Quick Review: THE INVESTIGATOR by John Sandford (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

SandfordJ-LD1-InvestigatorUSHCLetty Davenport steps into the spotlight, and into danger, in this first novel in a great new spin-off series

By age twenty-four, Letty Davenport has seen more action and uncovered more secrets than many law enforcement professionals. Now a recent Stanford grad with a master’s in economics, she’s restless and bored in a desk job for U.S. Senator Colles. Letty’s ready to quit, but her skills have impressed Colles, and he offers her a carrot: feet-on-the-ground investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

Several oil companies in Texas have reported thefts of crude, Colles tells her.  He isn’t so much concerned with the oil as he is with the money: who is selling the oil, and what are they doing with the profits? Rumor has it that a fairly ugly militia group might be involved. Colles wants to know if the money is going to them, and if so, what they’re planning.

Letty is partnered with a DHS investigator, John Kaiser, and they head to Texas.  When the case quicky turns deadly, they know they’re on the track of something bigger.  The militia group has set in motion an explosive plan… and the clock is ticking down.

Letty is the adopted daughter of Lucas Davenport, the main character in Sandford’s bestselling Prey series. Letty first appeared in Naked Prey (2003), and had been slowly getting more page-time in the series as it progressed. Now, in The Investigator, she gets her first solo outing; and luckily, it’s a solid start to a new series, one that certainly justifies many more. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

New Books (October-November)

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Another interesting and varied selection of new books (review copies and purchases). And a few more that I hadn’t been aware of prior to availability, too — it’s not often that happens, these days. Any catch your attention, or already on your anticipated lists?

Featuring: Jon Robin Baitz, Heather Chavez, Michael Connelly, Keiran Goddard, Tessa Hadley, Katy Hays, Joe Ide, Peter Kirsanow, Ivy Pochoda, John Sandford, Michelle Min Sterling, John Wray

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Quick Review: RIGHTEOUS PREY by John Sandford (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)

SandfordJ-P32-RighteousPreyUSHCLucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers return, and take on a powerful vigilante group

“We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.” So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is believed to be made up of vigilante killers who are very bored… and very rich. They target the worst of society — rapists, murderers, and thieves — and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable Bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become the most popular figures on social media, a modern-day Batman…though their motives may not be entirely pure.

After a woman is murdered in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full — the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, The Five are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers.

Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, two of the best investigators in Minnesota (and sometimes Wisconsin) team up again to bring a dangerous, exceedingly well-funded group of self-styled vigilantes to justice. As with all Sandford novels, I was quickly swept up by the story, and was gripped from start to finish. One of the most reliable crime authors writing today.
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New Books (March-April)

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Featuring: Olivia Atwater, David Baldacci, Fiona Barnett, Andy Borowitz, Ryan Britt, Guy Haley, Darius Hinks, Isabel Kaplan, Rich Larson, Stephen Markley, Dervla McTiernan, Jason Mosberg, Brian Phillips, C. L. Polk, Eddie Robson, John Sandford, Erich Schwartzel, Lisa Taddeo, Jerry West, Alex White, Rebecca Zahabi, Zou Jingzhi

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New Books (July-August)

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Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Shane Anderson, Carmelo Anthony, RJ Barker, Nicholas Bowling, Michael Carroll, Charles Cumming, Scott Eyman, John Higgins, Richard Kadrey, Anita Kopacz, Devin Madson, William McIlvanney, Premee Mohamed, Scotto Moore, Abir Mukherjee, Ian Rankin, Joe Mungo Reed, James Rollins, John Sandford, Dan Shaughnessy, Defne Suman, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tade Thompson, Lavie Tidhar, Stevie Van Zandt, Matthew Ward, D. Watkins

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Review: MASKED PREY by John Sandford (G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Simon Schuster UK)

SandfordJ-P-MaskedPreyUSHCRight wing extremists and social media collide in Lucas Davenport’s latest investigation

Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians…

The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures… of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of radical groups. It’s obviously alarming — is there an unstable extremist tracking the loved ones of powerful politicians with deadly intent? But when the FBI is called in, there isn’t much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can’t be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI’s constraints: Lucas Davenport.

This is the 29th novel in Sandford’s excellent Lucas Davenport series. I’ve been a fan of the series (as well as the author’s other novels) for decades, and so each new novel is a highlight of my year. In Masked Prey, Sandford takes on two American plagues: guns and internet radicalization. It’s another excellent addition to the series, and a must read for all fans of the series. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: A. Deborah Baker, William Boyle, Trudi Canavan, Jim Carrey, P. Djèlí Clark, Susan Eisenhower, T.C. Farren, Thomas Frank, Sarah Gailey, Daniel Hornsby, S. L. Huang, Phil Klay, Derek Künsken, Jenn Lyons, John P. Murphy, Robert Pobi, Alastair Reynolds, Jane Routley, John Sandford, Sara Sligar, Wright Thompson, Rufi Thorpe, Sarah Tolmie, Dana Vachon, Vanessa Veselka, Erin K. Wagner, Jess Walter, C L Werner, Rachel Winters, Julian E. Zelizer

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New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Troy Carrol Bucher, Gordon H. Chang, Dhonielle Clayton, John Connolly, Jennifer Giesbrecht, Stanley B. Greenberg, Georgia Hardstark, Guy Haley, John Hornor Jacobs, Kel Kade, Karen Kilgariff, Cassandra Khaw, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael Laurence, Yoon Ha Lee, Nick Mamatas, Kassandra Montag, Tamsyn Muir, Brian Naslund, Anna Pitoniak, Christopher Ruocchio, John Sandford, Mel Stanfill, Jon Steinhagen, Neal Stephenson, Breanna Teintze, Chuck Wendig, Jen Williams

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Quick Review: NEON PREY by John Sandford (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Simon & Schuster)

SandfordJ-NeonPreyUSLucas Davenport’s 29th outing…

Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don’t much care about a low-level guy–it’s his boss they want–but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.

Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese’s rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves.

Now Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and — as Davenport will come to find — full of surprises…

This is the 29th novel in Sandford’s excellent Lucas Davenport/Prey series. I started reading them, I think, when Certain Prey, was first published in the UK. Since then, I’ve managed to read almost all of them (the first few weren’t available in Britain at the time, but are all getting published this year). With each new novel, I was impressed by Sandford’s ability to keep the series fresh and interesting. Neon Prey is no exception: I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Rob Boffard, Pat Cunnane, Delilah S. Dawson, Francesco Dimitri, Ronan Farrow, R.S. Ford, Daniel Godfrey, Jonathan Lethem, Brian McClellan, Derek B. Miller, Daniel José Older, Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Sarah Pinborough, Chistopher Ruocchio, John Sandford, Nick Setchfield, Jake Tapper, Daniel Torday, Alex White, Tyler Whitesides, You-Jeong Jeong

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