Suspense galore: Stolen Prey by John Sandford

There’s something a little different about this novel. In 21 previous entries in the Lucas Davenport series, John Sandford always managed to slip in wry comments here and there, exposing the dark humor that characterizes the banter among the agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Somehow, though, there was a lot more of that humor in this novel than I can recall reading before in several earlier books — despite the unusually horrific details of the case that senior agent Lucas Davenport takes on. Also, I don’t recall having gotten such a clear physical picture of Davenport than I got from this book. But maybe all this has been out there before. After all, this was the 22nd in the series, and I certainly haven’t read them all.

Stolen Prey (Prey #22) by John Sandford ★★★★☆

This tale is populated by a truly motley crew: three very young hitmen from a Mexican drug cartel who are called Uno, Dos, and Tres, because they’re all named Juan; a software millionaire and his young family; two senior agents from the Mexican Federal Police; two low-life methamphetamine addicts who (don’t gag) spend a lot of time hauling horseshit around the countryside; a disagreeable BCA agent who is ostensibly in charge of the case that Lucas will eventually solve (of course!); and — I almost forgot — the four criminals at the center of this very complex story.

The action begins when Lucas is called to the scene of a truly gruesome murder of a family of four, with no evidence and no leads to the killers or why they killed. It quickly transpires that the murder has something to do with the disappearance of $22 million from a Minneapolis bank, though whose money it is and where it went are completely unknown. I won’t say more, because the pleasure of reading this beautifully executed mystery is all in the discovery. And, like any good thriller, it’s full of twists, turns, and surprises.

Here, then, is another great effort from a master of the crime genre, John Sandford. Previously, I’ve reviewed three other books in the Lucas Davenport series: Shock Wave, Storm Prey, and Phantom Prey. (The underlining means my reviews are linked to the titles.)

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