Extreme Prey by John Sandford

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Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Lucas Davenport may no longer be in the police, but he is still the go-to guy when the Governor needs someone to track down an assassin. Join the maverick ex-cop in one of his most thrilling adventures yet.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: December 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 97814711602119

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Making a long running series evolve organically is a very tricky business; a character that has been around for 26 books, and nearly as many years, is not going to be the same person that started out. Age catches up with us all and many crime writer have come up against the problem of retirement; not their own, but that of their character. Why is a 70 year old still out chasing criminals and shooting things? Lucas Davenport is a character who has always been a maverick, doing what he wants, therefore quitting the police was never going to stop him.

Several months after walking out of an important job with the Minnesota Special Bureau, Davenport has spent enough time improving his holiday cabin and is up for a challenge. Thankfully his years of accumulated friends means that he is always in demand. When the Governor calls asking for a favour, Davenport is very interested. Can he use his experience to track down a possible assassin before they strike at a presidential hopeful?

I find it hard to overestimate how impressive a crime thriller writer John Sandford is. This is an author who has written well over forty books, but is still knocking them out of the park. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Sandford was savvy enough to realise that his key character of Davenport was stuck in a rut and the books going stale. Therefore, cometh the hour, cometh the change. In this case Gathering Prey, in which our hero quit. This has allowed Sandford the chance to organically evolve Davenport, his role in Extreme Prey takes on a more national importance, therefore opening up the opportunities even further.

That is the future, what about the present? Extreme is one of the best in the series. Like with so many of the books it splits itself between criminal and crime fighter. We follow Davenport as he hunts down a family intent on misguided revenge. What lifts Sandford's work is the fallibility he gives his characters. Davenport may be a staple, but each Prey novel has a wonderful cameo from a credible criminal who has their reasons for what they are doing. In this case, the family in question are almost sad, if they were not so dangerous. You can empathise with their position, without having to agree with it.

As well as having a compelling criminal gang and a great protagonist, Extreme is also perhaps the most thrilling book in the series. There's a timeframe element to the book and the final section in particular is nail biting. For a series to be 26 books and counting; and still be this fresh and exciting is a triumph for a writer who continues to evolve the books, without ruining what made them great in the first place. A new reader can start here is they wish as it works as a standalone story- I envy them the other 25 books they will get to discover.

The Prey series as a whole is a triumph, so why not pick up some more; Gathering Prey? Or try his crime master elect - Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen.

Buy Extreme Prey by John Sandford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Extreme Prey by John Sandford at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Extreme Prey by John Sandford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Extreme Prey by John Sandford at Amazon.com.


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