- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Lucas Davenport thrillers have become an annual, much-anticipated phenomenon, and it's not hard to see why. Each time out, Sandford combines a variety of plot elements into a slick, furiously paced narrative that is cunningly constructed and virtually impossible to set aside. Chosen Prey, the 12th entry in this remarkably consistent series, finds the hard-edged Minnesota homicide detective spearheading yet another convoluted investigation, this one aimed at bringing down a serial killer -- and sexual psychopath -- known as the Gravedigger.
As we learn at the very outset, the Gravedigger is James Quatar, an effete, deeply disturbed art historian with a penchant for blondes who remind him of his mother. Several of these iconic blondes have served as unwitting models for James's distinctive brand of pornographic, mix-and-match computer art. And several have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. As the novel opens, the body of Qatar's most recent victim surfaces in a park on the outskirts of Minneapolis. When the park turns out to be a mass graveyard containing eight more victims -- all blonde, all with an affinity for the visual arts -- a statewide manhunt ensues.
Cutting crisply back and forth between the demented perspective of James Qatar and the increasingly frantic perspective of the Minneapolis/St. Paul police departments, Chosen Prey offers a satisfying demonstration of Sandford's by now familiar virtues: brisk, no-frills prose, pungent dialogue, authoritative scene-setting, and a vivid gallery of characters from both sides of the law. These include Davenport himself, Detective Sergeant Marcy Sherrill (who is just returning to action after her near-fatal wounding in Easy Prey), and Davenport's on-again, off-again girlfriend, Dr. Weather Karkinnen, who has now assumed a dominant role in Lucas's always complicated domestic life. Effective new characters include the Gravedigger himself, James Qatar; his voyeuristic paramour (and prospective victim), Ellen Barstad; and Terry Marshall, a veteran law enforcement officer with an intensely personal stake in the investigation.
Chosen Prey easily meets the rigorous standards of its predecessors, and will no doubt provide Sandford's legion of fans with an irresistible, high-adrenaline good time. (Bill Sheehan)
Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press .