It's all about the chase, ultimately, in the neon jungle of Las Vegas. Serving as a United States Marshal, Lucas Davenport, formerly of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has expanded his area of investigation, free of the limitations of his former position.
Lucas (and his trusted helpers Rae Givens and Bob Mattes) head for Louisiana in search of bail jumper Clayton Deese, hired muscle for a local crime boss. When Deese's home is searched, the true magnitude of his crimes is discovered. Lucas and his team head to LA, where Deese has a brother. What appears at first a simple apprehension case expands to a grueling, deadly pursuit from Louisiana to Los Angeles and the infamous city of Las Vegas, where neon is ubiquitous in a thriving mecca crawling with tourists, marks and opportunistic scammers under the wide umbrella of legalized gambling, the scent of money pervasive.
Make no mistake: this will be a violent and bloody tale begun with a gruesome discovery in Louisiana, then a shootout with an LA SWAT team and finally an exhaustive search through a storied city of teeming tourists and an expanding residential population in support of the enterprise. As a marshal with friends in high places, Davenport is able to use local enforcement to supplement his needs, Rae and Bob on hand to help carry out the successful pursuit of a ruthless killer and three other miscreants who have left LA with him.
Like a savvy Vegas dealer, Sandford shuffles characters and plot points, from the endless machinations of Deese and his gang of three to the coordinated efforts of local police from LA to Vegas, the carefully laid plans of killers in need of escape money interrupted by cooperating agencies trying to end the mayhem. It is the perfect blend of urban sprawl and empty space, a thriving, self-contained oasis surrounded by desert, the concentrated pincers of the law closing in. While steeped in procedure, the volatility of the criminals escalates the potential for more killing, chaos at every turn. The US Marshal and his trusted partners are determined to outwit the menace before more lives are lost.
Sandford's marshal is reminiscent of earlier Lucas Davenport days, the beginning of the "Prey" series. Davenport is reenergized in a career change that uses his talents in a variety of situations with a broad cast of characters. It's a winning formula, Neon Prey accelerating with each complication, the crooks instinctively finding cover when in the surging crowds in pursuit of entertainment. The plotting is tight, cleverly wound around an increasingly frantic felon and a marshal determined to run him down. It's a cat-and-mouse game that won't end well.