Lucas Davenport took his first bow on stage in 1989 with the publication of John Sandford’s second novel, Rules of Prey. Now, 27 years and 26 books later in the Prey series, Davenport has left behind the bureaucratic hassles of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, where he led a team of crack investigators in solving a litany of challenging cases.
Independently wealthy from the sale of a software firm many years earlier and married to a successful plastic surgeon, Davenport is by no means in need of money. It would appear, though, that he needs something more to do than refurbish his cabin. That’s why he is able to take off quickly for Iowa in response to a cry for help from his old friend and protector, Elmer Henderson, the governor of Minnesota. Henderson is campaigning for President in the run-up to the Iowa Caucuses. Yes, it’s 2016, and the extremely progressive governor is running behind Michaela (“Mike”) Bowden, a former Cabinet Secretary who is, oddly, a woman and a moderate Democrat. Of course, any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental!
Extreme Prey (Lucas Davenport #26) by John Sandford @@@@ (4 out of 5)
An unusual species of extremists
It would have been all too easy for Sandford to build his plot around an extreme Right-Wing conspiracy. There’s an abundance of such nefarious doings afoot in America today. But Sandford chooses instead to describe a conspiracy to kill Secretary Bowden that comes from the Left, not the Right. In this thriller, the plot takes a bow not to Ruby Ridge but to the Weathermen of the 1960s.
Marlys Purdy “housed a rage that knew no bounds.” A refugee from the era of farm foreclosures in the 1980s, when she and her husband lost their farm, Purdy now works a small vegetable farm with her son Jesse. Jesse is a drinker and is suspicious of his mother’s crazy politics, in which she has involved her younger son, Cole. Cole, an Iraq veteran suffering from brain damage, is obsessed with guns and fantasizes about killing people. As Sandford explains, “The Purdys weren’t rich, but they did all right, not counting the possibly inherited tendency to psychosis.” Marlys and Cole’s particular brand of psychosis has come to center on Secretary Bowden, whom they are intent on murdering. In Extreme Prey, Sandford tells the tale of their attempt to do so — and of Davenport’s desperate (and inevitably successful) work to prevent it.
About the author
John Roswell Camp, aka John Sandford, has written a total of 43 novels to date in addition to a few other books. He is a former journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for a series of articles in 1985 on the Midwest farm crisis. Sandford’s fiction is characterized by a combination of grisly violence and clever, often funny dialogue, a winning combination in today’s America.
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