Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dirty Politics

Silken Prey
by John Sandford
Putnam Adult
Exit polling indicates this book is 4 out of 5 stars.

Lucas Davenport has faced all kinds of dangerous homicidal maniacs in his long career, but he may have finally met his match when going up against a beautiful billionaire with political ambitions and a couple of ex-military killers on her payroll.

Incumbent Republican Senator Porter Smalls hasn’t let his conservative politics keep him from having a couple of sex scandals, and he just got caught with child pornography on his laptop.  It seems like his challenger, the uber-wealthy heiress Democrat Taryn Grant, will easily win the election.

However, Minnesota’s governor fears that the Smalls has been framed and not only could that kick off an unacceptable escalation of dirty politics, it could also turn into a major scandal that would rock the Democratic party.  So the governor quietly calls in Davenport and asks him to quickly determine if the kiddie porn was planted on Smalls’ computer. Lucas has a long history of dealing with the political and media angles on behalf of his bosses, but this one could be a whole new level of trouble with both political sides just waiting to cry shenanigans at any hint of wrongdoing.  When a missing political operative and a government connection to the porn become part of his investigation, Davenport finds himself in a political minefield.

As usual in a Prey novel, the readers know who the bad guys are from the beginning and in this one Taryn Grant and her bodyguards have the potential to be among the worst that Davenport goes up against.  Taryn is smart, rich, ambitious and completely nuts with a narcissistic personality disorder. One of her ex-special forces henchmen will do anything for money, and the other will do anything for her.

Fortunately, Davenport has a lot of friends to call on like his artist buddy Kidd who is also a computer expert and has a more interesting history than Lucas realizes.  Virgil Flowers also gets called in to lend a hand as Lucas scrambles to learn the truth before election day.

I found this to be one of the more interesting installments in the long-running Prey series.  The political challenges of a case like this added an extra dimension as did a villain who wields a helluva lot of power and influence.  Getting other Sandford main characters like Kidd and that fuckin’ Flowers was a very nice bonus that made Lucas’s world seem a lot larger.

My only complaint is that while the ending provided a satisfactory conclusion, it also left a big element hanging which could be paid off in another Prey novel down the line, but it made me like I'd been left hanging on that element.

Once again Sandford proves himself to be one of the kings of the thriller genre.

Also posted on Goodreads.