Penzler Pick, June 2000: Easy Prey
is the 11th mystery to feature Lucas Davenport, who began his career back in Rules of Prey
as a maverick homicide detective reminiscent of "Dirty Harry" Callahan. He did things his way and was often at odds with his superiors in the Minneapolis Police Department. Since those early days, Davenport has mellowed a little, and his background as a computer game-designing, Porsche-driving womanizer has been somewhat reduced. Possibly age has become a factor, or it may be the fact that Davenport has been deputy chief since the sixth book in the series, Night Prey
. The character may have changed, but the writing has remained consistently taut: the bad guys creepy, the mysteries suspenseful.
In this newest episode, Davenport is called to a house after an A-list party has taken place there. Alie'e Maison, a top model, has been found strangled, and evidence shows that she ingested drugs and recently made love--most probably to a woman. Before Lucas leaves the house, things get even more complicated: a second body is found stuffed in a closet with a deep dent in the skull. In addition, one of Lucas's own men had been at the party and is now a suspect.
As always, Lucas's own life is not exempt from complications. An ex-lover comes back into his world--a woman he has never been able to forget--and she has secrets of her own. Also making an appearance this time out is a childhood friend to whom he turns for advice about women and life. Sister Mary Joseph, born Elle Kruger, is a professor of psychology and one of the computer brains who helps Lucas design his software. He calls her Nun the Wiser, and he often turns to her for spiritual as well as more concrete advice. Lucas is going to need all the help he can get to unravel his case as secrets pile upon secrets and the ground constantly shifts under his feet.
Easy Prey is another powerful link in this chain of muscular, exciting thrillers by one of the most distinguished practitioners in the field. --Otto Penzler
From Publishers Weekly
The throaty voice of veteran audiobook reader Conger lends Sanford's latest Lucas Davenport thriller a sense of immediacy. Minneapolis detective Davenport is called to a wealthy socialite's house, where the bodies of a supermodel and another woman have been found in a bedroom after a party. Shortly afterwards, relatives and associates of the model, who came from a humble Minnesota town, begin experiencing grisly deaths. With suspects that range from the model's ultrareligious brother to a suspected drug runner, the story takes several unsuspected twists before its resolution. Conger handles the text perfectly, sounding as if he has a coffee cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other while rendering the staccato and often obscene language of Sanford's rough-hewn characters. The recording also inserts background sound effects in interesting, albeit seemingly random, situations to enhance its presentation. A subplot involving Davenport's romantic interludes is tiresome and extraneous, but Conger's excellent rendition of the investigation's many turns will keep listeners engaged to the end. Based on the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Mar. 20). (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.