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Gathering Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel


Gathering Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel

One of the elements of the Lucas Davenport series that has kept these books new and fresh for all these years is the inclination of author John Sandford to throw a changeup at Lucas’ life and/or career. While he has held a number of law enforcement positions at the state and local levels over the course of the series, for the last several years Lucas has functioned as a lead investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), as well as occasionally acting on special assignment for the state governor. GATHERING PREY, the latest installment, turns out to be one of those pivotal volumes in the canon, heralding yet another potential change in Lucas’ career as he continues to do things his own way.

The focal point of GATHERING PREY is a segment of society that has come to be known as “Travelers.” They are a very loose nomadic tribe, joined more by culture and behavior than by group practice, who travel from place to place, supporting themselves by panhandling before moving on. Letty, Lucas’ adopted daughter, happens to befriend a pair of them, Skye and Henry, while in San Francisco, shortly before returning to Minnesota from college. The travelers, who are on their way to the Sturgis motorcycle rally, tell Letty that they will get in touch with her if they make it to the Minneapolis area.

"GATHERING PREY contains a number of surprises, not the least of which is the ending.... This is an edge-of-your-seat read on its own terms, the latest in a series that continues to get better and better."

Back in Minnesota, Letty subsequently gets a call from Skye. Henry has gone missing, and Letty assumes --- correctly, as it turns out --- that he has run afoul of a man named Pilate, a nomad who heads up a loose group of similarly minded, very dangerous people. Letty is hiding in South Dakota, terrified and unsure of what to do, and arranges for Skye to come to Minneapolis. Lucas suspects that Letty, streetwise though she is, may be getting pulled into a scam and goes along with Letty to hear Skye’s story. When he does, he slowly comes around to believing her. And when tragedy strikes and almost brings Letty into its zone, things become personal for Lucas.

Never one to worry about coloring inside the lines, Lucas takes off on his own to investigate Pilate’s group and bring them to justice. As he follows their trail into Michigan, Lucas brings the Michigan State Police into the chase --- getting himself deputized in the bargain --- as Pilate and his motley crew pursue a reign of terror across the Upper Peninsula. Lucas stands out in a crowd even in the quietest of circumstances, so all too quickly it becomes clear to Pilate who is pursuing him and why. Pilate does not plan on going out or down peacefully, and the result is a game of cat and mouse that will put Lucas’ life and job on the line before all is said and done.

GATHERING PREY contains a number of surprises, not the least of which is the ending. The events here almost certainly will resonate through the next several Davenport novels (or however many there may be) and may also affect events in Sandford’s equally entertaining Virgil Flowers series. This is an edge-of-your-seat read on its own terms, the latest in a series that continues to get better and better.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 1, 2015

Gathering Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel
by John Sandford

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0425278859
  • ISBN-13: 9780425278857