cover image Secret Prey

Secret Prey

John Sandford. Putnam, $24.95 (392pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14382-3

After his muscle-stretching sidestep in 1997's The Night Crew, Sandford is back with his ninth Prey novel featuring dapper, dangerous Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport. Fans of the series will be glad to hear that this is the best installment in years--full of smart suspense and deduction as well as explosive action. Newcomers can plunge in without backstory research; all they need to know is that Davenport and his fellow cops are still nursing the wounds they garnered in Sudden Prey and that a depressed Lucas has gotten dumped by Weather, his girlfriend in that novel, when he is sent to investigate the murder of banking executive Daniel Kresge in a hunting lodge north of Minneapolis. Any of Kresge's four fellow hunters--all employees at his Polaris Bank--could have shot him, and all had motives (as did his ""soon-to-be-ex-wife""). We find out about halfway through the book who the real killer is, just a few pages before Lucas does, and that villain is a masterful creation. This is where Sandford's suspense-making skills really kick in, keeping us fascinated as Davenport--revitalized by an affair with a jaunty colleague--tries to turn what we all know into hard evidence. (May)