Skip to main content

Golden Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel


Golden Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel

I was in the middle of another book when I received an advance copy of GOLDEN PREY for review. I passed it off to my older son, who is a huge fan of Lucas Davenport, not to mention Virgil Flowers and, actually, all things John Sandford. It had been in his possession for just a few hours when I received a text from him stating, “I think this is the best one yet!” I am here a couple of weeks later to report that he is correct. If GOLDEN PREY doesn’t make you an instant fan of the series, or return you to the fold, you may not have a pulse.

This latest installment marks yet another brand new turn in Lucas Davenport’s law enforcement career. His long-running stint with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) came to an end following the events chronicled in GATHERING PREY. This left him free to join the presidential campaign staff of the Minnesota governor, whose life he subsequently saved during EXTREME PREY. He was handsomely rewarded at the end of that august work with a new position in the Federal government, which brings us to GOLDEN PREY.

"There are any number of memorable characters and vignettes in GOLDEN PREY. I don’t think that I will ever pull up to a gas station pump again without thinking of one extended scene near the book’s conclusion."

Here, we find Davenport jumping with both feet into a dream job with the U.S. Marshal’s office, which will allow him to choose whatever case he wants, wherever it is. Sandford spent the conclusion of EXTREME PREY setting up the premise, so those coming from that book to this one will only need to ultilize a very mild suspension of disbelief. While Sandford never seemed to exhaust Minnesota as a vein for mining cases for Davenport, his creation now has the theoretical run of the whole country, and run it he does --- or at least the southern end of it, from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Texas --- in GOLDEN PREY.

Think of the basic plot as involving the theft of a bee’s nest off of a farm. The perpetrator will have an angry farmer after them as well as a platoon of browned-out bees. Substitute a cartel cash-counting house for a beehive, and that’s GOLDEN PREY in a nutshell. Two dangerous guys --- both well known to law enforcement --- raid the house and make off with several million dollars, leaving behind five bodies, including the six-year-old granddaughter of one of the inhabitants. As one can imagine, this does not put the duo in the cartel’s good graces, and it sends out a pair of trackers in the form of a very odd couple to dispatch the killers and retrieve the cartel’s ill-gotten and roughly lost gain.

The pair of hunters can’t stand each other, and, as painted by Sandford, their mutual dislike is highly believable. One of the subplots of GOLDEN PREY is wondering if and when one will kill the other before they complete their job or afterward. They create absolute and total mayhem as they follow the trail of the two miscreants, extracting clues as to their whereabouts the hard way and enjoying the cringe-inducing methodology of their work way too much.

Meanwhile, Davenport finds that he now has two targets --- the robbers and their pursuers. This makes for a violent but nonetheless entertaining romp through the south, across Louisiana and into Texas, as Davenport and a combination of state and federal law enforcement cohorts follow two trails and at times are themselves followed. Sandford changes the narrative points of view frequently, keeping things moving at breakneck speed and thus providing enough action and endings for at least a couple of books. The result is a novel that clocks out at nearly 400 pages, reads like it is one-third as long, and leaves the reader wanting more, more, more.

There are any number of memorable characters and vignettes in GOLDEN PREY. I don’t think that I will ever pull up to a gas station pump again without thinking of one extended scene near the book’s conclusion. There are others as well, including the very ending, which no doubt had to be rewritten when real-world events overtook Davenport’s. Hopefully he will continue to enjoy his new job as much as I did.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 28, 2017

Golden Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel
by John Sandford

  • Publication Date: April 3, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 1101988843
  • ISBN-13: 9781101988848