enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: John Sandford, Extreme Prey

I read this book about 29-Aug-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2016. This note was last modified Thursday, 01-Sep-2016 16:23:18 PDT.

This is book 26 of the "Prey" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Lucas tracks down a killer aiming at a presidential candidate stumping Iowa for the caucuses.

He's between jobs again, doing this on contract. Luckily the candidates have some pull in Iowa (it's the Minnesota governor, actually campaigning with the hope of being chosen as vice president if he runs a good campaign, who hires Lucas), so he gets cooperation from state authorities.

It comes down to the smallest bits of luck in the end. His hunting pushes the killers (turns our her son is working with the primarily killer) into backup plans and such. She triggers the super-shotgun IED just as the alarm is given, and a few people are killed but not the candidate and not Lucas either.

I found this one annoyingly flat (kind of like Iowa, actually). Lucas is cut off from all the usual additional characters, and though he has dinner with with some of them while visiting home once, we aren't shown that in detail, and the references just make me miss them more. And Letty is off at college (Stanford), also not here.

It also lacks much feeling of place, somehow. I get weird reactions to Sandford's book on this; his ones in Minneapolis seem weirdly distant to me, but his books in small Minnesota towns feel intimate with the locations. Well, these small farm towns don't come through that way at all.

And there's a very annoying sub-plot about a bombing several decades ago at a dairy (echo of Sara Jane Olson, I think). I almost feel like it's in there for political balance, accidentally catching her and making sure she's convicted, thus ruining the rest of her life, so people don't get mad at him for stopping the other bomber from stopping Hillary (a female presidential candidate in a book published in 2016 has to read as Hillary Clinton unless great efforts are made to avoid it, and no such efforts were visible).

Part of what bothers me about the dairy bombing sub-plot is that no character at any point expresses the slightest feeling of discomfort at digging this up and sending the woman who has clearly done nothing the slightest bit wrong since then to jail. It's inhumane, authoritarian, zero-tolerance thinking. (You can make arguments that in the end you have to. Some of them even have some weight. It wouldn't bother me that much if that was the outcome, especially since it's just a side-plot in this book. It's that nobody shows any signs of compassion or doubt.)


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