Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Phantom Prey by John Sandford

Sometimes an author is like an ex-girlfriend. You don't actually go out of the way to avoid her at the market, but you don't actively seek her out either. And then you bump into one another and you're floored by how great she is and you wonder why you split up in the first place.

That's the case with John Sanford, an author I've always liked but sometimes hesitate to read, for reason or reasons unknown to my conscious self.

In the case of Phantom Prey I must have kept the book on the shelf for two weeks or more, and when I finished it I spent an equal amount of time kicking myself for the delay.

Phantom Prey features Lucas Davenport, who at the request of his wife investigates the disappearance of a young woman. At the same time the woman's friends, all members of the Goth community, are being stalked and killed by a woman known as 'The Fairy'.

It's a fine story, well plotted and not as predictable as many mystery novels. While I think you'll reason out the killer's identity, there will be 25% of your brain that remains unsure, just enough to keep the juices flowing.

The plot is almost secondary, because what sets Sandford apart is his style.
Sandford has a knack for telling a story in little clusters of scenes that move the story forward in rapid fashion, while never skimping on what's important or dwelling on the insignificant. His characters come off as real; nowadays Davenport is far more concerned with coming home to his wife and kids and arguing about furniture than he is kicking the tar out of someone. He'll have bouts of work-related depression, but you won't find him hitting the bottle or spending chapter after chapter moaning about the human condition.

Phantom Prey is an enjoyable, easy read that serves to bolster Sandford's reputation even higher.

Highly recommended.

3.25 out of 4, 84 out of 100


Bernadette said...

That sounds like one I'd like. Going to have to check it out, I need a good read.

...BTW. I found a copy of the book "Into the Wild" on my shelf..very good read, much more detailed and less idealistic/heroic than the movie was.

Anonymous said...

Jumped over here from Jan's WOTD.
I tried this series for a while, much too bloody for my taste, but maybe I will give this one a try. As an aside, Sanford is really John Camp who wrote for newspapers locally before he became a multi-millionaire. I liked him then and would still like his *technique* now I think. He was also married to a woman I knew. They divorced and then remarried. Perhaps that is why Davenport becomes a family man....
I was quite sad to hear that his re-wife died recently of breast cancer.
Links and links and links...

Lidian said...

I will put that on my list. Sounds really good, thank you.

Beth said...

I'll probably pick this up at some point. I like the Prey novels, and think Davenport is a neat character.