Monday, June 22, 2009

“Wicked Prey”, by John Sandford (Pocket Books)


The Republican Convention is in town, and a killer’s on the hunt

In Wicked Prey, the 19th Lucas Davenport thriller from one of America’s best thriller authors fails to disappoint.

With the Republican Convention in town, Minneapolis’s police forces are stretched to breaking point. A team of professional criminals, led by Brutus Cohn, have decided to take advantage of the vast amounts of cash involved in presidential elections. They have organized an ingenious scheme to get (very) rich quick while avoiding attention from law enforcement. Unfortunately, they failed to factor Davenport into the equation, as he sniffs out the smallest leads to track them down. As things escalate, and they’re pushed into a corner, the chase becomes deadly.

Meanwhile, Lucas must also deal with troubles at home, juggling the various women in his life – Letty, his ward, is slowly starting to exert her independence, working at a local news station. To add further trouble for him, Randy Whitcomb, a paraplegic pimp, has decided that Lucas is the root of all his woes and decides he wants revenge, one way or another. The problem is, Letty’s budding journalistic tendencies are pointing her in Whitcomb’s direction…

Sandford remains the king of American thriller authors. His plots are always seamlessly constructed, his criminals ever-changing and increasingly cunning. Wicked Prey has a slower start than normal, as the author allows things to build to a gentle simmer before the action and chase begins. His prose keep the reader hooked, pushing ahead as events unfold on the pages. One of the best things about the Prey series is the attention paid to the relationships between the recurring characters – be it Lucas and his wife, Weather, or among the employees of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

To say more would be to give away too much of the plot. Needless to say, Wicked Prey is easily one of the best crime/thriller releases of the year, and is an absolute must-read for all. If you like thrillers, this will tick all the necessary boxes for you. I always finish a Sandford novel completely satisfied, while also wanting more. As the author expands another of his series (featuring Virgil Flowers, a protégé of Davenport’s), each year offers more and more opportunity to read his work. Now, if only he’d revisit the Kidd series…

Impeccably written, populated by interesting and colourful characters, this could not come more highly recommended.

For Fans Of: Lee Child, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Kyle Mills, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Jack Kerley

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