cover image Sudden Prey

Sudden Prey

John Sandford. Putnam, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14138-6

The title tells it true, and applies not only to myriad characters in Sandford's electrifying eighth ""Prey"" thriller, but also to the novel's readers. From the opening scene, in which series hero, Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport, and his team stalk and kill a female bank robber, the story will clamp down like a bear trap on all who open its covers. That robber is Davenport's prey, but those beloved by the cop and his men become prey in turn when the slain thief's husband, Dick LaChaise, and his two sidekicks, all ex-bikers with militia mentalities, vow revenge unto death. Davenport, who in his spare time designs computer games that have made him wealthy, soon learns two disturbing facts: that suicidal enemies are close to unstoppable, and that his addiction to this real-life ""game"" is powerful enough to put even his loved ones at risk. Further problems ensue from the dangerous presence of a crooked cop, and from the refusal by Davenport's lover, a dedicated surgeon, to take up Davenport's offer to seclude her safely. The stakes are high, the characters rich, the action relentless-here's a thriller that will make your hair stand on end. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Mystery Guild main selections; author tour. (May)