Twisted Prey outlet sale (A Prey wholesale Novel) online

Twisted Prey outlet sale (A Prey wholesale Novel) online

Twisted Prey outlet sale (A Prey wholesale Novel) online

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Description

Product Description

Lucas Davenport confronts an old nemesis, now a powerful U.S. senator, in this thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling new novel in the Prey series.

Lucas Davenport had crossed paths with her before.

A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she''d fit right in. He was also convinced that she''d been responsible for three murders, though he''d never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.

He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he''s heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she''s made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.

But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end.

Review

“[Lucas Davenport] is a hero for these perilous times…”— The New York Times Book Review

Praise for Twisted Prey

“Thoroughly entertaining...a deadly cat-and-mouse game that will keep the reader turning the pages up to the exciting climax.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One of the best in an always-strong series. Given the current geopolitical reality, it’s timely, too, and the conclusion is a rockin’ ‘didn’t see that coming’ beauty.”— Booklist

More Praise for John Sandford and the Prey series

“It appears there is no limit to John Sandford''s ability to keep new breath and blood flowing into his Lucas Davenport series. This is a series you must be reading if you are not already.”—Bookreporter.com

“If you haven''t read Sandford yet, you have been missing one of the great summer-read novelists of all time.”—Stephen King

“Sandford has always been at the top of any list of great mystery writers. His writing and the appeal of his lead character are as fresh as ever.”— The Huffington Post

“Sandford is consistently brilliant.”— Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. He is the author of twenty-eight Prey novels; four Kidd novels; ten Virgil Flowers novels; three YA novels co-authored with his wife, Michele Cook; and three other books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
 
            “Tired?”
            Porter Smalls looked across the front seat at the driver. The summer foliage was dark around the Cadillac Escalade as they rolled up the dirt lane. The south branch of the Potomac River snaked along below them; the windows were down and the muddy/fishy odor of the river filled the car.
            “A bit – in a good way,” Cecily Whitehead said.
            Whitehead had taken a cold shower in the cabin’s well-water shortly before they left, and dabbed on a touch of Chanel No. 5 as she dressed. The combined odor of the two scents was more than pleasant, it was positively erotic.
            “I’ll drive if you want,” Smalls offered. He was a small man, like his name, thin and fit, looked like he might have spent time on a mountain bike. He had white hair that curled down over the collar of his golf shirt, too-white veneered teeth, and rimless made-for-television glasses over pale blue eyes.
            “No, I’m fine,” Whitehead said. She buckled her seatbelt over her shimmery slip-dress, that in earlier days might have gotten her arrested if she’d worn it out of her bedroom. “You finished the wine – if we got stopped for some reason...”
            “Right,” Smalls said.
            He kicked the seat back another couple of inches, crossed his hands across his stomach and closed his eyes.
 
            Above them, in the trees, a man had been watching with binoculars. When the silver SUV rolled down the driveway, past the mailbox, and made the left turn onto the dirt lane, he lifted a walkie-talkie to his face and said, “I’ll be home for dinner.”
            A walkie-talkie, because if nobody within three miles was on exactly the same channel at exactly the right time, there’d be no trace of the call; nothing for even the NSA to latch onto. Nor would there be any trace of the five rapid clicks he got back, acknowledging the message.
            He was on foot, with his pick-up spot a half-mile away. He’d walked in on a game trail and he walked out the same way, moving slowly, stopping every hundred feet to watch and listen. He’d never sat down while on watch, but had remained standing next to the gnarly gray bark of an aging ash: there’d be no observation post for anyone to find, no discarded cigarette butts or candy wrappers with DNA on them. He’d worn smooth-soled boots: no treads marks in the soft earth.
            He was a professional.
 
            U.S. Senator Porter Smalls owned a cabin in the hills of West Virginia, two and a half hours from Washington, D.C. – close enough to be an easy drive, far enough to obscure activities that might need to be obscured.
            He and Whitehead, one of his wife’s best friends – his wife was back in Minnesota – had locked up the place and headed back to DC as the sun wedged itself below the horizon on a hot Sunday afternoon. The timing was deliberate: they would enjoy the cover of darkness when she dropped him off at his Watergate condo.
            Smalls and Whitehead had spent an invigorating two days talking about political philosophy, history, horses, money, life and mutual friends, while they worked their way through Smalls’ battered ‘80s paperback copy of The Joy of Sex.
            Smalls was married, Whitehead not, but she drove the car because of a kind of Washington logic concerning sex and alcohol. A little light adultery, while not considered a necessarily positive thing in Washington, was certainly not to be compared as a criminal offense with a DWI. Banging an adult male or live woman might – maybe – get you a paragraph on a Washington Post blog. God help you if Mothers Against Drunk Driving jumped your elective ass.
            So Whitehead drove.
            A fifty-year-old political junkie and Republican Party money-woman, Whitehead was thin and tanned and freckled, with short dark hair so expertly colored you couldn’t tell that it had been – the occasional strands of gray gave it a sly verisimilitude. She had a square chin and looked a bit like Amelia Earhart. Like Earhart, she flew her own plane, in Whitehead’s case, a twin engine Beechcraft King Air. She owned a mansion on one of Minneapolis’ lakes, and a two-thousand acre farm south of the Twin Cities, on which she raised Tennessee Walkers.
            Smalls’ wife didn’t know for sure that Whitehead was sleeping with her husband, and the topic had never come up. For the past four years, Smalls’ wife had been living with her Lithuanian lover in a loft in downtown Minneapolis, a topic that had come up between them any number of times.
            Lithuanians were known as the sexual athletes of Northern Europe. Smalls was aware of that fact, but no longer cared what his wife did, as long as she didn’t do it in the streets. Actually, he hoped she was happy, because he was still fond of the mother of his children. He made a mental note to take her to dinner the next time he was in the Twin Cities.
 
