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SUDDEN PREY by John Sandford Kirkus Star


by John Sandford

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-399-14138-3
Publisher: Putnam

The fine and chilling eighth in Sandford's series featuring top cop Lucas Davenport (Mind Prey, 1995, etc.), this pitting him against a trio of revenge-minded killers. At the climax of an afternoon stakeout in a mall crowded with Christmas shoppers, Davenport (deputy chief of the Minneapolis PD) and a handpicked crew of officers gun down Candy LaChaise and her sister-in-law Georgia just after they've robbed a credit union. Candy's hardcase husband Dick, midway through a nine-year jail sentence, is allowed to attend her funeral. With a little help from his friends--Bill Martin, a backwoodsman with a fondness for exotic weaponry, and Ansel Butters, a substance-abusing Tennessean--Dick murders his guard and melts into the countryside. Eager to exact retribution, however, the vindictive Martin and his confederates return to the Twin Cities, where, using IDs supplied by Andy Stadic (a crooked vice cop), they begin liquidating the loved ones of those involved in the credit-union shootout. With the public and press in an uproar, Davenport calls on the considerable resources at his command to stalk the homicidal threesome. Butters goes down, but with Stadic tipping them off via cellular phone, LaChaise and Martin manage to remain at large, albeit at no small cost in blood. Eventually, Sandy Darling (the ex-nurse they've blackmailed into treating their wounds) is able to betray them to the authorities. In near-blizzard conditions, then, a crossbow-wielding Martin is shot on a downtown street while Davenport closes with LaChaise in a hospital he's invaded in search of the doctor who's Davenport's live-in lover. Meanwhile, Darling flees Stadic through the stands of an empty Metrodome. Complete with gross cop humor and villains who, for all their vicious resolve, have credibly redemptive traits: another winner for the accomplished Sandford and his growing legion of fans.