A Book Spy Review: ‘Golden Prey’ By John Sandford

John Sandford Golden Prey

Lucas Davenport, John Sandford’s most well-known and beloved character, returns for his twenty-seventh adventure in Golden Prey.

Switching things up this time out, Sandford has taken his longtime protagonist from familiar territory and has him branching out into the unknown in his latest novel. Gone are the days when Lucas Davenport worked for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Instead, Davenport, thanks to powerful friends in high places, has been specially appointed to the U.S. Marshalls.

Davenport’s gig with the Marshalls is special, though, as he’s been given free rein to pick his own cases and follow them wherever they go. Older now and less of a cowboy than back in his younger days, the one thing Lucas knows he wants is to be back on the chase. All he needs is a worthy target to pursue.

When a murder file comes across his desk involving Gaven Poole, a deranged yet cunning criminal who’s been wanted for years, Davenport, fresh off a successful sting operation in Missouri, chooses to make pursuing the slippery killer his first real case with the Marshalls.

Poole, who many thought might be dead, is now believed to be the mastermind behind a robbery in Biloxi, Mississippi, where millions of dollars were stolen from a drug house owned and operated by the Honduran drug cartel. In the process, four men and one six-year-old girl were killed.

A coldblooded killer to his core, Poole mercilessly shot all the men before turning the gun on the girl and dispensing one final bullet into her head. What he didn’t realize at first, thanks in part to the body-numbing adrenaline pumping through his veins, was that one of the cartel members had managed to squeeze off a round before he died, which grazed Poole’s arm. Analysis of drops of blood found at the scene confirmed it was Poole’s DNA, making him the lead suspect.

As Davenport heads south, he soon finds out that he’s not the only one hunting Poole. It turns out that the Hondurans aren’t the type to cut their losses or forgive and forget. They want their money back, and to see that it’s recovered in a timely fashion, they hire a pair of assassins named Soto and Kort.

Of the two hired guns, Kort is by far the more colorful character. Revered as a master torturer by the types of sickos who would revere such a thing, she’s known for using a variety of tools to make people talk. Davenport is first made aware of their presence on the hunting trail when he stops to question Poole’s parents and finds that they’ve been gruesomely murdered as well. Figuring the drug lord who lost millions of dollars isn’t all that happy about his loss, Lucas knows the stakes were just raised and that an already dangerous situation just became even more treacherous.

On top of tracking down Poole, which proves to be much easier said than done as the killer blazes a trail through multiple southern states, Davenport must locate the criminal before the Hondurans’ assassins find him, adding additional urgency to the case.

Anytime a series reaches twenty-something books long, two things are certain: obviously, the author knows what they’re doing to keep fans entertained, as that sort of longevity isn’t too common. Secondly, it’s easy for the stories to become formulaic and repetitive. To that point, Sandford started setting a change in motion with last year’s Extreme Prey, which he then took a step further in his latest novel.

Taking Davenport away from his long-time job and dropping him in new territory was a brilliant move by the bestselling author. While Lucas is still the same Rolex-wearing, smart-mouthed, fancy-car-driving investigator, he’s in a new world–which brings with it a plethora of new faces and opportunities.

Rather than becoming stale, Davenport’s career change adds a fresh new chapter to Sandford’s series, which now feels as though it could continue on forever.

As readers follow Davenport in his pursuit of Poole and the assassins hired by the Hondurans, Sandford uses quick pacing and sharp dialogue to keep the plot moving. Multiple twists and turns–plus a few cameos that longtime fans of the series will appreciate–are thrown in for good measure, all leading up to a Sandford-esque ending that many will see coming but enjoy anyways.

With Golden Prey, John Sandford successfully breathes new life into his most famous series, creating a page-turning thriller that will grab your attention and hold on until the very end. 

Book Details

Author: John Sandford 
Series: Lucas Davenport #27
Pages: 392 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399184570
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: April 25, 2017 (Order Now!)

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