“Extreme Prey” by John Sandford (Putnam, $29) is the latest in his best-selling series starring Lucas Davenport, who used to work for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
He’s left the organization and is fixing up his Wisconsin cabin when an old friend, Minnesota governor Elmer Henderson, asks him for help.
Henderson, who’s running for President, believes there’s a very real threat by extremists to another candidate in his party, Michaela Bowden.
The campaign is now in Iowa; Davenport agrees to investigate and discovers a wide variety of extremists and activists.
Marlys Purdy, in her fifties, with white, curly hair, has many anger issues dating back thirty years ago, when she and her husband lost their 480-acre farm and a $300,000 mortgage down payment.
Her husband killed himself ; she’s very bitter, as is Cole, one of her sons, who served in Iraq but came back with mental problems after being injured in a bomb attack.
She’s a fringe member of a few radical political groups; Davenport starts investigating but has very few leads.
Working under significant time constraints, Davenport feels like he’s a human ping-pong ball, bouncing around the state. He gets help from a variety of Iowa police departments and state cops, desperately searching
Davenport tries to get Bowden to cancel an appearance at the Iowa State Fair with little success – despite major additional security, he’s sure that her life will be in danger.
The Purdy’s have their own clever plans – and murderous ways – the body count raises as the cold-blooded killers proceed.
Longtime Sandford fans won’t be disappointed in his latest Lucas Davenport novel, even if there are only minor appearances by family members or Virgil Flowers.
It’s full of well-developed characters, significant violence and insightful views of contemporary politics.
This is an investigative procedural crime novel; the last third of the book is so exceptionally fast-paced that the reader can’t turn the pages quickly enough.
It’s a mesmerizing tale torn from today’s electoral headlines and really should have a red-white-and-blue cover design.
His last book, “Gathering Prey”, (Putnam. $9.99) mostly set in Michigan, is now out in paperback.
For more information, visit his official website www.johnsandford.org and click on website directory.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
Find this book and other great Sandford titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent
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This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on May 1, 2016.