            “Be there by ten,” Whitehead said.
            “I’ve got that dimwit Clancy at noon,” Smalls said, not opening his eyes.
            “Dim, but persistent,” Whitehead said. “He told Perez that if Medtronic gets the VA deal, that Abbott will have to cut jobs in his district. Perez believes him. It might even be true.”
            “Tough shit,” Smalls said. “If Abbott gets it, Medtronic might have to cut people. That ain’t gonna happen. Not when Porter Smalls knows that our beloved majority leader has that backdoor job at Rio Javelena.”
            “If you ever mention that to him, he’ll find some way to stick something sharp and nasty up your rectum.”
            Smalls smiled: “Why, Ceecee... you don’t think I’d ever actually mention it to him, do you?”
            Whitehead squeezed his knee. “I hope to hell not. No, I don’t think you’d do that. How are you gonna let him know that you know?”
            “Kitten will think of something,” Smalls said.
            Whitehead smiled into the growing darkness, their headlights ricocheting through the roadside trees. Kitten Carter, Smalls’ chief of staff, would think of something. She and Whitehead talked a couple of times a week, plotting together the greater glory of the U.S.A. in general and Porter Smalls in particular.
            Whitehead was a lifelong yoga enthusiast and show horse competitor. She had a strong body, strong legs and arms, and for a woman, large strong hands. She wheeled the Escalade up the track faster than most people might have, staining the evening air with dust and gravel. She’d spent much of her life on farms, shoveling horse shit with the best of them, driving trucks and tractors, and knew what she was doing, keeping the twenty-two inch wheels solidly in the twin tracks.
            A half-mile down the river, the track crossed a state-maintained gravel road, and with a bare glance to her left, she hooked the truck to the right and leaned on the gas pedal.
 
            A few minutes later, they topped a hill, and in the distance, Whitehead could see a string of lights on a highway that would take them to the Interstate that would take them into Washington. The river still unwound below them, below a long slope, the last fifty feet sharpening into a bluff.
            A minute later, Whitehead said, “What an asshole. This jerk is all over me.”
            “What?” Smalls had almost dozed off. Now he pushed himself up, aware that the truck’s cabin was flooded with light. He turned in his seat. A pickup – he thought it was a pickup, given the height of the headlights – wasn’t more than fifteen or twenty feet behind them, as they rolled along the gravel at fifty miles an hour.
            He said, “I don’t like this.”
            At the crest of the hill, the truck swung out into the left lane and accelerated and Smalls said, “Hey, hey!”
            Whitehead floored the gas pedal, but too late. Too late. The truck swung into them, smashed the side of the Escalade, which went off the road, through roadside brush and trees, across a ditch and down the precipitous hillside. Instead of trying to pull the truck back up the hillside, which would have caused it to roll sideways, Whitehead turned downhill, for a second, then said, her voice sharp, “Hold on, Porter, I’m gonna try to hit a tree. Keep your arms up in case the airbag blows...”
            Smalls lifted his arms and the car bounced and bucked across the hill, heading sharply down toward the bluff below as Whitehead pumped the brakes. He didn’t actually think it, but Smalls knew in his gut that they only had a few seconds to live.
            They hit a line of saplings, plowed through them, hit a tree that must have been six inches in diameter, breaking it cleanly off. The impact caused the truck to skew sideways while plowing forward and now Smalls felt Whitehead hit the accelerator and the engine screamed as the oversized tires tried to dig into the hillside and he realized that she was barking with each impact: “ Ay, ay, ay, ay...”
            They were still angling downhill, but less steeply now. They hit another small tree, and the vehicle snapped around and hit a bigger tree. The airbag exploded and hit Smalls in the face and he was aware that the truck was beginning to tilt downhill, toward the bluff, and the driver’s side window suddenly blew in. They’d almost stopped, not thirty feet from the edge of the bluff, but were not quite settled, and the car blundered another few lengths backward and smashed into a final tree, which pushed up the passenger side of the truck. The Escalade slowly, majestically, rolled over on its roof and came to a stop.
            Smalls, hanging upside down in his safety belt, was half-blinded with blood rolling down into his eyes, felt no pain, not yet, and cried, “I smell gas. We gotta get out of here. Get out! Get out!”
            He looked sideways at Whitehead, who was hanging upside down from her safety belt. The overhead light had come on when the door came loose. Her eyes were open, but blank, and blood was running from one ear into her hair.
            He called “Ceecee, Ceecee,” but got no response. Blood was still pouring down his face and into his eyes as he freed his safety belt and dropped onto the inside of the roof. He unlocked the door and pushed it open a few inches, where it stuck on a sapling. He kicked the door a half dozen times until it opened far enough that he could squeeze out.
            As soon as he was free, he wiped the blood from his eyes, realized that it had been coming from his nose, since he was hanging upside down. As he cleared his eyes, he stumbled around to the back of the truck, popped the lid, found his canvas overnight bag and took out the chrome .357 magnum he kept there. He tucked the gun in his belt and looked uphill: no sign of anyone. No headlights, no brake lights, nothing but the gathering dusk, the knee-high weeds and the broken trees, the natural silence pierced by the numerous warning and alarm beeps and buzzes from the Cadillac.
            He hurried to the driver’s side of the truck, wedged the door open as far as he could, unhooked Whitehead’s safety belt and let her drop into his arms. He had to struggle to get her out of the truck, but the odor of gas gave him the strength of desperation. When she was out, he picked her up and carried her fifty feet across the hillside, then lowered her into the weeds, knelt beside her and listened for a moment. The scent of her, the Chanel No. 5 and well water, now mixed with the coppery/meaty odor of fresh blood.
            He heard and saw nothing: nobody on the hillside. The truck that hit them had vanished.
            He whispered, “Ceecee. Ceecee, can you hear me?”
            No answer.
            One headlight was still glowing from the SUV and he dug out his cellphone and called the local sheriff’s department – he had them on his contact list. He identified himself, told the dispatcher what had happened and that the incident might well have been a deliberate attack.
            The dispatcher said deputies would be there in five minutes. “Be sure the emergency flashers are on,” Smalls told the dispatcher. “I’m not coming out of the weeds until I’m sure I’m talking to the right guys. We’ll need an ambulance; my friend’s hurt bad.”
            When he got off the phone, he cradled Whitehead on his lap. The ambulance, he thought, wouldn’t be in time: it was, in fact, already too late for Cecily Whitehead.
 
