Top critical review
42 of 44 people found this helpful
Fair...that really sums it up.
on June 1, 2004
I've read all of Sandford's previous PREY novels as well as his KIDD novels; at this point, the KIDD novels, particularly the last two offerings, are easily the better reads, in my opinion. While the PREY novels are noted for simple yet intriguing storylines, HIDDEN PREY goes the opposite direction. Sandford decides to take an improbable storyline, a rather complex one at that, and tones down our hero, Lucas Davenport. In the end, this makes for a very apathetic read, particularly if you've enjoyed the sharp edge of Davenport in novels past.
HIDDEN PREY begins with the murder of a Russian merchant marine, or so it seems. Soon thereafter, a homeless woman is garroted, the site extremely gruesome. What appears to be two unrelated murders turns into an apparent murder/cover-up and Lucas Davenport is called in to begin an investigation. Lucas is partnered with a Russian "police officer," sent over by Moscow to oversee the investigation of the murdered Russian. Lucas smells a rat immediately and, throughout the book, peppers the Russian officer for information and "why" she's truly there.
So as not to spoil the remaining plot...Sandford is obviously sending Davenport through middle age. He is mellowing Lucas and dulling his previously sharp edge. And, while this may follow the chronology of 15 previous PREY novels (i.e. Lucas aging), it is not why most people read fiction. Although there are bursts of brutality and violence, the vast majority of the book traces the witness/suspect interrogation lines and a painfully slow amalgamation of puzzle pieces in an effort to solve the crimes. And, not to counteract the lack of suspense, even the climax fails to thrill.
Sandford laid his claim to fiction with the first few PREY novels; Spillaneish in their simplicity and Parkerish in their character builds. Davenport was a tough, no-nonsense cop who would tread on the imaginary line in the sand to catch the bad guy; almost no cost too great. Well, we now have a more retiring figure to deal with in Davenport. And, while this too can produce good storylines, it is something PREY fans will have to adjust to: not an easy transition, to be sure.