Naked Prey by John Sandford
When twelve-year-old muskrat trapper Letty West stumbles on the naked bodies of Jane Warr and Deon Cash, deep in the snowy woods of northern Minnesota, it's more than another bizarre episode in her already unusual life, as Lucas Davenport discovers in this new outing in Sandford's popular series featuring the midwestern lawman who moonlights as a computer game designer. Lucas has a new wife, a new baby, and a new job as a political troubleshooter for his old boss Rose Marie Roux, but the blunt-spoken Davenport's instructions to hush the racially charged implications of what looks suspiciously like a lynching won't deter him from whomever left Warr and Cash twisting in the wind. The well-peopled plot, involving a hot car ring, an ex-nun who smuggles cancer drugs over the Canadian border, and the usual internecine wranglings between the FBI, the local cops, and Davenport, races to a satisfying denouement, but this time it's a little girl with a difficult past and an uncertain future who lingers in the reader's mind. Fortunately, Sandford comes up with an ending that makes it all but certain that his fans will meet her again. Meanwhile, all the author's usual trademarks are on display--excellent writing, an interesting scenario, and terrific pacing. --Jane Adams
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The Best, August 25, 2003
This is clearly one of the best books written by John Sandford, and it rapidly engages the readers' interests, and this will truly be one of the book that is difficult to put down once started. The hero, Lucas Davenport, is a straightforward guy with many admirable qualities, and his dedication to rooting out evil is foremost. The cast of supporting characters is strong and well-defined. This story starts with what seems to be a vicious attack in rural northern Minnesota on two people who are relative newcomers to the area, and the reasons for the murders of those two attracks a lot of attention because they are left hanging from trees in the wilderness. The bodies might have stayed undiscovered for a long time except they were quickly seen by a strange loner of a 12-yr-old girl out trapping muskrats for money. The promise of a lot of negative publicity causes the politicians to send in Davenport, who has orders to clean up the murders quickly and quietly. As usual, that is easier said than done. The investigation quickly uncovers evidence of other crimes in the small village nearby, and there is considerable focus on whether all the crimes are connected. As Lucas' partner, Del, observes, it is almost certain that major crimes committed in such a small place, with only a few players, are connected. But the search of that connection takes them on a journey to several places and among many people. While the investigation goes on, more killings take place, confounding the cops and causing them to widen their scope of investigation. And, of course, about the time they start to close in on the "killer," that person is killed, and the chase really begins in earnest. But the author's strength lies in his ability to create such sympathetic characters, and every reader will end up rooting for someone in this story; we may not all want the same characters to prevail, but we will be drawn in by someone and their feelings and emotions. Sandford is fabulous at creating intense, human characters and he can switch back and forth among characters, while developing each in a strong, individual way. This story will be difficult to set aside before finished, and it must be read to conclusion as quickly as possible. And although Davenport is happily married, with a new baby, and he and his wife enjoy their new spare-no-expense house, and their individual careers are blooming, we are introduced to a new woman in Davenport's life, and we know we will see and hear more about her in future productions. And we will all look forward to that. This will be one of the most entertaining stories you will read in some time. Don't miss it.