            The cops came and an ambulance, and when Smalls was sure of who he was dealing with, he called to them from the hiding place in the weeds. They told him what he already knew: Whitehead was dead, had sustained a killing blow to the left side of her head, probably when a tree branch came through the driver’s side window.
            Smalls retrieved his government paper from the Cadillac as the cops and the EMTs took Whitehead up the hill in a black plastic body bag. Whitehead was put in the ambulance, but Smalls said he didn’t need one: “A bloody nose, nothing worse. Give me something to wash my face.”
            The lead deputy asked who’d been driving and Smalls said, “Ceecee was.”
            “We need to give you a quick Breathalyzer anyway,” the deputy said.
            “Yes, fine,” Smalls said. “I had a glass of wine before we left my cabin, Ceecee didn’t have anything at all.”
            The test took two minutes. Smalls blew a 0.02, well below the drunk-driving limit of 0.08, although Smalls was an older man and older men were hit harder by alcohol than younger men.
            “Be sure that’s all recorded,” Smalls told the cop. “I want this nailed down.”
            “Don’t need to worry,” the deputy said. “We’ll get it right for you, senator. Now... did you see the truck?”
            Smalls shook his head: “He had his high beams on and they were burning right through the back window of my Caddy. It was like getting caught in a searchlight. I couldn’t see anything... and then he hit us.”
            The deputy looked down the hill: “She did a heck of a piece of driving. Another twenty, thirty feet and you’d have gone over the edge and hit that gravel bar like you’d jumped out of a five-story building. Makes me kind of nervous even standing here.”
 
            The ambulance left for the Winchester Medical Center, Smalls following in a state police car. Whitehead’s death was confirmed and Smalls was treated for the impact on his nose. It had continued to bleed, but a doc used what he called a “chemical cautery” on it, which stopped the bleeding immediately, and gave him some pain pills. Smalls said, “I don’t need the pills.”
            “Not yet,” the doc said. “You will.”
            When he was released, the deputies took him aside for an extended statement, and told him that the Cadillac would be left where it had landed until a state accident investigator could get to the scene.
            When he was done with the interview, Smalls called Kitten Carter, his chief of staff, and arranged to have her drive to the hospital and pick him up. She said she would notify Whitehead’s mother and father of her death.
            And when there was nothing left to do, Smalls asked to be taken to the hospital’s chapel. The police left him there, and Smalls, a lifelong Episcopalian, knelt and prayed for Cecily Whitehead’s soul. Less charitably, he had a word with the Lord about finding the people who’d murdered her. Then he cried for a while, and finally pulled himself together and began thinking seriously about the accident.
            That had been no accident.
            It had been an assassination attempt and he thought he knew who was behind it. Justice, if not a court judgment, would come.
            He said it aloud, to Whitehead: “I swear Ceecee, I will get them. I’ll get every one of the motherfuckers.”
            Whitehead hadn’t been particularly delicate, nor particularly forgiving: if she were already experiencing the afterlife, he had no doubt that she would be looking forward to any revenge, and the colder, the better.
 
            Kitten Carter arrived at the hospital. She’d been on her cell phone for three hours by the time she got there. The first news of the accident would be leaked to reporters who owed her favors and who would put the most sympathetic interpretation to the night’s events.
            “... good friends and political allies who’d gone to the cabin to plot strategy for the summer clashes over the health-care proposals...”
 
            The local deputies turned the crash investigation over to the West Virginia State Police. The second day after the accident, an investigator interviewed Smalls, in his senate office, with Carter sitting in. Smalls, with two black eyes and a broad white bandage over his nose, and dressed in a blue-striped seersucker suit with a navy blue knit tie, immediately understood that something was wrong.
            The investigator’s name was Carl Armstrong and when he’d finished with his questions, Smalls said, “Don’t bullshit me, Carl. Something’s not right. You think I’m lying about something. What is it?”
            The investigator had been taking notes on a white legal pad inside a leather portfolio. He sighed, closed the portfolio and said, “Our lab has been over your vehicle inch-by-inch, sir. There’s no sign that it was ever hit by another truck.”
            Carter was sitting in a wingback chair, illegally smoking a small brown cigarillo. She looked at Smalls, then frowned at Armstrong and said, “That’s wrong. The other guys took them right off the road – smashed them off. What do you mean there’s no sign?”
            Smalls jumped in: “That’s exactly right. The impact caved the door in... there’s gotta be some sign of that. I mean, I was in a fairly bad accident once, years ago, and both vehicles had extensive damage. This one was worse. The hit was worse. What do you mean, no sign?”
            “No metal scrapes, no paint, no glancing blow. The only thing we’ve found are signs that you hit several trees on both sides of the truck and the front grill and hood,” Armstrong said.
            “Then you’re not looking hard enough,” Smalls snapped. “That guy crashed right into us and killed Ceecee and damn near killed me.”
            Armstrong looked away and shrugged. “Uh, well, I wonder if he actually hit you, or maybe just caused Miz Whitehead to lose control?”
            “She hadn’t been drinking...”
            Armstrong held up a hand: “We know that. She had zero alcohol in her blood and we know she was driving because the blood on the driver’s side of the cab and on the airbag matches hers. We don’t doubt anything you’ve told us, except the impact itself.”
            Carter: “Senator Smalls has provided a written statement in which he relates the force of the impact.”
            “There’s a low gravel berm where they went over the side, we’re wondering if Miz Whitehead might have hit that hard and the senator might be mistaking that for the impact of the truck.”
            Smalls was already shaking his head: “No. I heard the truck hit. I saw it hit – I was looking out the driver’s side window when it hit.”
            “There’s no paint from another car, no metal, no glass on the road... no nothing,” Armstrong repeated.
            Carter said to Smalls, “Senator, maybe we need to get some FBI crime-scene people up there...”
            Smalls put a finger on his lips, to shut her up. He stood and said, “Carl, I’m going to ask another guy to talk to you about the evidence, if you don’t mind. Kitten and I don’t know about such things, but I think it’d be a good idea if we put a second pair of eyes on this whole deal.”
            Armstrong had dealt with politicians a number of times and Smalls seemed to him to be one of the more reasonable members of the species. No shouting, no accusations. He flushed with relief, and said, “Senator... anything we can do, we’ll be happy to do. We’d like to understand exactly what happened here. Send your guy around anytime. We’ll probably give him more cooperation than he’ll even want.”
            “That’s great,” Smalls said, extending a hand. “I’ll drop a note to your Superintendent, thanking him for your work.”
            “Appeciate that,” Armstrong said, as they shook. “I really do, sir.”
 
