05/10/2013 09:05 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

John Sandford's SILKEN PREY Is a Little Stale

Book Review Jackie K Cooper
SILKEN PREY by John Sandford

By now everyone knows John Sandford is the author of the very successful "Prey" series of books. His main character in the "Prey" books is Lucas Davenport, the Deputy Police Chief of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sandford has written over twenty "Prey" books and they have all met with acclaim and good sales. There is no reason to think his latest book SILKEN PREY will be any different. Sandford fans are a devoted lot and they eat up anything he writes, especially ones involving Davenport.

In this new book Davenport gets involved with politics, not a place he particularly wants to be. But in a campaign race for a Senate seat from Minneapolis the incumbent is ahead by a slight margin. That all comes crashing down when child pornography is found on his computer. The Governor of the state doesn't believe it was put there by the senator. He thinks he was framed and calls upon Davenport to investigate.

The investigation quickly goes from the placing of the child pornography on the computer to a few deaths that might be related. The problem is the "might be's." Davenport has to bring all his skills and those of his crew into the game to prove that they are related and to catch the killer. One of his suspects turns out to be the woman running against the senator, and she is as evil as they come.

Those who have followed the "Prey" series of books are now as comfortable with Davenport as they can be. They know he is independently wealthy, has fine cars and expensive clothes, and is married to a surgeon named Weather. They also know his kids and his employees. In total most readers are as comfortable with Davenport as they would be with an old friend who comes to visit every year or so.

The problem with comfort though is it can make reading about someone's adventures dull. Long time readers of Sandford's books have now become a little bit bored with information about Davenport's lifestyle and of his personality ticks. The man has become a little too vain and a little too predictable. Something needs to be done to shake things up and it doesn't occur in this book.

Too be sure it is still fun to read how Davenport solves a crime and captures the bad guys. Sanford gives us all the intricate details. But there is a sense of déjà vu about it all. How many times have we seen Davenport in similar situations and watched him save the day. The fun may still be there in part, but the excitement has faded.

Sandford needs to breathe some fresh air into this series and give us something new. For long time fans the familiarity is beginning to breed something akin to contempt and that is not a good thing.

SILKEN PREY is published by Putnam. It contains 416 pages and sells for $27.95.

Jackie K Cooper