When a person vanishes and the body never turns up the usual assumption by law enforcement is that the person took off for a better life somewhere else. This is especially true if the missing person is female, young, and living in a place with limited opportunity. If it wasn't for a young couple by the name of Layton Carlson, Jr., and his girlfriend, Ginger, who needed somewhere private to park for a long anticipated romantic encounter the bodies in the cistern on the long abandoned farm might never have been found.
But, thanks to the horrendous smell and the fact that Layton thinks something bad happened out there and won’t let it go they are finally found. Layton has a best friend who has an older brother that is a deputy for Goodhue County and together the two of them make the grisly discovery. Despite the fact that the body count in the cistern quickly climbs above a dozen Lucas Davenport of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul, Minnesota is slow to get involved. The case is going to be a long grind and therefore will be run by another member of the BCA, Bob Shaffer, as Lucas dealing with a more pressing problem involving the Bryan case.
While he may look at the crime scene at the cistern and the reports, his focus is on Bryan. He had been running an investment company that, as a few others in recent years were, happened to be nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme. Out on bail with an ankle monitor that suddenly went dead, his expensive convertible parked near a well-known river falls with a driver’s seat full of blood, Bryan has vanished. Some believe with no sign of his body that he is alive and well overseas. Others believe he is very much dead and a victim of his criminality. Either way he has to be found and that will take precedence for several weeks and a good chunk of the novel.
Field of Prey continues the tradition of a number of recent novels in this series from John Sandford where readers know from the beginning most of the details of the identities of the killers. Character development is nonexistent as most of these characters are very familiar to series readers and were fully fleshed out long ago. The exception is Davenport's young daughter Letty who remains wise far beyond her years and who takes an active role in the case at crime scenes as well as staff meetings. So much so one wonders if a possible spinoff series featuring her as she embarks on a career in law enforcement is an idea being entertained by the author.
The chase remains the thing and that is true in the two primary cases as well as the secondary cases that make up Field of Prey. As always violence and language are present in this book in large and graphic amounts as well as in the series so those who prefer the violence offstage and the language to be absent of curse words and respectful of others are again advised to look elsewhere for their reading material. The book delivers another good read in the long running series.
Field of Prey
Thorndike Press (Gale Cengage Learning)
Large Print Hardback (Hardback, e-book, and audio versions available)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
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