            When Armstrong had gone, Carter asked, “Why were you pouring butter on him? He didn’t believe you. I mean, Jesus. Somebody killed Ceecee and almost killed you. If you let this stand, the whole thing is gonna get buried...”
            “No, no, no...” Smalls was on his feet. He touched his nose, picked up the tube of pain pills, shook it like a maraca, put it back down; not many left, and he’d already taken one that morning. His nose was still burning like fire from the chemical cautery. The doc had been right about the pain pills, not for the mechanical damage, but for the cauterized tissue. He wandered over to his trophy wall, filled with plaques and keys to Minnesota cities and photos of himself with presidents, governors, other senators, assorted rich people, including Whitehead, and politically conservative movie stars.
            Thinking about it.
            Carter kept her mouth shut and after a moment, Smalls, playing with an earlobe and gazing at his pictures, said, “I’m surprised by... what Armstrong said. No evidence. But I’m not exactly astonished. Remember when I told you the first thing I did was get my gun, because I thought the guys who hit us might be paid killers? Assassins? Professionals?”
            “Yeah, but I don’t...”
            “I was right. They were,” Smalls said. “I don’t know how exactly they did this, but I’m sure that if the right investigator looked under the right rock, he could find someone who could explain it. We need to get that done, because...”
            “They could be coming back for another shot at you,” Carter finished.
            “Yeah. Probably not right away, but sooner or later.” Smalls left the trophy wall, walked to his oversized desk, pushed a button on an intercom. “Sally... get Lucas Davenport on the line. His number’s on your contact list.”
            “That’s the guy...” Carter began.
            “Yeah,” Smalls said. “That’s the guy.”

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
3,896 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Paper or Kindle
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Please un-marshall Lucas
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2018
I have all of Sandford''s books...in hardcover. I re-read them, too. But I have to say that this is the worst Prey novel of the entire series, and I was terribly disappointed. Lucas''s transition to the U.S. Marshalls was an awful mistake. It took us away from beloved,... See more
I have all of Sandford''s books...in hardcover. I re-read them, too. But I have to say that this is the worst Prey novel of the entire series, and I was terribly disappointed. Lucas''s transition to the U.S. Marshalls was an awful mistake. It took us away from beloved, well-developed, secondary characters. It removed Lucas from the setting he knows best. It took the reader out of the comfort zone of clever plotting, quirky characterization, cop humor, occasional violence...all the things we like most about the series are now missing. A good portion of this book was so uninteresting that, instead of reading it in one sitting as I always used to do, it took me weeks to finish. It couldn''t hold my interest. Bob and Rae are no substitutes for Del, Virgil, Weather, Letty, and the rest of the old team, although they make token appearances. Lucas isn''t a whole lot like his usual self, and I wish that he could return in some capacity to law enforcement in the Twin Cities, because he''s lost in the Marshalls'' unit and I don''t want to be lost, too.
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Nancy Kennedy
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
John Sanford mailed this one in....
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2018
I am an avid John Sanford fan. I have been ever since Lucas Davenport made himself known in the first Prey book. This book though, I cannot even say it was one of his worse...this one is his worst....and I am saddened that it might just be the end of me following the... See more
I am an avid John Sanford fan. I have been ever since Lucas Davenport made himself known in the first Prey book. This book though, I cannot even say it was one of his worse...this one is his worst....and I am saddened that it might just be the end of me following the series. I will stick with Virgil Flowers for at least the next book, but I think Twisted Prey killed off Lucas for me. And the biggest problem? I could roll with Lucas''s switch to U.S. Marshall, enjoyed the last book, but this one assumes we are old friends with Rae and Bob....and I don''t have the history with them. I cannot just gleefully switch the entire focus to new characters without some background and building of the team. This just slams you right into it, and it makes the story shallow. I get the feeling that this book was just churned out to satisfy the masses....I, for one, am willing to wait much longer for the next addition of any series...as long as the writing is up to par. Sadly, this one isn''t.
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Cave Seductores
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''m Getting To Love Lucas As A U.S. Marshall!
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2018
I have to admit that I had hoped with this book, I would find Lucas back at his old job in Minneapolis with the Bureau of Apprehension. However, when I learned who the villian was, I was happy to see Lucas as a U.S. Marshall - and in Washington, D.C. It just seemed so... See more
I have to admit that I had hoped with this book, I would find Lucas back at his old job in Minneapolis with the Bureau of Apprehension. However, when I learned who the villian was, I was happy to see Lucas as a U.S. Marshall - and in Washington, D.C. It just seemed so right.

