A Book Spy Review: ‘Neon Prey’ by John Sandford

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Neon PreyThings aren’t always what the first appear in the latest novel from New York Times bestseller John Sandford, who brings back his fan-favorite hero, Lucas Davenport, for his 29th go-around. 

When was first arrested and booked for federal racketeering charges, the feds had no idea who they were dealing with. As it turns out, though, Clayton Deese, a hired killer with a taste for human flesh, is actually one of the most wanted men in the country—and by the time the police realize who he really is, he’s already slipped away, leaving behind a sliced-off GPS tracker and a makeshift gravesite of innocent victims who’ve been partially cannibalized before dumped in the woods. 

Needing help, local law enforcement turn to the U.S. Marshals, and soon thereafter Lucas Davenport is dispatched to New Orleans to help find Deese and bring him in before he can kill again. 

While things don’t go according to plan early on, as Deese manages to leave a trail of bodies in his wake as he flees the law, Davenport is able to follow the bloodshed to Las Vegas, where he quickly realizes that the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s office aren’t the only ones looking for him. Worse, Lucas is forced to question the motives of those around him, complicating things further, giving him one more thing to think about as he tries to navigate his way around the obstacle course of corruption and crime in Vegas, leading to a slightly predictable, yet still satisfying ending.  

By now, longtime readers have likely adjusted to Davenport’s new role with the Marshal’s office, and Sandford certainly continues to use the promotion to his advantage, having Lucas take on bigger, more dangerous criminals each time out, which raises the stakes for the series as whole, even if readers have little fear that their hero is ever in any real danger. Whereas other writers take a formulaic approach this deep into their careers, Sandford has shown a willingness to take risks in the name of freshening up his series, and it’s paid off in spades. 

By now, fans know just what they’re getting when they head out to follow Lucas Davenport around, and John Sandford delivers another intriguing, page-turning plot that’ll hold readers over until next time. 

Book Details

Author: John Sandford
Series: Lucas Davenport #29
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 10525536582
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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