Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Review: Invisible Prey by John Sandford

Hardcover: 388 pages
Language: English
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group May 2007
ISBN-10: 0399154213
ISBN-13: 9780399154218

As always Lucas Davenport, a Special Agent for Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is called in when a situation is too tough for a local police department or too politically sensitive.

The story opens with two women, an elderly heiress and her maid, being brutally murdered in a home in one of St. Paul's elite neighborhoods. Lucas is conducting a very politically sensitive investigation of a local politician who is accused of being involved with a minor. These two very different investigations, a sex scandal and a double murder, ultimately become intertwined.

The 17th installment in the Prey series is more thriller than mystery since the killers are revealed early, with the plot being revealed through the killers' point of view. Davenport unravels their scheme as he immerses himself into the world of art and antiques.

As usual, Sandford has given us a novel that is intelligent and entertaining.

Description (from the author's website)

And it's all true once again about Invisible Prey. This is one of the best Lucas Davenports ever – and one of the most surprising.
In the richest neighbourhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms ransacked, only small items stolen. It's clearly a random break-in by someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as he looks more closely, Davenport begins to wonder if the items are actually so small or the victims so random, if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge – and it will lead Davenport to somewhere he never expected. Which is too bad, because the killers – and yes, there is more than one of them – the killers are expecting him.


An anonymous van, some-kind-of-pale, cruised Summit Avenue, windows dark with the coming night. The killers inside watched three teenagers, two boys and a girl, hurrying along the sidewalk like wind-blown leaves. The kids were getting somewhere quick, finding shelter before the storm.
The killers trailed them, saw them off, then turned their faces toward Oak Walk.
The mansion was an architectural remnant of the nineteenth century, red brick with green trim, gloomy and looming in the dying light. Along the wrought-iron fence, well-tended beds of blue and yellow iris, and clumps of pink peonies, were going gray to the eye.
Oak Walk was perched on a bluff. The back of the house looked across the lights of St. Paul, down into the valley of the Mississippi, where the groove of the river had already gone dark. The front faced Summit Avenue; Oak Walk was the second-richest house on the richest street in town.
Six aging burr oaks covered the side yard. In sunlight, their canopies created a leafy glade, with sundials and flagstone walks, charming with moss and violets; but moon shadows gave the yard a menacing aura, now heightened by the lightning that flickered through the incoming clouds.
"Like the Munsters should live there," the bigger of the killers said.
"Like a graveyard," the little one agreed.
The Weather Channel had warned of tornadic events, and the killers could feel a twister in the oppressive heat, the smell of ozone thick in the air.
The summer was just getting started. The last snow slipped into town on May 2, and was gone a day later. The rest of the month had been sunny and warm, and by the end of it, even the ubiquitous paper-pale blondes were showing tan lines.
Now the first of the big summer winds. Refreshing, if it didn't knock your house down.

On the fourth pass, the van turned into the driveway, eased up under the portico, and the killers waited there for a porch light. No light came on. That was good.
They got out of the van, one Big, one Little, stood there for a moment, listening, obscure in the shadows, facing the huge front doors. They were wearing coveralls, of the kind worn by automotive mechanics, and hairnets, and nylon stockings over their faces. Behind them, the van's engine ticked as it cooled. A Wisconsin license plate, stolen from a similar vehicle in a 3M parking lot, was stuck on the back of the van.
Big said, "Let's do it."
Little led the way up the porch steps. After a last quick look around, Big nodded again, and Little pushed the doorbell.
They'd done this before. They were good at it.

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