At first a murder brings intrigue by killing the wrong person. Then the plot thickens when Lucas is called in because the person(s) susupected of trying to kill Senator Smalls not only wanted the Senator killed, but had been suspected of murder by Lucas years before. The story builds with layer upon layer, and people hiring people, until you scarcely know where it all will stop. Who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, and who, in between, can be trusted with all the details? It''s a great read. I really, really liked it.
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Rachel
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another Great Prey
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2018
Sandford rarely disappoints. I absolutely loved last year''s Golden Prey and had my fingers crossed that Twisted Prey would at least come close in quality. It exceeded my expectations. Lucas Davenport is one of my favorite characters. Sandford surrounds him with... See more
Sandford rarely disappoints. I absolutely loved last year''s Golden Prey and had my fingers crossed that Twisted Prey would at least come close in quality. It exceeded my expectations.

Lucas Davenport is one of my favorite characters. Sandford surrounds him with an entertaining cast of supporting characters. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments, along with heart pounding tension.

I won''t say more for fear of spoilers, but Lucas is at his best when he rides the line of legality. He''s a sneaky bastard and Twisted Prey was an awesome ride.
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Larry David Wilson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A guilty pleasure that isn’t one
Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2018
A guilty pleasure is a source of enjoyment one might not wish to make public knowledge. Looking forward to reading early morning tweets from a particular prominent individual might be one example. Reading a new John Sanford novel, however, is not a guilty pleasure; it is... See more
A guilty pleasure is a source of enjoyment one might not wish to make public knowledge. Looking forward to reading early morning tweets from a particular prominent individual might be one example. Reading a new John Sanford novel, however, is not a guilty pleasure; it is simply a pleasure…a great one.

I have been reading Sanford’s novel since the beginning of his career. I began with the Prey series featuring Lucas Davenport, which started with Rules of Prey in 1989. The 28th offering, Twisted Prey, is the subject of this review. I enjoy reading novels in paper form and in Sanford’s case, I want to help him keep food on the table, so I buy his books in hardback format. So, I have a shelf of his Prey novels that go back to Winter Prey, which appeared in 1993, and not farther because Hurricane Andrew, which left my family homeless, also destroyed my library of novels. I also enjoy Sanford’s Virgil Flowers series, which now amounts to 10 entries. Virgil and Lucas sometimes show up in one another’s novels.

Sanford’s novels are written in a really compelling way. They are well-plotted and -paced and have characters that are well-drawn, the kind that one might like to sit down with for a drink or two. Lucas Davenport is an old friend, but now that he is a US Marshal he works with a duo of other marshals known as Bob and Rae. If one is old enough, the names spark a memory of the American comedy team of Bob and Ray, popular on the radio and television over a five-decade period. So, Davenport’s sidekicks will never be Rae and Bob because of their origin, even though Rae is the more interesting character.

The plot of Twisted Prey should be of interest to any reader who likes thriller novels. This plot also brings back a character from an earlier Prey novel who did not have to answer for her crimes. She is a US Senator. Some might find it difficult to believe that any of our elected officials actually might be severely psychopathic (wink, wink), but this particular senator is so bedeviled.

Now that I have finished this novel, I am wondering if there isn’t another book out there waiting to be written, tentatively entitled “Asocial Service: The Role of Sociopathy in American Politics.” My suggestion in only partially tongue-in-cheek, so if there is an interested mental health worker out there who is stimulated creatively by my suggestion, then by all means, have at it. Before that person begins writing, however, I suggest that he or she read Twisted Prey first, as I do suggest also to anyone interested in very well-written novels of suspense.
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D. BlankenshipTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Like the older Davenport better but still a well told story
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2018
Over the years I have read each and every one of the Davenport and Flowers books more or less then they have first been published. As a matter of fact I have read all of these books at least twice as has my wife. Needless to say my wife and I are big fans. Now... See more
Over the years I have read each and every one of the Davenport and Flowers books more or less then they have first been published. As a matter of fact I have read all of these books at least twice as has my wife. Needless to say my wife and I are big fans.

Now as far as the last two or three books of the Davenport series I fall into the category of not being over fond of the turn Davenport took when he joined the U.S. Marshall Service. My primary reason for not like these book quite as much as the former is that Davenport has left behind most to all of his long time associates – including his wife, his daughter, Flowers and most others he was dealing with. I miss these characters and the substitute characters just don’t live up to the old ones.

This is not to say my wife and I don’t enjoy the Davenport series – we still enjoy them and will continue to read them – we just feel they have lost a lost of there zing and humor.

The other aspect of these books we really are not overly fond of is that the author seems to be leaning a bit toward politics as far as the “bad guys” are concerned. I have to admit that in these days and times I am thoroughly sick of anything to do with politics. When I read I much prefer to having Davenport hunting down criminals (not to say that most all of our current political characters are not indeed criminals at some level) but I just like – well, you know what I mean – I think.

But as I said, I will continue to read this authors work simply because he write a very good story.
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Pisces51
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
EXCITING REMATCH WITH LUCAS PITTED AGAINST A BEAUTIFUL SOCIOPATH WHO HAS BESTED HIM BEFORE
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2019
TWISTED PREY (A PREY NOVEL BOOK 28) BY JOHN SANDFORD MY REVIEW FIVE STARS***** I JUST FINISHED READING TWISTED PREY THAT WAS RELEASED LAST YEAR. IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT I HAD PRE-ORDERED NEON PREY (2019) AND THAT IT WOULD BE ON MY KINDLE NEXT MONTH. I WAS... See more
TWISTED PREY (A PREY NOVEL BOOK 28) BY JOHN SANDFORD
MY REVIEW FIVE STARS*****

I JUST FINISHED READING TWISTED PREY THAT WAS RELEASED LAST YEAR. IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT I HAD PRE-ORDERED NEON PREY (2019) AND THAT IT WOULD BE ON MY KINDLE NEXT MONTH. I WAS FALLING BEHIND ON ONE OF MY TOP 5 AUTHORS AND THE EXPLOITS OF US MARSHAL LUCAS DAVENPORT!!!

