Book Review: John Sandford’s Silken Prey

Posted August 29, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: John Sandford’s Silken Prey

Silken Prey


John Sandford

It is part of the Lucas Davenport #23 series and is a that was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on May 6, 2014 and has 464 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Rough Country

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Winter Prey, Silent Prey, Mind Prey, Night Prey, Sudden Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Mortal Prey, Naked Prey, Hidden Prey, Broken Prey, Invisible Prey, Phantom Prey, Wicked Prey, Storm Prey, Buried Prey, Stolen Prey, Field of Prey, Gathering Prey, Dark of the Moon, Heat Lightning, Rough Country, Bad Blood, Shock Wave, Mad River, Deadline, Storm Front, Extreme Prey, Escape Clause, The Fool's Run, Deep Freeze, The Empress File

Twenty-third in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series based in Minneapolis and revolving around a detective who doesn’t mind taking a few, ahem, missteps to see true justice done.

My Take

I love how real Sandford makes Lucas. His part of the story starts out with his demon dream. We all have these. Most of ours involve being too late or without that bloody blue book on the day we have to take an exam. Or we’re walking naked down the street. Late for a plane. You know your particular dreams that haunt you. Lucas’ involves not finding his skates for a hockey game. Yep, it’s nice to know Lucas is normal…*giggle*…

“‘Don’t you trust anyone?’ she asked.

‘You and Letty,’ Lucas said. ‘Most of the time. Of course, I always check back and verify.'”

Sandford cracked me up with the story about how Smalls got rich. How he started small and “became an overnight success”, lol. Seems that Smalls, even if he is a polar opposite in his views from the governor, is also a schoolfriend of the governor’s. Those old-school ties certainly make a difference.

The Porter Smalls case will be particularly challenging and the most politically oriented one yet. One that could have ramifications on Lucas’ employability. Yep, Sandford is prepping us for Lucas to change jobs. Or at least to introduce the tension of it. On the whole, he’s enjoyed working for BCA and being the lone wolf since he prefers working alone with challenging cases. Nor is this new tension the only surprise. Turns out that Kidd’s wife is not who she’s portrayed herself as. Talk about TENSION! Kidd’s extracurricular activities will give you a giggle.

Jesus, Grant is something else. You’ll be praying for Lucas to discover that truth. God forbid someone like her should get into office. Even that of dogcatcher!! She swims in the nude where Dannon and Carver can see her because they’re nothing to her. She’s constantly getting loaded. She manipulates Dannon easily until he can’t think straight. He has no idea how she is tuning him up.

It’s also a depressing look inside political campaigns. On both sides, as they twist, spy, and distort the other side’s anything. Whatever might work to discredit them.

“‘At least we know he’s not lying to us now.’

‘How’s that?’ Lucas asked.

‘His lips aren’t moving.'”

And Sandford does not disappoint. Ever, lol. Silken Prey has more twists and turns with issues that could hurt so many. That last touch when Lucas sends Kidd and Lauren that postcard…whoowhee. Definitely an oh shit moment, lol. I can’t wait to read Field of Prey next.

…and I’m thinking we need to make political office less attractive, less…lucrative.

The Story

The mere accusation is enough to sink Smalls’ career. It won’t matter if it turns out to be false, unless Lucas can discover the truth before the election. In five days.

It’s politics and perceptions and Governor Henderson smells a rat. One that he wants Lucas to flush out. A hot potato of a case, and Lucas can’t bring any of his team in on it.

And Lucas’ actions have Del, Jenkins, and Shrake worried.

The Characters

Lucas Davenport had gone to the University of Minnesota on a hockey scholarship and studied American literature, history, and politics. It’s where this detective got his love for poetry. Now he heads up a small unit within BCA that troubleshoots for the governor. Dr. Weather Karkinnen, his wife, is a plastic surgeon with a busy schedule, and she’s thrilled that Smalls is in trouble. Helen is their housekeeper. Sam is their toddler while baby Gabrielle is in the oatmeal-throwing stage. Letty is their adopted daughter (see Naked Prey, 14, and Storm Prey, 20). Sister Mary Joseph is an old friend from Lucas’ childhood. She now teaches psychology at the University of St. Patrick and the College of St. Anne.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is…
…one of several law enforcement agencies that report, ultimately, to
the Commissioner of Public Safety Rose Marie Roux, who has had a long career in a variety of fields involving politics and law enforcement. Henry Sands is director of the BCA and doesn’t like Lucas. Del Capslock would be handy on this case, but he needs that salary and the bennies now that he and his wife have a new baby. Shrake, Jenkins, and Virgil Flowers (a former army MP captain who is also a part-time writer with a developing reputation) are all busy on other cases. Sandy is their brilliant, but part-time researcher. Bob Shaffer is a lead investigator. Other agents include Sarah Bradley and Jane Stack.

