Twisted Prey (A Prey Novel)by Published 24 Apr 2018
|Twisted Prey (A Prey Novel).pdf|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
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.
Lucas Davenport is one of my favourite characters in crime fiction. Good looking and rich (some time ago he designed some software that made him his pile) he’s also mean and funny. Sandford has cleverly managed Davenport’s career in law enforcement, finding him new jobs that provide him with ever more freedom to chase down villains anywhere he chooses to roam. His latest job is that of a U.S. Marshall and this time around he receives a call from Minnesota Senator Porter Smalls who has just survived an attempt on his life – in an incident that cost the life of his lover. But Smalls is having a hard time persuading the local cops that the incident itself was anything other than a routine motor accident. He’s convinced that Taryn Grant is behind the attempt: the pair have history and hate each other (an earlier novel in the series Silken Prey provides the full background). Grant is a deliciously bad woman, beautiful but also a deadly sociopath who seemingly has no conscience whatsoever. Lucas sets off to Washington DC to scout out the background to the incident and to liaise with the local police.
One of the clever things Sandford does in this series is to maintain a sense of continuity through Davenport’s contact with his family and ex-colleagues whilst moving the whole thing forward by continuously introducing new characters who become part of ’the family’. His focus in one book may be his wife or his daughter or a particular colleague and then in the next book they may be absent or just a peripheral background figure. I really like this approach as it stops the books from feeling samey and routine. And another thing he does is to cleverly show both sides of the story, so that at the same time the reader knows both what the hunters and the hunted are doing and thinking. It all adds up to a quality product, one that rivals Michael Connelly’s brilliant novels in terms of pure readability and clarity.
In all honesty, this isn’t my favourite book in the series - but it’s still good. My only real qualm is that the mid section of the book feels a little slow, but that’s judging this episode against the very high standard of the author’s very best books. Here, it all makes sense, the characters (particularly Smalls and Grant) are great, the new guys are interesting and amusing and, once the pace picks up, the whole thing races to a brilliant conclusion. What’s not to like!
There are now 28 books in the Lucas Davenport (‘Prey’) series and a further 11 in the offshoot series featuring Davenport’s close friend and former colleague Virgil Flowers. The quality of these books is extremely high and I’d recommend any lover of crime fiction to seek them out if, for some reason, Sandford has flown under their personal radar.
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.
Back in Silken Prey Davenport faced off against Taryn Grant: a psychopath who was running for senator , in order to ensure her victory she framed her opponent by planting child pornography in his computer , she also killed to cover other murders she orchestrated in the past .... Despite our charming and stylish detective's best efforts he couldn't find any evidence linking her to any crime and everything was blamed on her security team , he proved the innocence of the other candidate but it was too late: the damage was already done ...
In this book Lucas gets another shot at taking her down, she is now a senator...He is a "presidential" appointee in the US Marshals service now so He has more power and political clout than before .
He was contacted by the same person as before who is now a senator too and who claims that Grant tried to have him assassinated ,instead his mistress was killed while saving him in the process.... Davenport did everything right : he found the why ,the how and the where of the crime , he identified the killers (ex-army/CIA) contractors , not without some difficulties "he almost got killed "again" and his wife too "... On the verge of taking her down she decided to take matters in her own hands and she slipped away"again" .... Being the dirty cunning bastard that he is and having lost to her before , Davenport have been preparing for such a possibility by :[spoilers removed]. AS always Sandford doesn't disappoint i enjoyed this book thoroughly i can't believe it's number 28 already ... great memories with this series so far...
Twisted Prey is a perfunctory and disposable entry into John Sandford’s usually stellar Lucas Davenport mystery series. Consider it the foil-lined wrapper your takeout hamburger comes in. Or better yet, imagine you have just driven your hungry self to the nearest Shake Shack (it’s easy if you try) and ordered a double Shack Stack and a large black and white shake. You unwrap your burger only to dismay at finding inside just another wrapper! You wanted a Shack Stack, not some throwaway paper. Disappointing! Well, at least you have this shake. But when you suck at that straw no delicious hand-spun ice cream shoots into your mouth performing an enticing Tango of happiness across your taste buds. You take off the lid to discover the cup is empty except for another hamburger wrapper. And that my friend is Twisted Prey.
What makes this so hard to swallow (the complete opposite of Shake Shack’s black and white shakes that are not only easy to swallow, but also easy to order with the new Shake Shack iPhone app) is that Sandford can usually be relied upon to deliver tight, exciting, and well-written thrillers. I can only imagine that perhaps his attentions were otherwise occupied. Maybe he took up a new hobby or perhaps he decided to seriously tackle learning the ins-and-outs of that acoustic guitar that has been sitting in the corner of his living room for years. That F barre chord can be a bear.
In Twisted Prey, federal marshal Davenport hunts an old adversary: the wealthy killer Taryn Grant. Now a Senator, Grant has just attempted to knock off a fellow Congressman and a buddy of Davenports. This leads to mayhem and mischief on “the Hill”. Unfortunately, everything comes off as halfhearted and empty. Grant is an extremely uninteresting antagonist; she is billed as a psychopath but is written as a lifeless and dull individual who is more grumpy than insane. Seriously, my Uncle Marty would be a more compelling adversary and he pretty much just sits around in Aunt Flo’s basement completing TV Guide crossword puzzles, eating Cheetos, and writing book reviews for Goodreads. The plotting is slow and the action contains about as much tension as the elastic in an old pair of tube socks that refuse to stay up.
Probably much of this unusually poor storytelling lies in Sandford’s schedule to deliver two thrillers a year. I would imagine that the creative work of writing a novel cannot be rushed and these deadlines result in a lower quality of tale. But I also understand Sandford must pay his bills. The mortgage on his 75,000 square foot Bel Air mansion is due every month. As is the monthly payment for his Gulfstream V private jet, the costs of caring for his three Bengal tigers as well as the menagerie of his other exotic pets, and let’s be honest – while he’s dating Taylor Swift he will need to hit up only the hottest clubs and restaurants wearing only the hippest designer hats.
There is a Virgil Flowers book no doubt coming this winter, lets hope Sandford extends a little more effort and care.