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Invisible Prey (Lucas Davenport Mysteries)by John Sandford
Synopses & Reviews
In the richest neighborhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms tossed, only small items stolen. It is clearly the random work of someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as Davenport looks more closely, he begins to wonder whether the items are actually so small and the victims so random — if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge, and it leads him to...certainly nothing he ever expected. Which is too bad, because the killers — and, yes, there is more than one of them — are expecting him.
Brilliantly suspenseful, filled with rich characterization and exciting drama, Invisible Prey is further proof that Sandford is in a class of his own.
"Bestseller Sandford opts for a contemplative procedural rather than a high-octane nail-biter for his 17th novel to feature Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport (after 2005's Broken Prey). The brave and intelligent Davenport, one of contemporary crime fiction's more congenial sleuths, is working a politically sensitive case — state senator Burt Kline is on the edge of being arrested for having sex with a minor — when he's called in to investigate the beating death of wealthy widow Constance Bucher and her maid. Bucher lived in a mansion stuffed with antiques, though it's unclear if robbery was the motive for the murders. Several run-of-the-mill suspects are dealt with before the reader learns the identity of the two killers, who continue to murder a string of folks all variously connected to the Bucher slaying. Eventually, the Bucher and Kline cases come together in an unexpected way. Interesting and unusual supporting characters, good and bad guys alike, enhance an intriguing puzzle." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Keeping a series fresh and relevant through a dozen or more entries is a task that has bedeviled more than one thriller writer. After publishing 23 novels in 18 years, John Sandford has risen to the heights of his profession, with his books selling millions of copies. Such success often breeds complacency. As writers such as Robert B. Parker and Patricia Cornwell have shown, even the most popular... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) series can spoil as quickly as dead fish when their creators get sloppy, lazy or just apathetic. Through 17 'Prey' novels featuring Lucas Davenport, a Minneapolis police detective, Sandford has been better than most at keeping his hero at the top of his game. Although it's true that many of his books in recent years have paled in comparison to the robust stories that began the series, Sandford's work always has remained respectable. Now, after taking a year off from Davenport — indeed, perhaps because of it — Sandford has returned with one of his best books in recent memory. 'Invisible Prey' is a contemplative, intelligent suspense novel that shows the author in fine form. The story opens with the murder of a wealthy society woman and her maid. Naturally, the politically sensitive governor assigns his top investigator to handle the case. Davenport is as good a sleuth as there is, but even he has a hard time cracking this one. With no evidence and no apparent motive, the perpetrators might just get away with it. But if you've read any of the 16 previous books in this series, you can take a pretty good guess at what's going to happen in the end. Like the Mounties, Davenport always gets his man. Along with the murder investigation, Sandford throws in a salacious subplot about a powerful Republican state senator who has been accused of having an affair with an underage girl. (The politician claims he was sleeping only with the teenager's mother.) The way this case plays out is curious: Sandford uses the scheming Lolita and her trailer-trash mom for comedy, but we're left wondering if we really should be amused by an accusation of statutory rape. Of course, the plots aren't what primarily draw us to a series like this. The scenarios exist mainly as justification for putting Lucas Davenport into action. He is what keeps readers coming back year after year. Davenport is never believable — he's too rich, too handsome, too smart, too trigger-happy to be real — but he's always intriguing, and his exploits are a large part of why the books have maintained their popularity. Davenport has changed as the books have piled up. The rough-hewn detective who started out as violent, moody and rapacious has softened as he's gotten older and wealthier. (In addition to being a cop, he's a successful software entrepreneur.) Davenport will still rough up a suspect when necessary, still shoot a bad guy if the situation demands it, but on balance he's calmer and happier than before. Inevitably, he's also somewhat less interesting as a result. But his maturation has made him more human and realistic, which adds greater emotional resonance to his character. Sandford has kept the 'Prey' series fresh for so long by varying his storytelling. Sometimes the books are pure thriller, with an emphasis on high-octane action and suspense. Other times the stories are structured as mysteries, with more attention paid to details and deduction. 'Invisible Prey' is a little bit of both, a police procedural that focuses on the investigation of the crime, while simultaneously taking readers into the criminals' minds and methods. It's not his most suspenseful story, but it is intellectually stimulating. Sandford, the pen name for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp, writes like the former reporter he is, bringing to his books a keen sense of observation and a gift for finding the hook in a story. It's no surprise that several of today's top crime writers, including Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman and Robert Ferrigno, made the jump from journalism to the best-seller lists. Understanding human nature and writing about it compellingly are just two of the skills the professions demand. While it's unlikely that Sandford's newspaper work was ever quite as entertaining as 'Invisible Prey,' it's clear that he learned his trade well." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at symbol)aol.comCarolyn See, who can be reached at www.carolynsee.comCeci Connolly, a Washington Post staff writer on leave in Mexico CityDavid J. Montgomery, who edits Mystery Ink and writes frequently about mysteries and thrillers, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"The latest in the Prey series is more thriller than mystery; the villains are revealed early, and the plot is advanced through the bad guys' point of view....As always for Sandford, entertaining and intelligent reading." Booklist
"Is Lucas Davenport losing his edge?...Series fans will miss the adrenaline rush they usually get from his books but will appreciate the cameo by Sandford's other series character, Kidd." Library Journal
"Sandford has returned with one of his best books in recent memory. Invisible Prey is a contemplative, intelligent suspense novel that shows the author in fine form." The Washington Post Book World
"In his latest work, Invisible Prey, Sandford has crafted a complicated and creepy story that takes off on page one....Fans and new readers will not be disappointed with Invisible Prey." BookReporter.com
The latest novel from bestselling author Sandford features the return of Lucas Davenport in this brilliantly suspenseful, richly characterized, and exciting drama that is one of the most startling in the Prey series yet.
Lucas Davenport returns in one of the most startling Prey novels yet from the number-one-bestselling author.
About the Author
John Sandford is the author of seventeen Prey novels and six other books, most recently Dead Watch.
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