LUCAS IS A HUNTER WHO RELENTLESSLY AND RUTHLESSLY STALKS HIS PREY, AND THE READER BREATHLESSLY ANTICIPATES AND RELISHES THE MOMENT OF THE KILL. WE ARE ACCUSTOMED TO THE EXCITEMENT OF THE HUNT AND VICARIOUSLY ENJOY DAVENPORT''S FLASHES OF INSIGHT AND BRILLIANT STALKING STRATEGIES. THE THRILL OF THE CHASE IS PRESENT IN EVERY "PREY" NOVEL AND WE SIGH WITH SATISFACTION WHEN DAVENPORT INVARIABLY PREVAILS. BUT FAITHFUL FANS OF THE SERIES WILL KNOW THAT THE SCORECARD REALLY READS 25-0-3 [W-L-D]. LUCAS ROUTINELY MATCHES WITS WITH SERIAL KILLERS AND STONE COLD SOCIOPATHS BUT ONCE IN A GREAT WHILE THERE IS A "DRAW". IN ANY SPORT A "DRAW" TYPICALLY RESULTS IN A "REMATCH" TO DETERMINE THE VICTOR. IN CRIMINAL APPREHENSION IT TRANSLATES TO LUCAS GETTING A SECOND CHANCE TO HUNT DOWN AND CAPTURE THE ELUSIVE PREY WHO SOMEHOW ELUDED AND BESTED HIM ON THEIR INITIAL ENCOUNTER.

IF YOU LOVE LUCAS DAVENPORT, AND YOU HAVE READ ALL OF THE PREY NOVELS OVER THE YEARS, THEN YOU KNOW THAT SANDFORD ONLY RARELY PENS A CLIFFHANGER WITH "THE PREY" WALKING AWAY UNSCATHED. I WON''T GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SERIES FOR THE DELUSIONAL, DRUGGED OUT, YET BRILLIANT AND CHILLING DR. BEKKER (EYES OF PREY, SILENT PREY). BUT THE PROFESSIONAL HIT WOMAN CLARA RINKER IN CERTAIN PREY [1999] "CERTAINLY" CAPTURED THE IMAGINATION OF SANDFORD''S READERS IN A BIG WAY. SHE WAS IN A SENSE AN ANTI-HERO AND I BREATHED A SIGH OF RELIEF WHEN THE SOFT SPOKEN SOUTHERN GAL WITH A GUN ELUDED CAPTURE AT THE END OF THE NOVEL. IT WAS A FEW YEARS BEFORE THE AUTHOR BROUGHT HER AND LUCAS BACK TOGETHER ON THE SAME TRAJECTORY FOR A THRILLING REMATCH IN MORTAL PREY [2002]. IN THIS NOVEL [TWISTED PREY] THE AUTHOR GIVES A NOD TO CERTAIN PREY [“DID I EVER TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME I DANCED WITH A PROFESSIONAL ASSASSIN IN WICHITA? NO? HER NAME WAS CLARA RINKER . . .”]

IT WASN''T UNTIL SILKEN PREY [2013] THAT DAVENPORT WAS DESTINED TO MATCH WITS WITH THE STONE COLD SOCIOPATH TARYN GRANT. NO ANTI-HERO HERE, JUST "IM-PURE" VILLAIN. THE STUNNING LONG-LEGGED BLOND WAS AS BRILLIANT AS SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, NOT TO MENTION RICH IN CAPITAL LETTERS, AS IN BILLIONAIRE. POWER WAS HER DRUG OF CHOICE AND GRANT COULD TEACH A CLASS IN MANIPULATION TO MACHIAVELLI HIMSELF. SET AGAINST A BACKDROP OF WASHINGTON POLITICS THE BOOK WAS SEDUCTIVE AND ADDICTIVE LIKE WATCHING A HIGH STAKES CHESS MATCH BETWEEN TWO GRAND MASTERS OF THE GAME. I LOVED IT AND I WONDERED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF LUCAS GETTING A SECOND CHANCE TO CATCH THIS SEXY SOCIOPATH IN SILK. IT WOULD BE FIVE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, BUT THE AUTHOR RELEASED THIS LONG AWAITED REMATCH WITH TWISTED PREY [2018].

READERS MAY RECALL THAT LUCAS WAS WITH THE MINNESOTA BUREAU OF CRIMINAL APPREHENSION IN SILKEN PREY. HE WAS ASKED BY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR HENDERSON TO INVESTIGATE THE CHAOS AND WRONG DOING THAT WAS SWIRLING AROUND INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN SENATOR PORTER SMALLS. THE MAN HAD BEEN THE VICTIM OF AN OBVIOUS "HIT JOB" WHICH WAS ORCHESTRATED TO DESTROY HIS CHANCES IN A RACE TO RETAIN HIS SEAT IN THE U.S. SENATE. THE DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION WAS THE GORGEOUS TARYN GRANT. SHE WAS A STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL BILLIONAIRE HEIRESS, BRILLIANT, AND ADDICTED TO POWER. SHE HAD SABOTAGED HIS CHANCES BY PLANTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON HIS COMPUTER HOPING TO INFLICT ENOUGH DAMAGE TO DESTROY HIS REPUTATION AND MOREOVER HIS CHANCES WITH THE VOTERS. GRANT''S IDENTITY AS THE PUPPETMASTER BEHIND SUCH ILLEGAL AND UNDERHANDED TACTICS MIGHT HAVE BEEN SUSPECTED BUT LUCAS QUICKLY LEARNED THAT PROVING HER INVOLVEMENT WAS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PROPOSITION. GRANT HAD DEMONSTRATED THAT SHE WOULD USE ANY MEANS NECESSARY TO DEFEAT SMALLS AND TO WIN HER BID FOR THE SEAT IN THE U.S. SENATE. HER INSATIABLE APPETITE FOR POWER AND POLITICAL INFLUENCE WAS BOUNDLESS WITH MURDER AND MAYHEM ALWAYS JUST A HEARTBEAT AWAY.

