Is there anything more memorable – during your teenage years – than losing your virginity*? Don’t answer that. Or do, actually, if you are brave enough. How about losing your virginity while being subjected to a horrible smell that happens to be 17 bodies rotting in a nearby cistern? That, fellow readers, must take the literary cake for worst first sexual experience. Thank you, John Sandford. What would I do without you?
(Lose my virginity without gagging?)
The answer is… I might be lost. John Sandford is one of the most consistent, intriguing mystery writers out there. In Lucas Davenport, he has created a character that’s spanned 24 novels without seeming overdone. There is not another writer who has managed to do that, in my opinion*.
Field of Prey begins with Layton Carlson Jr. finally losing his virginity. Only it really does smell bad. The spot is perfect, but the smell… He tells a county deputy and together they go look. What they find will throw the state of Minnesota crime into turmoil – an abandoned cistern containing at least 17 congealed, decaying bodies. Lucas Davenport, an officer of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is called in to see how he can assist. And after the lead investigator is killed, his assistance is no longer quite so voluntary…(at the governor’s insistence).
One of the things Sandford has done most successfully is age Lucas. He is still who he always was – well-dressed, intelligent, smartass – but he has a great relationship with his family, especially his adopted daughter, and he has grown into his role at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Basically, he didn’t stay exactly as he’s always been, which is almost remarkable among today’s popular series. What he has created in Field of Prey is an intense mystery-thriller with an interesting plot and excellent pacing. Have some of the plot lines been seen before? Sure. But criminals aren’t the most creative bunch, so it’s only natural that there are common elements. We know who the killer is from the beginning and it’s interesting to watch the investigators piece it together, bit by bit. Ultimately, it’s – and this is one of my least favorite, but approprate terms – a page turner.
While reading all 24 books may leave you wondering if there is anyone alive in Minnesota, it really is a pleasure to experience the evolution of Lucas Davenport. Sandford is one of the few mystery-thriller writers I am devoted to and Field of Prey proves my devotion is not unfounded. 4/5.
Obviously mystery-thrillers are outside my usual reading comfort zone, but I brought it on vacation with me and loved it. Do you read any special genres on vacation? I usually like something a little lighter, like Field of Prey (as silly as that sounds, it’s a fun book). Less intense than Stephen King (who is also a big Sandford fan…).
Pair this with what Lucas knows well: Barbecue (North Carolina Pulled Pork, since I get to choose).”Lucas exercised, but inefficiently, running frequently, but not every day, playing basketball and senior hockey. Lucas had once had a reputation for chasing skirts; and catching them. He had a daughter out of wedlock, two children from his only marriage, and an adopted daughter. He’d drink a beer in the evening, and knew his barbeque.”
*To be honest, I had a few experiences that were actually a bit more memorable.
**Full disclosure: I’ve never read another series that has 24 entries AND I received a copy of this novel in exchange for review.