Fans of the police procedural, rejoice - Lucas Davenport is back, in the twelfth installment of the award-winning Prey series by writer John Sandford, tackling a mystery that will stretch his detective skills to the maximum, and keep you reading well into the wee hours of the night.
In "Easy Prey", the dead body of well-known model Alie'e Maison is found at a exclusive party, and the police are called in to investigate. But, as they're searching the premises, they encounter an unpleasant surprise - a second body, dumped in a closet, its skull bashed in. Faced with a double homicide, Davenport is called in to oversee the case and ensure that the killer is brought to book - not an easy task in a case which is so high-profile that the media is more a hindrance than a help.
Davenport quickly compiles a list of suspects - Maison's lover, ex-model Jael Corbeau; her brother, famous photographer Amnon Plain; and Maison's eccentric brother, preacher Tom Olson - and gets to work. But as he finds out more about Maison, he begins to believe that she was not the primary target of the crime, and that his attention would be better focused on the second homicide victim. His investigation takes him deep into the world of upper-class drug-dealing, and into Alie'e Maison's childhood, as he looks for a connection between the two women.
Of course, Davenport being Davenport, things always get a little complicated - and in this case, the complication arises from the three women he encounters during the case. Davenport's relationships with old flames Weather and Catrin, together with his attraction to Jael Corbeau, all serve to further confound his already tangled personal life, yet play a great part in Sandford's ongoing portrayal of Davenport's character and relationships.
Sandford's descriptions of police procedures are (as always) spot on, as are the characters he populates his story with - violent and unpredictable Tom Olson, cynical police chief Rose Marie Roux, undercover agent Del, even hustler Trick Bentoin - and his talent for creating a great police procedural has never been more in evidence. "Easy Prey" is Davenport's twelfth outing - here's hoping for many more!This article was first published on 19 Dec 2000.