With Extreme Prey its twenty-sixth instalment, you’d think John Sandford’s long-running Lucas Davenport series would’ve reached its crescendo long ago, and by now, be drifting into paint-by-numbers territory. But somehow, Sandford remains a mystery connoisseur’s delight, and remains the go-to guy for relentless page-turners that can be read without once having to invest in a bookmark or – dare I say it – bending the corner of a page.
Following the events of Gathering Prey, Davenport is out of a job and killing time. When his friend, the governor, who is ramping up a presidential campaign, invites Lucas to join his campaign staff, Davenport agrees, if only to fill the vacant hours of his days. But when the governor reveals concern about a potential threat to his rival nominee, Lucas’s investigative skills are called into action to ensure such an assassination plot is never enacted. It doesn’t take Lucas long to verify the threat; but stopping it from happening is another matter entirely.
With the US election in full swing, Extreme Prey is topical, but barely dips its toes into politics. While the novel focuses on extreme politics, Sandford wisely omits any long-winded political monologues, maintaining the peerless tautness his mysteries have earned such esteem for by focusing on the investigation and the ensuing violence. Davenport ruffles many feathers as he seeks vindication of the threat, leading to the unveiling of many red-herrings, and more than a few tangential murders, which muddy the waters, and leave Davenport racing desperately against the clock.
Sandford’s handling of the labyrinth plot is masterly, and while characterisation is forsaken in exchange for raw pace and action, his fast and furious approach is sure to keep eyes glued to the page. Extreme Prey is twisty and topical, and a treat for readers; Davenport veterans, and newcomers, too.
Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for a review copy of the book.
Format: Hardback (229mm x 152mm x 32mm)
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: 26-Apr-2016
Country of Publication: United States