THE READER OBSERVED GRANT''S POWERS AT MANIPULATION AND HER UTTER BRILLIANCE IN KEEPING HERSELF AT ARM''S LENGTH FROM THE BLOODSHED AND THE MELEE. IT WAS NOT ALL THAT SURPRISING WHEN LUCAS ULTIMATELY FACED A STALEMATE IN HIS MATCH AGAINST THE EVIL AND CUNNING TARYN GRANT.

THE END OF THE BOOK FEATURED AN EMBITTERED PORTER SMALLS WHO CALLED OUT TARYN GRANT FOR HER INVOLVMENT, NAMELY HIS OWN VICTIMIZATION AT HER HANDS, ONE OF THE MOST BRUTAL CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS ON RECORD. BUT HE ACCUSED GRANT OF NOT ONLY BEING THE SPONSOR OF THE CHILD-PORN SMEAR CAMPAIGN, BUT ALSO A MURDERER RESPONSIBLE FOR HAVING THE BLOOD OF AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE ON HER HANDS. LASTLY HE MADE THE OBSERVATION THAT SHE WAS A PSYCHOPATH THAT DIDN''T HAVE ANY BUSINESS BELONGING IN A SEAT ON THE U.S. SENATE. SMALLS PROMISED THAT HE WOULD MAKE ALL THE NOISE HE COULD FOR THE ENTIRE SIX YEARS OF HER APPOINTMENT, AND DO ANYTHING HE COULD TO RUIN HER POLITICAL CAREER AND ANY FUTURE IN POLITICS.

LUCAS SEIZES A MOMENT TO TELL TARYN TO HER FACE THAT HE KNOWS ["I KNOW G--DAMN WELL THAT YOU WERE INVOLVED."] HE MARVELS AT HER COLDNESS AND WHEN GRANT REMAINED SILENT, ONLY SMILING AT HIM WITH "ONE LONG ARM STRETCHED OUT ALONG THE TOP OF THE COUCH, A NEW GOLD CHAIN GLOWING FROM HER NECK", DAVENPORT REFLECTS TO HIMSELF "IF A JURY HAD SEEN THAT SMILE, THEY WOULD HAVE CONVICTED HER: IT WAS BOTH A DELIBERATE CONFESSION AND A SMILE OF TRIUMPH."

IN THE REMATCH TWISTED PREY SEVERAL YEARS HAVE PASSED WITH GRANT NEARING THE END OF HER SIX-YEAR SENATE STINT AND LOOKING LONGINGLY AT THE PROSPECT OF A RUN AT THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, PORTER SMALLS HAS CONTINUED TO BE A THORN IN HER SIDE AND SHE REACTS ACCORDINGLY WITH ARRANGING HIS ASSASSINATION. BUT AS WE ALL KNOW, THE BEST LAID PLANS... SENATOR GRANT IS A MEMBER OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE AND HAS MANAGED TO MAKE SOME LETHAL TIES. THE STONE COLD AMBITION-DRIVEN SOCIOPATH WE MET BEFORE HAS THE SAME M.O. AND STILL OPERATES AS A SKILLFUL PUPPET MASTER, MANIPULATING SOME VERY DANGEROUS CHARACTERS BUT KEEPING THEM AT ARMS LENGTH TO PROTECT HERSELF AND TO MAINTAIN A LEVEL OF SEPARATION.

LUCAS, NOW A U.S. MARSHAL, IS ACTUALLY CALLED IN BY PORTER SMALLS HIMSELF, HAVING SURVIVED THE NEARLY FATAL ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT IN WHICH THE WOMAN HE LOVED WAS KILLED. THIS IS A TIGHTLY-PLOTTED SUSPENSEFUL NOVEL, AND IT WAS FAST-PACED BUT LARGELY BECAUSE I WAS RABIDLY TURNING PAGES TO SEE WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. THIS NOVEL IS A REAL TREAT FOR READERS WHO ENJOY MULTI-LAYERED LEVELS OF INVESTIGATION. LUCAS AND HIS COHORTS ARE SMART, RESOURCEFUL, AND INTUITIVE. BUT TRAPPING GRANT IS LIKE PEELING BACK LAYERS OF AN ONION TRYING TO GET TO THE CENTER. READERS WHO ENJOY POLICE PROCEDURALS WILL UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION OF GETTING ONE PLAYER OF THE PLOT "PEELED AWAY" TO BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION, I.E., TO OFFER HIM IMMUNITY FOR HIS TESTIMONY AGAINST BIGGER FISH IN THE CONSPIRACY. IT IS NOT MY DESIRE TO RECAP THE PLOT (AND CERTAINLY NOT TO GIVE AWAY ANY SPOILERS). GRANT SITS AT THE CORE OF A CONSPIRACY OF HARD-CORE MEN WHO ARE CAPABLE OF ALMOST ANYTHING, AND MURDER WITHOUT QUALMS.

THERE ARE A FEW EXCITING DIFFERENCES IN THIS SUSPENSFUL REMATCH, THOUGH. GRANT GETS HER HANDS DIRTY. I WILL SAY NO MORE ON THAT. ALSO THERE ARE SOME INTERESTING TWISTS TO THE STORYLINE NOT TO MENTION MORE ACTION AND SHOOTING THAN I EVER ANTICIPATED. THE CLIMAX OF THE NOVEL, I''LL BE HONEST, I LOVED IT, BUT I MUST ADMIT THAT I DID ANTICIPATE IT PRETTY EARLY ON IN THE NOVEL. BUT ANTICIPATION IS SWEET, AND CAN BE QUITE SATISFYING (AND IT WAS ALL OF THAT).

