HIDDEN PREY by John Sandford
Kirkus Star


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As the brilliant Prey series (Naked Prey, 2003, etc.) moves adroitly to number 15, Lucas Davenport discovers and exposes your basic family Soviet spy ring.

Homogeneously American on the surface—hardworking dads, dutiful soccer moms—this family of subversives, headed by a former KGB colonel, has been for 70 years secretly diligent on behalf of the Soviet Union, undeterred by the Soviet Union’s demise. At first, the murder of Oleg Moshalov seems unconnected to the group’s efforts, seems, in fact, fairly routine, a bit confusing as to motive, to be sure, but not much more so than homicides often are in the early stages of an investigation. Even after Oleg Moshalov is correctly identified as Rodion Oleshev, ex-KGB agent, the various antennae involved remain at rest. And then suddenly there are the Russians demanding action, clamoring for results, and flying a cop from Moscow to Duluth to make certain the Americans understand that they’re serious. All of which means that Lucas Davenport, still settling into his recent appointment as major-crimes troubleshooter for Minnesota Governor Elmer Henderson, is about to be activated. Russian cop? Well, not quite, Lucas decides almost at once (cops don’t flinch at the sight of corpses, though intelligence officers might). He manages to bear up under the deception, however, since Major Nadezhda Kalin—she of the delicious diastema between her two front teeth—turns out to be Ninotchka for the new century. To charm, smarts, and guts, add investigative flair, and what you’ve got is a matched pair, the Kalin-Davenport team, essential for coping with a crafty, resolute villain desperate to elude the denouement he really always knew was in store for him.

Deft, action-packed, and slyly funny. Just when you thought the silky smooth Sandford couldn’t possibly get better, he does.

Pub Date: May 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-15180-X
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2004

Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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