim is a highway patrolman.

As they continue to randomly kill people Bonnie and Clyde style throughout rural Minnesota, with each new victim, the stakes get higher and higher as Flowers races against time to stop them.

He must use all of his skills and knowledge to try and catch these teenagers before they can do any more damage.


  • Great links to a classic concept for thrillers in fiction, Bonnie and Clyde.


  • Rather violent themes for this one, however, most of the series contains violent and sensitive topics.

Storm Front

Storm Front (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

In Storm Front, Virgil, a renowned international detective, has been recruited by Mossad to help catch an artifacts thief. The thief is believed to have stolen a valuable artifact that could potentially change religious history.

Virgil is determined to find the thief and recover the artifact before it falls into the wrong hands. As Virgil delves deeper into his investigation, he discovers that the artifact is more powerful than anyone had anticipated.

He soon finds himself in a race against time to locate the thief and secure the artifact before it can be used for nefarious purposes.


  • The storyline once again keeps readers on their toes until the very end of the novel.



Deadline: A Virgil Flowers Novel

John Sandford’s thriller, “Deadline,” is a gripping tale of suspense and intrigue. Winner of the Thriller Award for Best Hard Cover Novel in 2011, this novel follows Virgil Flowers as he investigates a suspicious death in rural Minnesota.

At the end of a school board meeting, a shocking proposal to determine whether it should be authorized to kill a local reporter shakes up this novel.

As Virgil delves deeper into the case, he discovers crimes of such monstrosity that even he has difficulty comprehending them.


  • Unorthodox themes, however, enticing nonetheless.


  • Some readers have described the book as dull at certain points.

Escape Clause

Escape Clause (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

In Escape Clause, the first storm in Virgil Flowers’ case comes from the Minnesota Zoo, where two large and rare Amur tigers have gone missing.

Authorities are concerned that the tigers may have been stolen to be sold for their body parts, and they’ve called on Virgil to help track them down.

With his expertise in criminal investigation, Virgil is determined to find out who is behind this crime and bring them to justice.

Virgil soon discovers that there is more going on than meets the eye. He finds himself up against a powerful and dangerous criminal organization with connections all over the world.


  • Interesting storyline with complex mysteries throughout.


  • For some, the subject of harming tigers or animals isn’t a popular one.

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

John Sandford’s Deep Freeze is a best-selling novel that follows the story of Virgil Flowers, an investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The novel begins with Virgil being called to investigate in Trippton, Minnesota. As he delves deeper into the case, he discovers a sinister plot involving a woman who has been frozen in an ice block,

With its suspenseful plot and vivid descriptions of rural Minnesota, Deep Freeze is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats as they follow Virgil’s investigation.


  • Well written novel which continues the legacy of the main character Virgil in a way readers enjoy.


  • Perhaps not as engaging as some of the other novels thus far.

Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

In Holy Ghost, Wheatfield, Minnesota is a small town of only seven hundred. It is a place where nothing ever happens. That is until the mayor and his buddy conjure up a plan to put Wheatfield on the map.

John Sandford’s novel Holy Ghost follows Virgil Flowers as he investigates this strange phenomenon in Wheatfield. He soon discovers that there are more secrets lurking beneath the surface than anyone could have imagined.

As Virgil delves deeper into this mystery, he finds himself embroiled in a web of deceit and corruption that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of Wheatfield’s society.


  • Captivating storyline that has in-depth character dynamics. It’s one you’ll struggle to put down.


  • The plot may take longer than usual to develop than the others in the series.

Bloody Genius

Bloody Genius (A Virgil Flowers Novel)

John Sandford’s latest thriller, Bloody Genius, follows Virgil Flowers as he investigates a college culture war that has turned deadly.

At the local state university, two departments have been locked in a heated battle over PC culture, each taking their views to extremes.

When one of the department stars winds up dead, Virgil is brought in to investigate and soon discovers that the people involved are “functionally crazy” on this particular issue.

It will be up to Virgil to sort out who among these passionate zealots is the murderer.


  • A thrilling installment to the series that is loved by readers all around.


  • The plot can drag on a bit by the end, however, the storyline is nonetheless enticing.

Ocean Prey

Ocean Prey (A Prey Novel)

John Sandford’s Ocean Prey is a thrilling addition to the Prey series, and Richard Ferrone’s gritty narration brings the story to life. US Marshal Lucas Davenport is sent to Florida to help with an FBI investigation of a coast guard murder.

The action-packed scenes keep listeners on edge while providing insights into the characters. Ferrone’s performance captures the intensity of the story and keeps listeners engaged throughout.


  • A unique storyline like no other, and as usual, Virgil is on the case! Readers won’t be disappointed with this continuation of the series.


  • Some readers aren’t the biggest fans of Davenport in the novels.

Righteous Prey

Righteous Prey (A Prey Novel)

In Righteous Prey, Lucas Davenport is a detective with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and he’s been called in to investigate a group calling themselves “The Five.”

The group targets the worst people in society—murderers, rapists, and thieves—and they use their resources to demand justice for those they’ve killed.

The novel promises to be an exciting story full of suspense as Lucas and Virgil try to uncover The Five’s true intentions.


  • An enticing installment once again that builds up throughout the book to an exciting ending.


  • Some readers have said that they were disappointed with the lack of knowledge from the author on this storyline.

Final Thoughts

The Virgil Flowers series is a thrilling and suspenseful set of novels that will keep readers guessing until the very last page. With its complex characters and unexpected plot twists, this series is sure to keep readers entertained for hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Readers Think Of Virgil Flowers Bad Blood?

Overall, readers seem to be very satisfied with Bad Blood. They appreciate the attention to detail in the plot and characterization, as well as the suspenseful pacing of the story.

What Should Readers Know About The Author Of Virgil Flowers?

John Sandford is the pseudonym of John Camp, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist. He is best known for his Prey series, which consists of twenty-six novels and has been adapted into a television show.

What Do Readers Say About Dark Of The Moon?

Readers have praised Dark of the Moon for its suspenseful plot and engaging characters. Many readers have commented on how well Sandford has crafted Virgil’s character, noting that he is both likable and relatable.

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Noah Burton