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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hidden Prey by John Sandford (Davenport #15)

Hidden Prey (Lucas Davenport, #15)Hidden Prey by John Sandford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Six months ago, Lucas Davenport tackled his first case as a statewide troubleshooter, and he thought that one was plenty strange enough. But that was before the Russian got killed. On the shore of Lake Superior, a man named Vladimir Oleshev is found shot dead, three holes in his head and heart, and though nobody knows why he was killed, everybody - the local cops, the FBI, and the Russians themselves - has a theory. And when it turns out he had very high government connections, that's when it hits the fan." A Russian cop flies in from Moscow, Davenport flies in from Minneapolis, law enforcement and press types swarm the crime scene - and, in the middle of it all, there is another murder. Is there a relationship between the two? What is the Russian cop hiding from Davenport? Is she - yes, it's a woman - a cop at all? Why was the man shot with ... fifty-year-old bullets? Before he can find the answers, Davenport will have to follow a trail back to another place, another time, and battle the shadows he discovers there - shadows that turn out to be both very real and very deadly.

Delightful!  A book set in my corner of the world!  Not that the Twin Cities isn't my corner of the world, but Duluth and Virginia are a little bit closer to home, shall we say.  To all indications, Sandford seems to have done his research; while names of exact places may have been altered, but everything of significance is located as described.  Roads, terminals, airports, mines, etc., all right where they belonged.

As much as I was pleased with the location a of the book, I found the plot a bit on the dubious side.  Yes, Hibbing, MN, and the Iron Range was a hotbed of Socialist activity in "the days", but to say that a circle of covert spies still exists into the 1990's was a bit...questionable.  Add on to that the indoctrination of a young 17 year old into the Party Ways as a spy when the Mother Land hadn't been in touch for 20 years?  I really found that dubious.  I just found it unbelievable that a young teenager would find the Socialist Fight realistic - think about and far any young person finds their parents and Grandparents to be old, and 'out of it' and 'not cool'.  The book did address this as mental abuse toward the end of the book, but I'm still dubious.

My other complaint remains with the standard plot outline, and I may have griped about this previously:


Develop list of suspects

Put a tail on main suspect

Suspect figures out there is a tail

Suspect ditches tail

Suspect kills a few more people in an attempt to misdirect investigation

Everyone is pissed off

Davenport is struck by inspiration

Big chase

Game over

Yeah, well, here in book 15, same-o same-o.  Disappointing.  Thankfully the main cast of characters is strong enough to keep me coming back for more.

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