This time, Lucas Davenport is the prey
Years ago, Lucas Davenport almost died at the hands of Clara Rinker, a pleasant, soft-spoken, low-key Southerner, and the best hitwoman in the business. Now retired and living in Mexico, she nearly dies herself when a sniper kills her boyfriend, the son of a local druglord, and while the boy's father vows vengeance, Rinker knows something he doesn't: The boy wasn't the target-she was-and now she is going to have to disappear to find the killer herself. The FBI and DEA draft Davenport to help track her down, and with his fiancie deep in wedding preparations, he's really just as happy to go-but he has no idea what he's getting into. For Rinker is as unpredictable as ever, and between her, her old bosses in the St. Louis mob, the Mexican druglord, and the combined, sometimes warring, forces of U.S. law enforcement, this is one case that will get more dangerous as it goes along. And when the crossfire comes, anyone standing in the middle won't stand a chance....
Filled with the rich characterization and exceptional drama that are his hallmarks, Mortal Prey proves that John Sandford just keeps getting better.
It's the little things about Lucas Davenport that make him such a kick to follow his ruminations about why a public bus smells like urine, his fear that a cell phone won't work in the bathroom "with all the tile." Davenport is, of course, a marvelous if unorthodox cop from Minneapolis, starring here in his 13th Prey offering, which finds creator Sandford operating at top efficiency and in high style. Clara Rinker, the hit woman extraordinaire who slipped out of Davenport's grasp in 1999's Certain Prey, is now back on the prowl, looking for revenge against old enemies from Kansas City who killed her fiance and shot her in the gut. The bullet spared her life, but not that of her baby. The FBI, knowing she's headed to Missouri, assembles a huge team of shirt-and-tie, laptop-carrying agents, but also taps Davenport to make the trip. Sure enough, Rinker starts knocking off old business partners in creative ways, making the tech-minded FBI look foolish. It's only Davenport and his feet-on-the-street savvy that finally rope Rinker into a furious pursuit and showdown. Sandford's eye for the tell-all character quirk remains finely tuned, as does his deadpan humor, rivaled by few in the crime-drama ranks. Longtime fans should take note that changes are ahead for Davenport. He's marrying his sweetie, Dr. Weather Karkinnen, and they're having a kid. He's also about to leave the city police force, following his boss, Rose Marie Roux, to a job with the state police.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 12, 2002
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Excerpt from Mortal Prey by John Sandford
THE THOUGHT POPPED INTO HER HEAD as she lay in the soft-washed yellowed sheets in the hospital bed. The thought popped in between the gas pains and muscle spasms, through the pungent odor of alcohol swabs, and if she'd read the thought in a book, she might have smiled at it.
She wasn't smiling at anything now.
She stared past the IV drip bag at the whitewashed plaster ceiling and tried not to groan when the pains came, knowing that they would end; tried not to look at the hard-eyed Mexicano at the end of the bed, his hand never far from the pistol that lay under the newspaper on the arm of his chair. Tried not to think about Paulo.
Tried not to think about anything, but sometimes the thoughts popped up: tall, wiry Paulo in his ruffled tuxedo shirt, his jacket on the chair, a glass of red wine in one hand, his other hand, balled in a fist, on his hip, looking at himself in the full-length mirror on the back of his bedroom door, pretending to be a matador. Paulo with the children's book Father Christmas, sitting naked at her kitchen table with a glass of milk and a milk mustache, delighted by the grumpy Santa Claus. Paulo asleep next to her, his face pale and trusting in the day's first light, the soft light that came in over the gulf just before sunrise.
But the thought that might have made her smile, if it was in a book, was:
Just like the fuckin' Godfather.
LIKE THIS: AN Italian restaurant called Gino's, with the full Italian-clichi stage setting-sienna orange walls, bottles of Chianti with straw wrappers, red-and-white checked tablecloths, baskets of hot crusty bread as soon as you sat down, the room smelling of sugar and wheat, olives and peppers, and black oily coffee. A few rickety tables outside faced the Plaza de Arboles and the fifties tourist-coordinated stucco church across the way, San Fernando de Something-or-Other. The church belfry contained a loudspeaker that played a full, slow bell version of the Singing Nun's "Dominique," more or less at noon, depending on whose turn it was to drop the needle on the aging vinyl bell-record.
Paulo took her to lunch almost every day, picking her up at the hotel where she worked as a bookkeeper. They'd eat Mexican one day, California or French the next, Italian twice a week. He picked her up about noon, so on most days she could hear, near or far, the recorded bells of San Fernando's.
Gino's was the favored spot. Despite the clichid Italian stage-setting, there was an actual Gino cooking at Gino's, and the food was terrific. Paulo would pick her up in a black BMW 740iL, his business car, with his smooth-faced business driver. They'd hook up with friends, eat a long Caribbean lunch and laugh and argue and talk politics and cars and boats and sex, and at two o'clock or so, they'd all head back to work.
A pattern: not predictable to the minute, but predictable enough.
ISRAEL COEN SAT up in the choir loft at the back of the church with his rifle, a scoped Remington Model 700 in .30-06. He'd sighted it in along a dirt track west of town, zeroed at exactly sixty yards, the distance he'd be shooting across the Plaza de Arboles. There was no problem making the shot. If all you wanted was that Izzy Coen make a sixty-yard shot with a scoped Remington 700, you could specify which shirt button you wanted the slug to punch through.
Not that everything was perfect. The moron who'd bought the gun apparently thought that bigger was better, so Izzy would be shooting at sixty yards through an eight-power scope, and about all he could see was a shirt button. He would have preferred no magnification at all, or an adjustable two- to six-power scope, to give him a little room around the crosshairs. But he didn't have that, and would have to make do.