They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.
Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.
by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #25
Mystery / Crime
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
April 28, 2015
Lucas Davenport. I have been reading the stories surrounding this fictional homicide detective/serial killer hunter extraordinaire, from the very beginning with his debut titled, Rules of Prey, way back in 1990. Twenty five books, twenty five years-at least when this was released in 2015. I recently received the twenty sixth book, Extreme Prey, and realized I had missed reading this one, so I hurried and bought it to listen to. I thought it might take me awhile-not even close-once started I could barely stop listening. After so many books, some authors would be stale by now, not so with John Sandford.
As with any of Sandford’s Prey books, this one abounds with exciting moments, lots of action and great characters. By now I feel like I know not only Lucas, but also Weather, his surgeon wife, and Letty, his feisty, older than her age, adopted daughter. It’s like sitting down with old friends to share a story. And what a story this one is! This time Letty is front and center, after she friends a “traveler” couple-homeless, but organized and better equippted. When the guy that Skye travels with disappears, Skye calls Letty to ask for her help with finding him. There’s a “devil” that travels around all the various gatherings that the “travelers” hang out at, and Skye feels sure that the “devil”, also known at Pilate, has murdered her friend. Pilate travels with a group that are called disciples, and their idea of fun is to torture, leading to the death of people they pick for just that purpose. The reader is privy to the perspectives of not only Lucas, but also Letty, and even Pilate, among a few others.
Sandford is a true master storyteller, one whose books are always best sellers. He has stayed true to his writing of Lucas, as he ages with each book, goes through job changes and relationship changes, although I am glad he seems to be settled with Weather now. Sandfords use of the group known as “jugaloos” and their gatherings as a backdrop for parts of this book was pretty fascinating, as well. The group paints their faces with clown makeup and mostly listen to music and smoke dope. Usually the gatherings are pretty peaceful, but with a maniac and his disciples, complete with clown makeup, running amok among them, it made for some of the more suspenseful moments. It wasn’t until I finished the book that I found out that “jugaloos” and their gatherings really exist. Pretty interesting stuff!
I found the narration by Richard Ferrone to be fairly good. The female voices weren’t the best I have heard, however. The only other thing that stood out for me as a bit bad, was Sandford’s use of the word said. Said, said, said, it was pretty constant and drove me a bit batty with it. I’ve never noticed that while listening to any other book, as I did with this one.
Davenport’s manhunt spans at least three, maybe four states, before he’s done. I couldn’t stop listening as Sandford wove a tale that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I highly recommend this to adult mystery/thriller readers, adult due to the level of violence and language, not sexual situations.
The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer.
About John Sandford
John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master’s degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He’s also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archaeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at http://www.rehov.org. In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.