For some unknown reason John Sandford's skills as a writer have been revitalized lately. He has been writing mystery/thrillers forever but with his last few books he has been back as good as he ever was, even at the beginning. Now with his 25th PREY novel, Gathering Prey, he is better than he has ever been. This book is a testament to Sandford's amazing career and readers are going to love it.
In Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport is deeply involved in a new case. As the Chief Investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, he has plenty to keep him busy. However, when his daughter Letty comes to him with a story about some members of the Travelers he agrees to look into it. The Travelers are groups of people traveling around the country and living off the kindness of others. Letty met some of these people while in California for college.
The "Travelers" told Letty about a maniac named Pilot who has possibly killed some people. Later the woman who talked to her calls Letty at home in Minneapolis and tells here that her partner has disappeared and she thinks Pilot killed him. This motivates Lucas and Letty to become even more involved. It is a good thing they do because Pilot is a maniac on the level with Charles Manson.
As Pilot and his troops move east their kill rate rises. Instead of sitting at home in Minnesota, Davenport goes after them And sometimes with, and sometimes without, Davenport's approval, Letty also joins the chase. This increases the tension in the story because it then becomes personal.
Sandford tells this story with the energy of a speeding bullet. He flies from one incident to the next, always creating a full picture of the landscape and the people involved. The people Lucas and Letty meet are average police officers and volunteers. They speak as you would expect them to speak and act as you would expect them to act. They give a normalcy to the story which balances the abnormality of the killer(s).
This book is also more enjoyable than most because of the description of the relation ship between Lucas and Letty. She is his adopted daughter but she completely has his looks and mannerisms. Lucas is not the type to be called a doting father but Letty owns his heart and it shows in this story over and over again.
If you think Sandford has probably run out of ideas for PREY stories, think again. This is his freshest, most thrilling story ever. He is a master of this game and Gathering Prey proves he still reigns supreme.
Gathering Prey is published by Putnam. It contains 416 pages and sells for $28.95.
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