Silken Prey is the 23rd in the John Sandford‘s Lucas Davenport series, and I think the series might be getting a bit worn. Fans are sure to disagree, but this particular outing is low on suspense and high on watching the plot unfold. Political dirty tricks are even dirtier than usual when rich, beautiful, and sociopathic Taryn Grant runs for the Senate. Incumbent Porter Smalls looks like he’s going to win the race, but Grant’s team frames him by placing child pornography on his computer. The next thing you know, his lead disappears, Grant’s speeding to the Senate, and there’s a string of dead bodies. Davenport ‘s working for the governor to get to the truth, but he always seems to be a step or two behind.
Compadres Virgil Flowers and Joe Kidd give a hand, and there’s a brief side plot featuring Kidd’s wife Lauren, but all in all, things don’t work out particularly well for anyone besides former Secret Service agent Alice Green, who’ll make the leap to Governor Henderson’s staff, and for Taryn Grant herself who gets to keep her ill-gotten Senate seat and will probably show up as an evildoer in a future Sandford book.
Silken Prey is not one of Sandford’s most compelling novels. It’s clear from early on who the bad guys are, nobody you care about is in any particular danger, and it’s a foregone conclusion that all of Grant’s accomplices are going to end up dead, not just because she’s a smart, scheming, conniving sociopath, but because the whole book will fall apart if any of them are left alive. Still, the story’s okay, the familiar banter among is as comfortable as old jeans, and it’s a fun way to spend an early summer afternoon on the porch. Wine and cheese optional, but heartily recommended.