In my pre-book blogging life, one of my go-to authors was John Sandford – particularly his Lucas Davenport (Prey) and Virgil Flowers series.
For some reason Sandford’s novels are never really offered for review and as I tend to have no time for reading anything OTHER than books I get for review, I’ve missed the last book or two in both series.
However, stars and planets aligned and the latest Lucas Davenport novel recently appeared on my request list. Thankfully I’d only missed one novel but was surprised to discover Lucas has left his lone-wolf gig with Minnesota BCA and has now joined the US Marshals!
by John Sandford
Series: Lucas Davenport #27
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
on April 25th 2017
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 0399184570, 9780399184574
Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but for the U.S. Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.
And where they’ve led him this time is into real trouble. A Biloxi, Mississippi, drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl.
Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with Davenport to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house.
Things get ugly real fast, and neither the cartel killers nor the holdup men give a damn about whose lives Davenport might have saved; to them, he’s just another large target.
Again Lucas is a political appointment and pretty much has free reign. It’s not all easy going though as he’s struggling to make the contacts and connections he had in his old world.
One thing he thought about was the difference between his new job and his old one. He’d already realized that he was now a small fish swimming in the ocean—and now, he thought, he hadn’t realized how different the various parts of the ocean might be. 31%
However, his dogged determination, street smarts and quick mind mean he’s still able to pick up an old investigation and get further than any of his predecessors ever did.
As is often the case with Sandford’s novels (and now I think of it, it’s weird I don’t mind, cos it usually pisses me off), we meet the baddies early on and get their story as well. So, we meet Garvin Poole who’s trying to set himself up for retirement with one last job. He doesn’t actually seem like a bad guy… keen to get out of the business and go legit. Until that is, we see him in action and realise how few qualms he has about killing anyone – and I mean anyone – who gets in his way. Indeed, even the brains behind his operation struggles with Poole’s ease at killing a child.
We follow along as Davenport unpicks the trail Poole has left behind over the years, although he’s up against a sadistic duo hired by the drug king Poole’s robbed. His game of cat and mouse on this occasion is less about finding Poole first, but rather finding the connections that lead to Poole before the duo get them… cos what they do to them is not pretty.
I very much enjoyed this book from Sandford (who I only just discovered is actually Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp). I wondered how the series would play out with the change in Lucas’s workplace, but it’s offering something new and different. I also loved his two partners in this outing – fellow Marshals Bob Matees and Rae Givens – and hope we see them again.
I’ve been reminded how much I enjoy these fast-paced meaty novels and I’m now determined to keep up with Lucas’s exploits and catch up on the latest in the Virgil Flowers series.
Golden Prey by John Sandford will be published by Penguin Group (GP Putnam & Sons) and available from late April 2017.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.