ICE, a.k.a., Ingrid Caroline Eccols, is an independent contractor who can do anything with a computer.

St. Paul PD
Detective Larry Whidden with Narcotics and Vice is investigating Smalls. Jim Reynolds is St. Paul’s computer tech. Detective Roger Morris is on a food-free diet and handling the Tubbs disappearance. Rick Card is chief of police.

Minneapolis PD
Robin Connolly is the chief of police. Sergeant Buck Marion is with internal affairs. Larry Benson is the systems manager. Lieutenant Tom Morgan and Detective Sergeant Ray Quintana is with Vice, and they had had access to porn files on a closed case. Turk Cochrane is with Homicide.

The Republican side of the campaign
Senator Porter Smalls is a conservative Republican with a bad-boy reputation who got caught with kiddie porn in an election year. Monica is his daughter and a lawyer. John Shelton is Smalls’ lawyer. Cory Makovsky works in the distribution center and is the biggest gossip. Helen Roman is the campaign secretary. Ralph Cox is the campaign manager. John Mack is his deputy. Marianne handles media.

Brittany Hunt is the volunteer who found the porn. Her parents, Tammy and Jeff, are concerned. Other campaign members include Ramona Johnson who is annoyed about everything, Bunny Knoedler, and Sally Fey who is shy and vulnerable. Daniel MacGuire is gay and runs a gay Republican group, and Rudy Holly is a conspiracy theory guy.

Ben Wells is a Republican congressman who’ll dish on anyone for a donation.

The Democratic side of the campaign
Taryn Grant is Smalls’ opponent in this race. She’s rich, beautiful, and a psychopath. Hansel and Gretel are her attack dogs. Grant Mills is the agricultural products company that is the source of the family wealth. Connie Schiffer is Taryn’s campaign manager. Doug Dannon is in charge of her security and a former intelligence officer, a captain. And he’s in love with her. Ron Carver (a former master sergeant) works security with Dannon. Both are former special ops. More security includes Barry and Alice Green, who is ex-Secret Service. Barb Siegel is the media fixer.

David Wein is a commodities broker and Taryn’s current boyfriend. Ellen Borders is a supporter. Harriet Dannon is Doug’s aunt.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party…
…a.k.a., the DLF. Don Schariff is a Democratic party operator who is most likely to know who’s spying on whom. Daryl Larson is the DLF attorney.

Neil Mitford is the chief weasel for the governor of Minnesota, Elmer Henderson, known in his youth for his wild sexual escapades. Jed Cothran and Maury Berkowitz were Minnesota U.S. senators who are friendly with Kidd. Lockes is the ambitious attorney general who sees a brighter future for himself. Sarah Sorenson and Mark Dunn, a snotty jerk, are mid-level assistant attorneys general. James Meer is another lawyer.

Kidd is an artist whom Marcy once dated (Chosen Prey, 12, and Invisible Prey, 17). He’s married now to Lauren, and they have a baby, Jackson. Seems Kidd is also famous in computer circles for his work with databases, ahem. (There’s an interesting rumor in here about Steve Jobs and Microsoft.) John and Marvel Smith are a sculptor and state senator in Arkansas, respectively, and friends of the Kidds. Weenie was once one of Minnesota’s leading fences who operated a restaurant, the Wee Blue Inn, where Lauren worked for 15 years. James Corcoran is a retired cop who remembers Lauren Wately well. Janice Watley was her mother.

Ruffe Ignace is a crime reporter with the Star Tribune. Former staff sergeant Dale Rodriguez had filed the initial report.

Bob Tubbs works politics for whoever needs his skills as a fixer, a bagman, whatever. Mrs. Thomas R. Jefferson is an elderly neighbor. Jean Coutee is all about the workingman’s rights, and drives a Jag these days. James Clay is a small-time dealer from Chicago. Clay’s alibis include Mike, Larry, Chuck, and Joe from the “red house” owned by Joan Busch who provides a warm place to party. Jamie Moore, a public defender, is his lawyer. Nancy Bennett is another public defender.

Mark James Trebuchet and Sandra Mae Otis are part of the porn. She now runs an illegal daycare that includes Carl and Spud. Irma and Bjorn Patterson were the porn photographers.

The Cover and Title

The cover is murky browns and greens with car headlights shining in the night, highlighting a greenish brown pond surrounded by too-tall trees. A bit of bright green gleams in the light even as that same light turns the fog a dirty yellow. The author’s name is at the top and split into gold and white in an embossed font while the title is a marbly sort of sky blue and a danker, darker blue.

The title is all Taryn, although she’s the kind to seek prey. Her idea of Silken Prey is more of a Machiavellian stance.