This well-regarded series of police procedurals (Certain Prey, 1999, etc.) continues as Lucas Davenport, deputy chief of the Minneapolis PD, hunts a double murderer whose brutal crime sparks a series of deaths that may or may not be revenge killings.
Sandford’s 11th, however, owes more to Jerry Springer than Ed McBain. Two families vie for honors as most dysfunctional. There are the Olsons, small-towners who push their beauty-queen daughter Sharon (rechristened by the media as Alie’e Maison) into the high-fashion world of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, while brother Tom’s itinerant-preacher shtick (complete with stigmata) packs ’em in across the Bible Belt. Then there are the Plain/Corbeaus, leftover hippies from the ’60s whose fashion-photographer son and model-turned-potter daughter amuse themselves by sleeping together. Amnon Plain’s latest shoot features Alie’e in a provocative pose that raises eyebrows, as well as other body parts, across the nation, especially since it hits the tabloids the day after her body is found, along with that of hotel manager Sandy Lansing, in the tres chic home of socialite Sallance Hanson. Now Davenport has to contend with a media storm as well as a murder. Not to mention his other big problem, the blizzard of women swirling around him: Catrin, his college sweetheart who’s ditched her middle-aged marriage and is looking for solace; Marcy Sherrill, a lover from the force now injured in the line of duty; and the redoubtable Weather Karkinnen, his former fiancée, whose good graces he’d like to get back into as soon as he’s had the chance to sleep with ex-model Jael Corbeau a few dozen more times.
Beneath the slime, there’s a decent whodunit, but it takes real digging to unearth it. “I don’t know,” muses Davenport during the Grand Guignol of a climax, “we might be missing the Russians or the Chinese, but that’s about it.” Amen.