TWISTED PREY by John Sandford


Email this review


Now that he’s moved on from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to the elite U.S. Marshals Service, you might expect Lucas Davenport (Golden Prey, 2017, etc.) to deal with a distinctly higher class of lowlife. That’s not how it works out.

Minnesota Sen. Porter Smalls insists that the crash that nearly killed him and did kill his unacknowledged lover, Republican fundraiser Cecily Whitehead, was deliberately caused by a Ford F-250 truck that rammed his car and sent it plunging off a cliff. When the West Virginia accident investigator finds no sign of any such impact on his wrecked car, Smalls calls on Lucas to dig up the evidence that he’s not just hallucinating and, ideally, that the crash was engineered by first-term Minnesota Sen. Taryn Grant, a proven sociopath who’d hate him even if she didn’t already have her eyes on the White House. Smalls is right, of course, but making a case against someone as wealthy, ruthless, and well-connected as Grant won’t be easy. While Lucas and fellow marshals Rae Givens and Bob Matees are chasing down leads, Grant, who’s just as clearsighted as Smalls about her enemies, is issuing orders to her fixer, hustler Jack Parrish, about how to take Lucas out: mug him seriously enough to hospitalize him for a crucial month or so, arrange a distraction that will send him back to Minnesota, or, if all else fails, kill him dead. Spoiler alert: Even when they succeed short-term, Grant and her army of minions fail to derail Lucas’ investigation into a particularly nasty episode in which the awarding of a military contract was manipulated to the significant detriment of the military services. The only thing that slows Lucas is the fact that every time he gets enough evidence against one of the underlings, his target is quite properly killed before he can testify against his fellow conspirators.

Sandford is as professional as the evildoers aren’t. The result is lots of great setups but remarkably few follow-throughs.

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1735-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018

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 >


MysteryDEEP FREEZE by John Sandford
by John Sandford
MysteryESCAPE CLAUSE by John Sandford
by John Sandford


FictionHOUSE SECRETS by Mike Lawson
by Mike Lawson
FictionGUILTY MINDS by Joseph Finder
by Joseph Finder