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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phantom Prey by John Sandford (Davenport #18)

Phantom Prey (Lucas Davenport, #18)Phantom Prey by John Sandford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb: A widow comes home to her large house in a wealthy, exclusive suburb to find blood everywhere, no body, and her college aged 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 when a second Goth is found slashed to death in Minneapolis, 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 him directly involved. Lucas begins to investigate only reluctantly; but then when a third Goth is slashed in what is now looking like a Jackthe- Ripper series of killings, 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?

Davenport's starting to realize that it isn't all fun and games chasing the criminals after he is shot in an ambush outside a bar while trying to find a young missing woman.  The thought that he might not be there to jump Weather's bones or watch Sam and Letty grow up, gives our detective pause for thought in an unusual insightful moment.

Outside of these intimate thoughts, this was an intriguing novel. The plot twisted and turned in interesting ways, keeping my attention fully engaged.  The reader does know partway though who-done-it, but the fascination lies in how Davenport figures this one out.   It is also one of those murder-mysteries where I can't say a heck of a lot lest I drop an unwanted spoiler.  A sub-plot interweaves itself through the main plot providing a bit of levity in what could become a very uncomfortable storyline.

My biggest complaint with the book was the conclusion to the main storyline - felt like a total cop-out.  Pun intended. 

Still, this may be my favorite Davenport book.  Good balance between personal insight, humor, intrigue and overall resolution.

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