Publisher: Putnam Pub Group May 2008
In the 18th book of the "Prey" series, Frances Austin, a wealthy young woman who is into the Goth scene, goes missing. Already working on an important case, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Lucas Davenport becomes involved in this one when his surgeon wife, Weather, asks him to. Weather just happens to be a friend of Frances' mother, Alyssa. Traces of Frances' blood are found on a wall in her mother's home, but with no body, Lucas can't be positive she is dead. When several other members of the Goth community are found murdered, it becomes less likely that Frances will be found alive.
You've heard the term "follow the money"...that is what Lucas does when he discovers that $50,000 was missing from one of Frances' investment accounts. The trail leads him to Frances' killer, but he believes there is a second person who killed the others. We find out who that killer is before Lucas does, and it's quite disturbing.
No one writes a crime thriller better than John Sandford and he doesn't disappoint with Phantom. This 18th entry in the Prey series still shows plenty of the suspense and originality that has made this series last so long. In my opinion, there's no such thing as a bad Lucas Davenport story.
Synopsis (from the author's website)
Lucas Davenport has had disturbing cases before – but never one quite like this, in the shocking new Prey novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.
John Sandford's most recent Davenport novel, Invisible Prey, was hailed as "one of his best books in recent memory" (Washington Post); "as fresh and entertaining as ever" (Chicago Sun-Times); "rivetingly readable" (Richmond Times-Dispatch). But this time, he's got something quite special in store.
A widow comes home to her large house in a wealthy, exclusive suburb to find blood on the walls, no body – and her college-age daughter missing. She's always known that her daughter ran with a bad bunch. What did she call them – Goths? Freaks is more like it, running around with all that makeup and black clothing, listening to that awful music, so attracted to death. And now this.
But the police can't find the girl, alive or dead, and the widow truly panics. There's someone she knows, a surgeon named Weather Davenport, whose husband is a big deal with the police, and she implores Weather to get her husband directly involved. Lucas gets in only reluctantly – but then when a second Goth is slashed to death in Minneapolis, he starts working it hard. The clues don't seem to add up, though. And then there's the young Goth who keeps appearing and disappearing: Who is she? Where does she come from and, more important, where does she vanish to? And why does Lucas keep getting the sneaking suspicion that there is something else going on here... something very, very bad indeed?
Filled with his brilliant trademark suspense and some of the most interesting characters in thriller fiction, Phantom Prey is further proof that "Sandford is in a class of his own" (Orlando Sentinel).