A savage psychopath is playing cat and mouse with Lucas Davenport. But both killer and detective find themselves at odds with a female investigator who has intensely personal reasons for catching the killer herself-and fast.
The pseudonymous Sandford (he's Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp) keeps turning out better and better thrillers. In this sixth entry in his Prey series, streetwise Minneapolis deputy police chief Lucas Davenport is beleaguered by perplexing females. Charged with saving the political life of Rose Marie Roux, the ambitious police chief who has her eye on a Senate seat, he's given the assignment of tracking to ground the sex-crazed perpetrator of a series of murders of young women. Davenport's unwelcome colleague in this case is feminist Meagan Connell, an abrasive State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator who's obsessed with catching the killer before she dies of cancer. Also bedeviled by the ill-timed assignment of a new partner, a yuppie who was formerly assigned to the grade schools as ``Officer Friendly'' and who happens to be the husband of the mayor's niece, Davenport is additionally saddled with the mystifying death of an elderly woman who died rather conveniently, freeing some local hoods to profit from a real-estate scam. Juxtaposing the dark consciousness of the sex-fixated murderer against the narrative perspective of Davenport, Sandford builds a compelling counter-rhythm of suspense. The narrative is sensitively embued with Davenport's humaneness as, in awe, he watches Connell courageously fight to postpone her impending death. Yet, credibly flawed, the cop also displays a roving eye when he's momentarily distracted from his deep commitment to the lovely physician Weather Karkinnen by a beautiful and seductive TV anchor. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; Mystery Guild alternate.