Invisible Prey
John Sandford
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Buy *Invisible Prey* by John Sandford online

Invisible Prey
John Sandford
448 pages
April 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Crime happens. Itís a fact of life for Lucas Davenport, who is currently wrapping up a case against a politician running for election, a case fraught with competing interests and the interference of higher-ups who would prefer the investigation go away. Lucas is nothing if not a pro, so he doggedly wraps up the last few details of the case preparatory to an indictment.

When two elderly women are bludgeoned to death in the most upscale neighborhood in Minneapolis, the intrepid Davenport is called to the scene. What looks like a robbery-homicide is almost too perfect a setup; something about the crime scene seems too obvious, as though the police are expected to make certain assumptions.

As Davenport begins this new investigation, he is aware of the dissonance of the state of the mansion, the almost staged disharmony of the setting at the center of which are the two dead women. Because the victim who owned the house is a wealthy collector of antiques, the police bring in local experts to help sort the valuable from the extremely valuable.

Meanwhile, Lucas reaches out to the able female associates in his office, looking for similar unsolved crimes or any facts that may shift the direction of the case. Unfortunately, the politicianís case is suddenly in turmoil, prime witnesses threatened. Now Lucas must divide his energy between the two cases instead of concentrating on the brutal murders of the elderly ladies.

Davenport is familiar with the details of death, more inclined to delve into the murders than attend the last-minute emergencies in the other case, but he does his best to do justice to both, that strange dissonance nagging at him, not quite accessible to his conscious mind.

The novel features an improbable cast of characters: a half-pit bull named Screw; an antiques expert whose expressions are unreadable because of Botox injections (ďWith Botox you had to fake reactions just to look humanĒ); an elaborate and complicated fraud; the unusual and lucrative world of collectors; and a legion of fundraisers who scout for patrons among the rich.

This sophisticated plot is yet another diversion for a cop who has plenty of experience with the arcane and the bizarre. Sandford has once more managed a compelling tale, returning in fine form in Invisible Prey, proving he hasnít lost his touch for the obscure.

Maturing with the years, Davenport is happily married and raising a family. This popular protagonist retains his edge, clear-eyed and disciplined. Sandfordís Lucas Davenport only improves with age, surrounded by a supporting cast of like-minded folk, challenged by the infinite creativity of the criminal mind in pursuit of profit, a few murders a small price to pay for success.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2007

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