5 stars out of 5
He's filthy rich, favors designer duds and fancy cars and has friends in very high places. And he's going places as well; no longer with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Lucas Davenport has signed on as a U.S. Marshal - and thanks to the aforementioned friends, the job comes with a whole lot of latitude. That may not endear him to his new coworkers, but it means he can pretty much do things his own way (as if he didn't before).
He's also more than a little bored; as he puts it, he wants to "hunt." In this, the 27th book in this series, he gets his chance and then some. The adventure begins after a drug cartel's counting house in Biloxi, Mississippi, is robbed. That alone might have been considered poetic justice by some in law enforcement, but in the process of stealing millions, the robbers kill five people - one an innocent six-year-old. So it is that Lucas gets the call to action, telling his cosmetic surgeon wife Weather as he packs up that he might be gone for two or three weeks.
Of course, simple cases are not the stuff great books are made of. As it turns out here, Lucas and his team aren't the only ones trying to find the robbers; the cartel folks don't take kindly to losing tons of money and want it back with human interest. One of the assassins they turn loose is a nasty character with a penchant for torturing victims in especially gruesome ways (hint: she's known as the "queen of home-improvement tools"). The story follows the two factions out to find the robbers, neither of whom, at least in the beginning, is aware that the other exists. When that reality hits - and the robbers learn they're being chased by two factions for very different reasons - the action really picks up steam.
As usual, dead bodies are plentiful, the characters are colorful and the dialog is snappy and sometimes downright amusing. One of my favorite lines, for instance, comes from white-knuckle flyer Lucas as he's forced to take a puddle-jumper airplane ride from Mississippi to Texas:
"If I had my choice between flying to El Paso or getting a colonoscopy, I'd have to think about it."
Bottom line? Another terrific installment in one of my all-time favorite series. Already, I'm chomping at the bit to read the next one!
Golden Prey by John Sandford (G.P. Putnam's Sons, April 2017); 399 pp.