Twisted Prey (A Prey Novel)by John Sandford Published 24 Apr 2018
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|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
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Lucas Davenport confronts an old nemesis, now more powerful than ever as a U.S. senator, in the thrilling new novel in the #1
New York Times
-bestselling Prey series
Lucas Davenport had crossed paths with her before.
A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she'd fit right in. He was also convinced that she'd been responsible for three murders, though he'd never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.
He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he's heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she's made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.
But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end.
"Twisted Prey (A Prey Novel)" Reviews
I received a free advance copy of this from NetGalley for review.
Me in 2013: “I love John Sandford novels, but this Silken Prey seems a bit outlandish. Could a rich person with a narcissistic personality disorder who engages in criminal behavior really hope to win an election to an important position in the US government? That seems highly unlikely.”
Me on Election Night 2016: “Why didn’t we heed John Sandford’s warning?!?”
Back in Silken Prey Lucas Davenport tangled with a crazy woman named Taryn Grant who was running for the Senate. She was capable of framing a rival for child pornography and then forming a conspiracy to commit murder to cover it all up. Since she was rich and this is America, [spoilers removed].
Now a rival of Grant’s is almost killed in a car accident which he is positive was an attempt to murder him, and Lucas Davenport is asked to check into the case. Davenport is off to D.C. and is quickly convinced that the accident was indeed a professional attempted hit, and he suspects that Grant’s friends at a military contractor filled with ex-special forces members were responsible for it on her orders. Getting evidence on trained killers who know how to cover their tracks and are backed by a powerful rich woman with her eye on the White House won’t be easy though.
Despite the DC setting and Davenport facing off against a crew of bad ass ex-soldiers this all feels like pretty standard stuff for Sandford. Not that it’s a bad thing. Sandford at his worst can write circles around most of the thriller writers on the best seller list, and this is has a lot of intriguing elements like figuring out how the bad guys could have rigged the car accident without leaving a trace. Davenport joined the US Marshals in the last book, and that change has enabled the series to do some interesting new stuff like this.
However, I think this one fell a little short of high potential in a few areas. For starters, even though this is set in DC and involves members of Congress it just doesn’t seem like the circus it would be. I also thought that Grant's response to being investigated would be more politically vicious and involve her trying to do more to smear Davenport in the media rather than going after him with more direct methods. It all just seems a little naïve and optimistic in that the system pretty much works and Davenport is free to investigate without having to worry about the press or the politics of it much at all.
And bear in mind that what I’m essentially saying here is the biggest problem with a plot that involves a member of the US Congress trying to assassinate a political rival and cover it up with the help of shady intelligence connections is that IT'S NOT CYNICAL ENOUGH!
Welcome to America 2018.
There’s a few other issues too, but most of them fall into the category of spoilers. [spoilers removed]
While I was a little let down by some of this it was still a solid page turner, and I very much enjoyed the ending which went a long way towards making me forget about some of my quibbles.
Can this possibly be the 28th book in the Prey series? I know I haven't missed many, so guess that makes me an oldie (but goodie). And so is the series; even if "star" character Lucas Davenport, now a federal marshal, seems to be a bit more laid back these days, there's plenty of action here that kept me reading until my Kindle battery insisted it needed a recharge.
Happily - and in one case, unhappily - a few other characters make return appearances in this one. There's Weather, Lucas's surgeon wife, Letty, his daughter, some former professional colleagues and the even more lovable (to me, at least) Virgil Flowers, upon whom Mr. Sandford has bestowed a series all his own.
Still another blast from the past is Taryn Grant, a psychopath who's now a U.S. Senator. Lucas is certain she's up to her old tricks (and being a billionaire, she's able to grease wheels till the Minnesota cows come home). One of her other enemies, Sen. Porter Smalls, knows firsthand how dangerous the woman is. In fact, he's convinced that a recent auto accident that nearly killed him - and did kill the driver - was all her doing. Proving that, though, just isn't in his skill set.
So, he calls in Lucas - who turns to local law enforcement, the FBI and others to help with the investigation. All heck breaks loose in the process, with suspicions turning into twists and turns that threaten the well-being of everyone involved, including Lucas's own family. And in the end, getting to the truth doesn't necessarily mean justice will be done. Or does it?
Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.
The psychopathic Minnesota Senator Taryn Grant and U.S. Marshall Lucas Davenport have faced off before in a murderous duel in the book Silken Prey. The best one can say is that is was a draw between the two.
But now Grant is becoming more powerful and is eyeing the White House. Holding on to her coattails, I mean skirts, are members of a private and lethal military contracting company. Fortunately, they aren’t completely successful in their assignment to eliminate another senator but they draw the attention of Davenport. Always a big mistake.
With whip smart dialogue, returning characters and a logical but a twisting plot, the fast moving Twisted Prey is a pleasure to read. A pleasure, but I have a few problems.
I also found it annoying that Flowers and Kidd would show up for very minor appearances. A couple of paragraphs? Really? Why bother?
I’m also confused about all of the Marshals in this book. U.S.Marshals are politically appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. There are very few of them. Most people who work for the Marshal’s service are Deputy U.S. Marshals. In theory Davenport could be a Marshall, but I doubt the rest of the Marshals that show up are actually Marshals, more like Deputy Marshals. Stuff like this really bothers me in a book.
I don't understand why if the first person they plan to arrest is killed that they wouldn’t go eyes on with their next subjects. Oh come on, that’s not a spoiler, its obvious early on that he is a red shirt.
If y’all think I am being a bit bitchy about minor plot holes, think about this being book 28. This is a hugely popular series for very good reasons. Carelessness makes no sense.
Set mostly in the Washington DC area, Sandford amusingly portrays the disdain that most hold for the area. He managed to get in some terrific shots at the current political climate too.
Everyone is fair game in this book. Big mistake, because Davenport is nothing if not Machiavellian.
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
It's a toss-up if I love Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers the most. But -- in this book, Lucas was outstanding. He is wonderful as a Marshal and this case was just fascinating. There were SO MANY bad guys, but all directed in some way by the worst guy of all -- an old enemy of Lucas. He gets help from fellow-marshals Bob and Rae and together, they meet all the many challenges thrown at them. John Sandford has such a way with words -- so clever, so funny, so insightful. I would not miss one of his books unless I was comatose.
Thank you Netgalley and the Penguin Group/G P Putman & Sons for this ARC.
I love Lucas as a US Marshall. He seems to really enjoy it as well. Seems like there's less bureaucratic red tape for him (no employee overtime sheets to approve) yet he still has the autonomy to work a case as he sees fit and the ability to get the resources he needs. Twisted Prey was the usual fast wild ride one expects from John Sandford with the usual suspects and supporting characters. I'm still giggling at the thought of Bob with the tailor.
I love the way Lucas Davenport’s mind works. I certainly would never to be on his bad side.