Lucas Davenport, of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, celebrates his 25th appearance by crossing state and jurisdictional lines in pursuit of a killer who’s made the pursuit personal.
Lucas’ adopted daughter, Letty, first hears about Porter Pilate in faraway San Francisco when she takes time off from her studies at Stanford to buy a meal for a pair of hapless buskers named Henry and Skye, who ramble about a man they call the devil. Pilate may not be the devil, but in addition to selling drugs, he gets his kicks by killing people. He and his demented crew of fellow travelers (imagine Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters with a fondness for rape, torture, and homicide) have claimed 10 victims so far—11, once he lures Henry to a secluded spot, crucifies and castrates him, and hacks him to death. Letty, hearing rumors of Henry’s gruesome end from Skye after she's returned to Minneapolis, moves heaven and earth to bring the young woman from Rapid City, where she's hiding out, to Minnesota, but Pilate and company are already close by, en route to the Gathering of the Juggalos, followers of the Insane Clown Posse. Skye soon falls into Pilate’s clutches, and her fate inspires Lucas, whom Letty has pulled into the case, to track Pilate and his disciples from Minnesota to Michigan’s isolated Upper Peninsula. Mayhem follows. What doesn’t follow is much suspense, any memorable characters, or even any strong rooting interest, since Pilate’s 20 followers can be picked off one or two at a time without seriously compromising his bogeyman reputation as he schemes to kill Lucas, or maybe Letty. Lucas deals with a lot of county sheriffs, deputies, and investigators from three states and phones several others long distance.
Fast, proficient, and utterly forgettable. Lucas’ wife, Weather, says it best when she tells her husband: “Don’t get shot; it’d be really inconvenient for everybody.”