Series: Prey #9
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A wealthy banker is dead, shot once in the chest during a hunting trip. There are many reasons for him to be killed and many people who would do the deed. Lucas Davenport has an idea of who did it. But this "routine" murder investigation is about to turn into something different--a cat-and-mouse game with a killer who does not hesitate to take the fight to Lucas himself--and those he loves.
Review by Travis Starnes
Secret Prey is the 9th book in the Lucas Davenport series and this time he is trying to find out why the CEO of a bank was murdered. While the main plotline follows this search for truth we also have the fallout of Lucas’s troubled relationship with Weather and the personal drama that comes with it.
Davenport books come in two flavors, adventure/thriller style and mystery. The adventure/thriller style books we already know who the villain is and even most of their motive. In those it is more about the chase between the crook and Davenport rather than a mystery. Then there are the books that are mystery, or at least semi-mystery, where the reader has to figure out who the criminal is along with Davenport. Secret Prey, as the name might imply, definitely falls in that second camp. Not only do you not know who the killer is but Sandford sends out all kinds of red herrings to throw you off the trail. For all of the Davenport books I have read to this point Secret Prey might have the best mystery so far. I honestly had no idea who the killer was until about a chapter before the reveal. Sandford does an excellent job of keeping you guessing in this book.
The usual cast of characters is back and all as enjoyable as before, although Davenport’s melancholy gets a little annoying after a while. It is of course perfectly in place for the character but it distracts from the rest of the book. Luckily they give him a distraction half way through that pulls him out of the dive. The new side characters, essentially a cast of red herrings, are all really pretty enjoyable. They are each devious in their own way and I really got into their story at times.
While the pacing of this book is pretty good, I kept wondering “where is this going”. I would get say half way through the book, and it would look like the mystery was wrapping up which seemed strange considering there was so much book left. The same thing happened again when I was about 75% of the way through the book. It kept feeling like it was wrapping up only to quickly unwrap itself again. While this did keep me on my toes, and was actually a little fun, it did pull me out of the story a bit since it was obvious that wasn’t the end of the book.
If you haven’t read any of the Davenport story yet this really isn’t the one to start with. The mystery is all self-contained but all the interpersonal stuff will miss a lot without context from earlier titles in the series. Still, if you are a reader of the Davenport series this is well worth picking up.