Night Prey is another excellent detective /crime thriller from John Sandford.
I am starting to think that the stories are elevated when there is a serial killer involved, rather than some mundane group involved in crimes. The author has this way of making the protagonists vivid and reprehensible at the same time. They are invariably smart but their innate behaviour brings them down eventually. It is like looking at train wreck — you know something gross is going to happen but you can’t just help looking at it. This time, the killer is a guy called Koop. Koop is almost as great a villain as Bekker was, except that he if far more physical.
John Sandford doesn’t just stop with creating an excellent protagonist. He also ends up adding two characters — Meagon Connell and Greaves.
Meagon is a state investigator who is leading a one woman crusade to bring down Koop. Indeed, she is the one responsible for identifying the presence of a serial killer. She is one of those rare women in the series that Lucas Davenport doesn’t try to lay. This is because she is as smart as he is, as tough and is dying of cancer. Her one wish is to nail this killer before she passes. Though her ending is predictable, I found her character to stand out as well as being a great foil to Lucas.
Greaves is a cop who is assigned to work with Lucas. He is a bumbling sort, not great with people, but good in his own right. I hope he continues to be a main stay in the series. I liked how he is self-aware (he knows he got the job because he is related to the mayor), but at the same time, he is trying to give it all despite being assigned the worst cases in homicide.
I think I am going to make a list of things that this series has been good at so far and copy/past it wherever needed. I just realised that I am not covering all the great aspects of the book and am instead focusing only on the differences from the others, which means that the book ends up being reviewed in a relative sense and not in an absolute sense. So here goes
- brilliant detective work as always. There aren’t any gotchas but rather the routine grind of police work that saves the day (with one or two believable intuitive leaps)
- Lucas is becoming less of an ass with each book. I am in two minds about it since this dilution of his character makes him less unique.
- the action is fantastic and there are places in the book where it feels like you are in the Fugitive or any other classic thriller.