I thought that Sandford did a good job with this one. It’s a solid book. The main reason why I gave this four stars though is that I felt like once again there is too much Letty in this. And I have to wonder about her being at a murder scene and telling the cops how someone must have gotten shot. I still find this character less than useless, but at least Sandford has her shipped off to college by the end of this one so hopefully she only pops up sporadically now. Also I loathed the throwaway line about an ex of Lucas (who was Marcy). At this point Sandford needs to write as if people have been following this series. Also having Lucas speak of Marcy this way and not mention his grief of her being murdered in “Buried Prey” which had everyone on the lookout to keep Lucas from murdering the man who shot and killed her is just baffling. And then I started to remember how irritated I was by “Buried Prey” and how Marcy got fridged for Lucas’s development (eyeroll).
So in the 24th installment of the Prey series starring Lucas Davenport, Sandford goes back to a well he’s left alone for a while. Lucas ends up trying to identify a serial killer who has murdered at least 21 women. Along with having to worry about a long-time friend who is on another case and his daughter Letty going off to college, Lucas has a lot going on. If he doesn’t end up figuring out who the killer is though, he may end up costing him his job.
I think what was good is that Sandford follows what seems to be a strange crime with two men trying to abduct a woman and then jumps forward years later to two kids about to have sex for the first time. When the young man and woman smell something that smells rotten like a body they both wonder whether it could be an animal. The young man eventually goes to the police and they find one body. From there the police converge on the site and figure out someone has been disposing of dead women in an abandoned cistern on a farm. Lucas is pulled in due to the fact that Rose Marie knows how high profile this case will be and that it can have bad political consequences for the governor who is hoping to get vetted as Vice President. Lucas though is juggling two cases and doesn’t have time to devote to the “Black Hole” killer as he is dubbed. When someone is taken out during the case though, Lucas is pulled back in.
Lucas in this one I thought was good. Also you have it known he’s old which made me laugh. A lot of the scenes with Lucas and Del and Lucas with a local deputy also working the case, Catrin Mattsson were great too. For once we have a woman not going on about how hot Lucas is and thinking about him in bed. Catrin calls Lucas old enough to be her dad and his insult at that had me cracking up. We also get to see Lucas more domesticated in this way. He references his first daughter (who we still never see or have him discussing much) and his two children with Weather, and Letty. There are some changes afoot since Letty is going to college and I stopped wondering how old she was since it felt like the last few book she was just 15 or 16.
The other characters we follow is a man named Shaffer who is Lucas’s opposite in every way. The two men don’t like each other, but have worked on cases in the past. No spoilers, but I wish that Sandford would have thought about ending things a bit differently here.
We also get Catrin’s character and once again no spoilers, but I ended up really liking this character and am curious if she will show up in future Prey books or not.
We also get reappearances of old characters like Del, Elle, and others.
The writing was good and I thought the flow worked for the most part. When the book shifted to Del though it lost its momentum I thought. I also thought that Sandford was trying to show the change in the press with regards to the police in this one, but it didn’t hold much water for me though and it felt like a weird side story that should have been left on the cutting room floor.
The ending though feels grim and you get a sense of loss and loneliness.