WICKED PREY by John Sandford


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The 2008 Republican National Convention sweeps into the Twin Cities, bringing in its wake a world of trouble for Lucas Davenport’s hometown.

When you think Republicans, you think big money. So do supercriminal Brutus Cohn and Rosie Cruz, his partner in a scheme to rob the visiting delegates blind. Working with ex-cons Jesse Lane and Tate McCall, they start out small, with a series of hotel-room invasions aimed at walking-around money whose loss they assume won’t be reported to the law because it’s already illegal. But all that changes when they’re forced to kill a suburban police officer. Lucas Davenport, of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (Phantom Prey, 2008, etc.), soon figures out what sort of violent, cold-hearted crooks he’s up against, but with every law-enforcement officer in Minneapolis–St. Paul already detailed to the convention, it’s hard to know what to do—especially against lawbreakers who soon figure out that he’s onto them. From that point on Sandford expertly dramatizes a tug-of-war complicated by two wild cards: Oklahoma neo-Nazi sharpshooter Justice Shafer, who claims he’s just passing through, and cranked-up paraplegic Randy Whitcomb, a sociopath determined to wreak vengeance against Lucas, the man he holds responsible for ruining his life. Killing Lucas, Randy decides, would be too easy; he’ll go after his family instead. So as Lucas is strained to the max responding to the rising tide of violence against the well-heeled delegates and their protectors, someone he’s never thought about is planning to blindside him. Especially notable here is the unsought help Lucas receives from a charmingly unlikely guardian angel who takes the battle against his family back to the villain.

The multiple plots are untidily stuck together, as if with mucilage, but Sandford keeps stepping up the pressure until it seems as if more than Randy Whitcomb is running on crank.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-15567-3
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2009

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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