Friday, January 30, 2015

Lucas Davenport Chases a Phantom

When a widow named Alyssa Austin arrives home one afternoon, she discovers that the home security system has been disarmed. She retrieves her .38 Smith & Wesson from the glove compartment of her Mercedes and gingerly makes her way into the house. Neither her daughter, Frances, nor their housekeeper, Helen, is home, and when Alyssa flips on the lights in the kitchen she discovers blood stains on the wall that someone has tried unsuccessfully to clean away.

Helen, the housekeeper, eventually shows up; Frances, the daughter, does not. The police discover that the blood is Frances's type and she is officially listed as a missing person. But there was clearly a lot of blood and the assumption is that she is probably dead.

Alyssa is a wealthy and politically-connected woman. Among her friends is Weather Karkinnen, the wife of Lucas Davenport who, in turn, is head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Alyssa reaches out to Weather who appeals to Lucas to look into the case. At the moment, Lucas has nothing major on his plate. He's on the hunt for a drug dealer, but this mostly involves hanging around a stakeout with Del Capslock, watching the drug dealer's sexy naked wife parade around their apartment.

Lucas tears himself away from this difficult duty to investigate the disappearance and possible murder of Frances Austin. He discovers that the young woman was into the Twin Cities Goth scene, and as he begins to probe into the case, a couple more Goths who were in Frances's circle are also murdered. Before long, all hell is breaking loose and Davenport is up to his neck in danger and trouble.

This is a very good read, although I don't think it's among the best of the Prey series. There's a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo going on here, and the villain is not as interesting as many of Sandford's others. Still, there's a lot of action and great humor along the way and, as always, it's fun to watch Davenport and his team work the case. Shrake and Jenkins are in particularly good form, and no fan of the series will want to miss this one.

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