A Lucas Davenport mystery | Written by John Sandford
CONTEMPORARY SEMI-POLICE PROCEDURAL. Lucas Davenport is funny, smart, irreverent, tough and the man you want on your side when trouble comes calling. For the time being he is a civilian, having acrimoniously parted ways with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He is at his cabin in the Minnesota woods, driving the carpenter crazy with renovations when a phone call comes from the office of Governor Elmer Henderson. Henderson is in Iowa running for President. Not that he expects to get the nomination, since the all too true rumors about extra curricular adventures with women would sink him. However if Michaela “Mike” Bowden wins in Iowa and goes on to be the candidate then the Gov has hopes of being her VP pick. But first Lucas has to keep her from being assassinated.
Here Lucas is, early in the book. He has driven to Iowa from Minneapolis and is talking to Neil Mitford, Governor Henderson’s “chief weasel.”
“What does Elmer want me to do?” Lucas asked. “Something criminal?”
Mitford shrugged. “Maybe, but I’ll let him tell you about it. It’ll take some of your time, though, so you better cancel everything else.”
“I’m not going to do it if it involves Elmer’s sex life,” Lucas said.
“Good. Anyway, I charge four hundred bucks an hour,” Lucas said. “Eight hundred if it involves something criminal.”
Mitford made a farting noise with his lips, then said, “The governor expects you to contribute your time, since you’re richer than Croesus.” He paused, then said, “Croesus was—“
“I know who Croesus was,” Lucas said. “I was a hockey player not a moron.”
“Sorry. But you know, get hit on the head by too many pucks… By the way, we haven’t actually seen your name on our donors’ list.”
“Must have missed it,” Lucas said.
The reader knows the villain from the first chapter. The thrill is in the chase and watching close in on an unlikely killer. If I were asked to award stars on the five star system, I’d have to ask, “compared to what?” If it’s other Sandford books, I’d give this one a three or maybe a four; but if it’s compared to other thriller writers then I’d give it a five. Stephen King calls him “… one of the great summer-read novelists of all time.” I’d call him the perfect antidote to a really really bad day. You can’t help getting swept up in his stories, and this book is no exception.
NOTE: He often mentions music in the novels, and on the John Sandford website, there is a personal list of “Best Songs of the Rock Era.”
G. P. Putnam
April 26, 2016