This is the 20th of John Sandford's "Prey" novels, featuring Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport and his band of merry, lethal, smart men. Perhaps it's fitting then, that this book is a marathon rather than a sprint... a down-to-earth, detailed police procedural rather than the edge-of-your-seat tension that you sometimes get with the Sandford books.
But that's part of the draw of this series... it's not just the same book over and over. I can actually remember the plots from these books, and how the characters have matured and changed. That's a good thing.
For me, the most appealing thing about the Prey series -- heck, all of the Sandford books -- is that the protagonists are smart and they catch the bad guys because the bad guys are dumb. No criminal master-minds here. Sure, things get pretty violent sometimes, but Davenport and his crew generally manage to avoid a lot of brawn by using brain. For me, the best line of the book was when Virgil Flowers tells Davenport that it's good Davenport's state squad is barging in on a Minneapolis investigation. "The point remains," Virgil said. "Never hurts to have a little more IQ on the job." Sometimes, it seems like the world wants to completely ignore the tremendous truth there is in that statement.
Sandford's dialogue is nitty and gritty and rings absolutely true, and his prose enfolds it so seamlessly that it's entirely possible to sit down with one of his books and find that you've finished it four hours later, without really knowing just how that happened. After those four hours, I finished this book feeling better about the world, and that's not something you can say about most novels, either. It feels good to remember that men and women like the ones in this book do exist -- courageous, dutiful, scatalogical, funny, determined and smart.
Can't wait for the next one!