detective story

Lucas Davenport‘s talented investigative crew at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (“others investigate bad guys, we apprehend them”) is dispersed throughout the country when all hell breaks loose with the discovery of a long-forgotten cistern containing the bones of more than a dozen murder victims. As the Bureau’s preeminent investigator, Lucas is drawn into the case despite his involvement in getting to the bottom of the high-profile disappearance of a Ponzi scheme operator and millions of dollars stolen from his clients.

While Lucas’ crew — Virgil Flowers, Del Capslock, Shrake and Jenkins — remain engaged in Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin, each of them pursuing a major case, Lucas edges his way into teaming up with a young Deputy Sheriff in the county where the cistern is located. The deputy, an intelligent young woman who is also blonde (check) and extremely attractive (check), proves to be resourceful and shrewd. Lucas encourages her to apply to the Bureau, so no reader of the “Prey” series should be surprised to see her turn up in a future novel. (For the record, her name is Catrin Mattlock. Remember: you read it here first.)

Field of Prey (Prey #24) by John Sandford @@@@ (4 out of 5)

The central plot of Field of Prey is essentially a standard police procedural that traces the ups and downs, the sideways moves and ceaseless delays of an investigation into identifying a suspect who soon emerges clearly as a serial rapist-murderer. However, Sandford’s agile plotting and character development allow him to fold in several intriguing sub-plots that provide both distraction and depth to the story. This novel represents the work of a master craftsman at the peak of his talent.

Field of Prey is John Sandford‘s fortieth book and number 24 in his signature “Prey” series. His first book (nonfiction) was published in 1988, so he’s cranking out novels at the rate of nearly one-and-a-half per year.

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