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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wicked Prey by John Sandford (Davenport #19)

Wicked Prey (Lucas Davenport, #19)Wicked Prey by John Sandford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket blurb: The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stickup men who've spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system. All that's headache enough for Lucas Davenport-but what's about to hit him is even worse.

A while back, a stray bullet put a pimp and petty thief named Randy Whitcomb in a wheelchair, and, ever since, the man has been nursing his grudge into a full head of psychotic steam. He blames Davenport for the bullet, but it's no fun just shooting him. That wouldn't be painful enough. Not when Davenport has a pretty fourteen-year-old adopted daughter that Whitcomb can target instead.

And then there's the young man with the .50 caliber sniper rifle and the right- wing-crazy background, roaming through a city filled with the most powerful politicians on earth. . . .

This seemed to be story about people making bad decisions.  Good guys, bad guys, kids, it didn't matter.  Bad guys decide to kill a cop in a hotel, wasn't necessary.  There were other options.  Davenport setting up a sting operation that ends up with a cop killed - cop in the operation didn't follow directions.  Letty taking matters into her own hands.  Bad decisions from top to bottom.  I can understand the occasional misjudgment as it "builds character", but to have a book built around them was just too much for me.

Compound poor judgement with a sub-plot revolving around Davenport's ward, Letty, and I was really wondering if I even wanted to read this book.  I struggled a I struggled a lot, with her actions and bald-faced manipulation. I also couldn't come to terms mentally with her job/internship as a reporter for one of the local news stations and her age.  As 'mature' as she is portrayed to be, she's still a 14 year old and the lack of adult supervision was unsettling.  Perhaps Sandford's media background gave him some insight into the tv news world which was where he got the idea to have a 14 year old running around solo during a massive political convention. I dunno.  It didn't sit right with me.

One aspect I did find satisfying was how the author portrayed Letty's and Juliette's - a young prostitute Letty befriends -  relationship, because it could have become a very cliched scenario.  Letty see's things in black and white, if you do this, that will happen, and Juliette just didn't fit into that mold no matter how much Letty tried to make her. 

Ultimately, the book left me a wanting.  Wanting what, I'm not sure...well, less Letty, would be one thing, and less stupid decisions would be another.  Not in my top five favorite Davenport books.

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