Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lucas Davenport Returns to His First Case

This is the twenty-first John Sandford novel to feature Minnesota detective Lucas Davenport, and it's one of the best books in a truly great series.

Twenty-five years ago, Davenport was a beat cop with a taste for fine clothes, fast cars and attractive women. He was also smart, ambitious and determined to excell, preferably as a detective, but if not, perhaps as a lawyer. He gets the chance to prove himself when two young girls go missing. Lucas, along with some other patrolmen, is assigned temporarily to plain clothes to assist in the investigation.

Davenport is determined to make the most of the opportunity and he attracts the attention of a powerful patron who's impressed with Davenport's early work on the case. Sadly, though, the missing girls are never found. A suspect is identified and the case is declared closed, although Davenport is not entirely comfortable with the official solution to the crime.

In the years that follow, Lucas becomes a local legend and becomes the most brilliant detective the state of Minnesota has ever produced, occasionally bending the rules and sometimes meting out his own rough justice, but always getting results. Through the years, he has risen through the ranks and is now head of the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. And finally, after all that time, the bodies of the two missing girls are uncovered, buried under a concrete slab in a building that is being demolished.

Davenport finally has the chance to revisit the crime that got him started as a detective and the solution to which has always bothered him. This time, he will let nothing stand between himself and the truth, no matter the consequences.

The consequences are indeed painful, and those readers who have followed this series since Rules of Prey are in for a great ride. Like all of Sandford's books, this one has great comic moments that never detract from the serious business at hand. It has some great action scenes, a very interesting climax, and in the end, it may just break your heart. But once you start it, you won't put it down and you'll never forget it.        

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