I’m on a roll with some books that feature a lot of action, starting with John Sandford’s latest in the Lucas Davenport series, Stolen Prey. It’s a great read and Sandford keeps the tension high and the action coming. Particularly cool is that the plot features his adopted daughter, Letty. Letty was the smart but wild (bordering on the feral) 12-year-old introduced in 2004’s Naked Prey. You’ll note it’s been eight years, but Letty (and presumably Lucas) has only aged three years.
Generally, it’s not critical to read the Davenport series in order – each one is strong enough to stand on its own – and while many of the characters evolve, it’s not a giant deal since the plots are pretty Lucas-centric. In this case, however, I definitely would recommend going back and reading Naked Prey if you haven’t had the pleasure. In that novel, Letty is a surprisingly fresh and fully realized character, maybe a bit over-quirky, as a child who has grown up fast because she had to. She and Lucas develop a bond and it’s no surprise when, after Letty’s mother is killed, she comes home with him.
Fast forward a few years, and in Stolen Prey, Letty’s a teenager. Dealing with her mother’s death wasn’t easy, but high school is a snap and she loves her new family, including baby boy Sam. She’s sympathetic and somewhat vengeful when dad Davenport is mugged at the ATM. And she’s quick-thinking and ruthless when Mexican hit men target Davenport in an effort to prevent him from solving the murder of a software entrepreneur and his family.
The crime story in Stolen Prey is inventive and engaging, and while many authors go with the first person POV in this type of novel, Sandford really makes the most the third person and multiple points of view. The suspense builds throughout and the threat feels very real. The book is fast-paced and violent, and if you like your crime on the cozy side, it’s not for you. If you’re made of sterner stuff, you’ll enjoy this one.
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