ONE OF THE THINGS I REALLY ENJOYED ABOUT TWISTED PREY WAS THAT IT REMINDED ME THAT THE PREY SERIES INCLUDES SOME TRULY FASCINATING AND AMAZING SUPPORTING CAST MEMBERS. THE READER HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WHAT''S UP WITH DAVENPORT''S INDELIBLE LONG-TIME SIDEKICK DEL CAPSLOCK. VIRGIL FLOWERS MADE A CAMEO OF COURSE, AND SEEING THE BRAVE CATRIN MATSSON FROM ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITE INSTALLMENTS [FIELD OF PREY] IS ALWAYS A TREAT. LUCAS''S DAUGHTER LETTY IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ADDITIONS TO THE SERIES. LETTY WAS WAS PRESENT JUST LONG ENOUGH TO FLIRT WITH VIRGIL, AND TO HAVE LUCAS''S REFLECTIONS ABOUT HER PERHAPS TICKLE THE IMAGINATION OF SOME NEW READERS. PARTICULARLY FOR THIS NOVEL, I WAS THRILLED THAT KIDD GOT TO PLAY A PART IN THE INVESTIGATION, ALBEIT HE WAS FEATURED MORE PROMINENTLY IN DAVENPORT''S FIRST MATCH UP AGAINST THE DEVIOUS SOCIOPATHIC GRANT. THE INTERESTING "GOOD GUYS" THAT POPULATE LUCAS''S UNIVERSE HAVE NATURALLY EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS. I AM QUITE FOND OF RAE AND BOB FOR INSTANCE, ABOUT AS COLORFUL US MARSHALS WE COULD EVER MEET.

JOHN SANDFORD IS IN MY PERSONAL PANTHEON OF GREAT WRITERS OF CRIME SUSPENSE NOVELS, ALONG WITH MICHAEL CONNELLY, LEE CHILD, KARIN SLAUGHTER, AND LAWRENCE SANDERS.

YOU CAN''T GO WRONG WITH READING THIS INSIGHTFUL, GRIPPING, AND UNFORGETTABLE INSTALLMENT OF THE PREY SERIES. I WOULD PROBABLY READ SILKEN PREY FIRST IF YOU HAVEN''T ALREADY READ IT. YOU WOULD GET THE FEEL FOR THE SECOND GO AROUND WITH LUCAS, A PREDATOR WHO HAS NO QUIT IN HIM, AND A SINISTER PSYCHOPATH WHO LUCAS KNOWS COVERS HER TRACKS OH, SO WELL...
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Michael Kleeberg
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Twisted, All Right
Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2018
I am a huge fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This book reminds me of the DS9 episode entitled "In the Pale Moonlight." In this episode, Captain Benjamin Sisko does some decidedly un-Federation like things, especially toward the end. DS9 was my favorite Trek series... See more
I am a huge fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This book reminds me of the DS9 episode entitled "In the Pale Moonlight." In this episode, Captain Benjamin Sisko does some decidedly un-Federation like things, especially toward the end. DS9 was my favorite Trek series because it pushed the boundaries of what audiences expected. Twisted Prey does the same thing. I have read every book in the Lucas Davenport series--and in the Virgil Flowers series as well--but this one had me convinced that our hero just might get hurt...or killed, as he faces an adversary nearly as clever but with infinitely better resources as Davenport himself. And the ending features something markedly un-Davenport like. But to say more would be to give too much away. Sandford is a master at this, and the Davenport series just gets better and better.
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Carpejugulum
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Reality fiction.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2019
This has been my favourite ''Davenport'' novel. The others are excellent, this seizes you as a reader and rearranges your timetable around itself. I was a police officer for thirty years and a detective for twenty five of those. The interplay between officers is faultless and...See more
This has been my favourite ''Davenport'' novel. The others are excellent, this seizes you as a reader and rearranges your timetable around itself. I was a police officer for thirty years and a detective for twenty five of those. The interplay between officers is faultless and their priorities absolutely spot on ( business class? ). Pleasingly absent in this series are the ''troubled'' detectives juggling ''issues'', the mundane fact is, if you have those you don''t survive in post and are inevitably transferred to less demanding duties. Are paths that lead to morally ambiguous outcomes sometimes deliberately left to be followed by others? Yes.
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nickyb
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tingling Twisted
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 24, 2018
This novel just left me tingling in anticipation for the next in this top class series. Sandford really is on form these days maybe because Davenport as a US Marshall has given him new expression. Lots happening in this book and a great deal of crime and investigation to...See more
This novel just left me tingling in anticipation for the next in this top class series. Sandford really is on form these days maybe because Davenport as a US Marshall has given him new expression. Lots happening in this book and a great deal of crime and investigation to pursue. Love the inclusion of the two new US Marshall sidekicks. Keep it up Mr Sandford.
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Maria Elena Rossi
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dive right in! It is always the same with ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2018
Dive right in! It is always the same with the books by John Sandford. You read the first page and you are right in the heart of the story and it is really difficult to take a break from reading it. Action, humor and all the twists and turns: all expected when Lucas...See more
Dive right in! It is always the same with the books by John Sandford. You read the first page and you are right in the heart of the story and it is really difficult to take a break from reading it. Action, humor and all the twists and turns: all expected when Lucas Davenport is involved. A reader never makes a mistake when he decides to rEad a book by John Sanford. You hope that he will publish another really soon.
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G. Coles
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
As Good as it Gets
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2018
Perhaps his best yet. Sandford brilliantly transformed Lucas into a Marshal a book or two ago..... and with that additional gravitas, he crafts a whole new career in fighting crime and with an interesting set of new friends and colleagues. At the same time the connects with...See more
Perhaps his best yet. Sandford brilliantly transformed Lucas into a Marshal a book or two ago..... and with that additional gravitas, he crafts a whole new career in fighting crime and with an interesting set of new friends and colleagues. At the same time the connects with his old life are not gone and the old and new relationships as strong as always
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Queenie
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2018
I have read quite a few of the earlier Prey books and enjoyed them. I found this one predictable and formulaic which often seems to happen with writers who persist too long with one character - Peter James with his Brighton detective being another example.
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