John Sandford is one of those writers whose books hit the road running and never look back.  I can devour one of his in an evening and a day, or two evenings.  The pacing is always frenetic, the characters absorbing, the danger palpable.  And all too believable.

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In Wicked Prey, 19th in the “Prey” series set in Minneapolis/St. Paul that is Sandford’s longest running of the several he writes, Lucas Davenport is getting ready to adopt his ward, Letty West.  Married to surgeon Weather, with whom he shares young son, Sam, family life is the most stable it has ever been for the intelligent and intuitive cop, whose many outings have taken him through several incarnations throughout the world of detecting, politics, bad guys and crime.

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This time the Republican Convention is is town, so the verisimiltude is apt.  Most of the available cops and agents are taken up providing security and watching that protesters don’t get out of hand.  There is plenty of Secret Service and FBI around, too, but not enough, it turns out, when it comes to foiling a crew of experienced professional thieves who are using the convention and its attendees to fund their retirements.

A young white supremacist loaded with heavy ammo hits town, and the plot is complicated by a wheelchair-bound pimp who blames Lucas for putting him there.  Aided by a young masochistic prostitute and a drug addict with a fried brain, he is determined to make Lucas suffer by kidnapping Letty and torturing her.

Are you hooked yet?  Sandford is a master at setting up all of his characters, showing us their distinct personalities and quirks.  There are twists, surprises, and one totally enterprising young woman.  This is quick, interesting reading at its best.

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