Book Review – Masked Prey – (Lucas Davenport #30) – John Sandford – Quite a letdown
My Rating – 3 out of 5
Plot Summary – Masked Prey
Those familiar with Lucas Davenport would be aware of his transition from a Minnesota Cop to a BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) Agent and now as a US Marshall. For most of his career, Lucas has been known for his unconventional methods as a cop, sometimes bending the rules to suit his investigation, ultimately aiding in handing out justice to the perpetrators. Over the years, he’s mellowed a bit, but the same unconventional methods are the ones which endeared him to readers, because in the end, it served the far higher calling of Justice.
In the 30th edition of the long running Prey series – Masked Prey, a young woman (the daughter of a US Senator), Audrey Coil, while surfing her Social Media profiles, comes across an anonymous Blog, which has her picture and some others showing her outside her School. Not only that, it is accompanied by far right rants and hate speeches by fringe groups. On further deep diving, she discovers that she’s not the only one. Many sitting Politician’s children are featured, along with similar rants, and indicating where they could be found in real time.
Fearing that the dissemination of such information could make them targets for political nut-jobs, the FBI is called in. But their hands are tied, as no crime has been committed, yet and tracking down the Website is not really worth it, if the threat is not acted upon at all. The worried parents, powerful political personages all, call in Lucas Davenport, so that he can investigate outside the constraints of the FBI.
In typical fashion, Lucas takes up the investigation and explores the far right groups in his attempt to figure out who could be behind the malicious website. While all those he speaks to could be fair candidates for the job, what with their rabid anti government stances, racist ideologies and gun friendly ways. A far more worrying scenario is that some full blown nutcase would actually be taking the information seriously and would be lining up to target the Governments’ soft underbelly – the Politicians family!
This is where Masked Prey picks up its frenetic pace, when Lucas races on trying to unravel the mystery behind the malicious website and attempting to stop the demented nut cases from taking up the information seriously. True to form, the book never lets up and you could read this start to finish over a weekend, though the story is a bit sluggish at the beginning, it gallops away from the half line. The climax though, is a twist, as is Sandford’s wont, but this time as a reader you come away unfulfilled!
Conclusion – Masked Prey Book Review
Having read all the previous 29 books of the series (in order too), I had been waiting in anticipation of a great read, as always. But it was a major letdown, at least for me, especially since I had placed John Sandford – and by extension Lucas Davenport, at a very high pedestal of pacy Crime Thrillers. I found the premise of the story very weak, almost unreal, and felt disappointed that my mighty Hero has come to such mundane levels.
I’m aware that many readers/fans of the series would differ with my opinion about the book but I feel that a flimsy story line can be stretched only so far! Lucas Davenport, a political appointee, was a serious cop with a rare sense of humor, but here he’s been reduced to a political stooge, running an investigation at the behest of Washington heavies. Not the Lucas I admired so much, waited so much for, but if you are keen on reading a decent Crime thriller (aside from a long running series), go for Masked Prey, it’s FAST though not Furious! As for me, I’ll hope and pray (not Prey) that the 2021 release, Ocean Prey, brings back the old Lucas!!