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Cover Sandford Golden Prey

I’m a sucker for pretty much any Sandford books, whether it features Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers or (occasionally) both. The plotting is sharp, the characters are well developed (and more so with each title, as we come to know more about their lives with each new case). So, I was happy to receive an advance copy of the latest Lucas Davenport “Prey” book, Golden Prey, from Penguin Group/Putnam and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

In this latest entry in the series, Lucas has moved out of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and is now working for the U.S. Marshals Service, able to pick his own cases and follow them wherever they lead (which doesn’t endear him to the nominal head of Marshals’ office in Minnesota).

The crime spree opens with the robbery of a Honduran drug cartel’s money counting house in Biloxi, MS. During the crime, five people are killed, including a six-year-old girl – and millions of dollars in cash is taken. Lucas heads up a team including what I consider potentially recurring memorable characters to search for the “Dixie Hicks” who took out the counting house. At the same time as his team’s search is going on, The cartel sends their own people — including a crazy bitch torturer known as the “Queen of Home Improvement tools” and a couple of lesbians, all of whom are on the hunt.

Even though we pretty much know going in that Lucas will solve the case and there will be lots of action, some witty dialogue, and more information about what makes Lucas tick, it is a fun ride.

I always love the scenes where Lucas has to fly, and is sure every takeoff and/or landing will result in a fiery crash. I also love the way he dives into the local cultural quirks – this time, in the South. “He went to sleep thinking about gRita and especially okra. Who in God’s name was the first guy to stick an okra in his mouth? Must have been a brave man, or starving to death…”

Then there are the vivid descriptions, as when he goes to interview a good old boy who lives with his cockatoo in a small house: “The place smelled heavily of Campbell’s Chunky Hearty Bean with Ham soup, a touch of the consequent flatulence, with a subtle overtone of newspaper-and-bird-shit.”

Like I said, it’s a fun ride. Sandford’s books are reliable entertainment, and this one is no exception. It’s more than four stars for sure, but not quite five stars, as the complex chase required a few too many turns that bordered on deus ex machina. I’ve been told I am a “way too easy”  grader, so it’s gotta be four stars!