Review: Golden Prey by John Sandford

Golden PreyGolden Prey is the 27th novel starring Lucas Davenport, and while it’s not a standout entry in John Sandford’s long-running series, it is a well-spun, fast, proficient thriller. Its pleasures are primitive, but they’re genuine. Sandford remains the king of the page-turner.

The key to a long-lasting, relevant series is both tonal consistency and a willingness to subvert continuity. After umpteen novels as an investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Golden Prey sees Davenport donning his U.S. Marshals Service badge for the first time. Whereas previously his turf was isolated to Minnesota, Davenport now has carte blanche to pick his cases, and hunt killers anywhere across the country. His first target: the notorious gun-slinging thief Garvin Poole, whose last job — a ballsy assault on a drug-cartel counting house — left behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl.

Davenport’s hunt for the killer is complicated by a pair of brazen, sadistic torturers also on the lookout for Poole. Hired by the cartel to both retrieve the money and send a message to other would-be thieves, the “Queen of home-improvement tools” is a particularly awful type of murderer, who derives genuine pleasure from her activities. And while her partner isn’t quite as vicious, make no mistake: he’s a stone-cold killer. Also making Davenport’s life more difficult is the internal bureaucratic resentment that has festered since his appointment as a U.S. Marshal. At the BCA, Lucas was top dog. As a U.S. Marshal, he needs to prove himself to his colleagues. Poole — a longtime target of the Marshals — would be a serious feather in his cap, and a step in the right direction.

Golden Prey is essentially a cat-and-mouse game, in which the roles of hunter and prey are continually reversed. It’s fast-moving, slick, and not overly deep; the kind of book you’ll rip through in a night or two. A conventional thriller elevated by Sandford’s masterly juggling of characters and subplots.

ISBN: 9780399184574
Format: Hardback (231mm x 150mm x 41mm)
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: 25-Apr-2017
Country of Publication: United States

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