Field of Prey is John Sandford's 24th Lucas Davenport novel and it is one of his best. Sandford's writing and the appeal of his lead character are as fresh as ever. This author is a master writer and he pulls out all the stops to tell the latest adventure of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension leader. For the readers who have followed Davenport from one story to the next this is just more of a good thing.
In Field of Prey Davenport is called in on a case in Goodhue County, A cistern hidden in a field has been discovered that contains a large number of decomposed bodies. It appears someone in the area has been on a killing spree. The victims, all women and all blondes, later are determined to have been abducted and killed. They were also sexually assaulted.
Sandford writes the story in a way that lets the reader know the killers' identities from the start. The reading enjoyment comes from observing Davenport and company tracking them down. Davenport knows he is on a race against time as the killers most certainly will strike again.
There is action aplenty in this novel. Sandford knows how to relate the crimes and the investigations that ensue. He manages to give just the right amount of detail without tipping over into unwanted gore.
Through the years readers have gotten to know a lot about Davenport. They know his strengths and his weaknesses, and all points in between. However in this new novel Sandford manages to give us a bit more insight into his character. These new insights come into view primarily in the scenes between him and his adopted daughter Letty.
Letty is such an enjoyable character that she could be the subject of a series of books too. She is spunky and wise beyond her years. She and Davenport have a great relationship and it adds enormously to the enjoyment of Field of Prey.
For those who think they know everything they need to know about Lucas Davenport, this book proves them wrong. It also shows that Sanford still has some tricks up his sleeve when it comes to writing totally engrossing books. Sanford has always been at the top of any list of great mystery writers and this latest book shows why.
Because we have always expected good reading from Sanford's novels, this books comes as an unexpected pleasure. It is above Sanford's usual level of competence. It is one of his best and that makes it something really special.
Field of Prey is published by G P Putnam and Sons. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.95.
Jackie K Cooper