Skip to main content

Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel


Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel

I am not entirely sure how one makes a fictional protagonist who has been the primary character in 30 novels (and a secondary one in several others) unpredictable, but John Sandford has done it with Lucas Davenport in MASKED PREY. There are numerous twists and turns here, including one that leaves the reader hungry for what hopefully will be coming next.

Davenport’s latest incarnation as a semi-autonomous U.S. Marshal is the most interesting to date. It frees him from being restricted to Minnesota (and the occasional contiguous state) as he was in his prior careers as a Minneapolis police detective and with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t jump when a senator from Minnesota calls (and sends a plane to pick him up). Jump he does, and for good reason.

"Part of the fun of MASKED PREY is watching Davenport march off in well-intended and well-reasoned, but occasionally wrong, directions when hunting his prey."

While tooling around on the internet using facial recognition software, the daughter of another U.S. senator has reported finding her image on a more or less hidden website containing photos of the children of some other politicians, as well as a number of political articles, editorials and blogs from various sources. The printed matter, juxtaposed with the pictures, is considered to be possibly threatening.

Davenport is tasked with finding out who is responsible for putting up the website and shutting down the threat before it causes any grievous harm. He is joined in this endeavor by FBI Agent Jane Chase, who readers of the series are familiar with, as well as Bob Matees and Rae Givens of the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, who we also have met before.

Meanwhile, Sandford demonstrates the effect that the website is having when a lone wolf is exposed to it and concocts a plan to shoot one of the children pictured. Davenport and his co-workers have no idea what is going on, and chase a slender evidentiary thread that ultimately puts them onto the plot. They catch a break along the way and discover who created the website, which indirectly leads to the story’s satisfactory conclusion, though not in the manner that one might expect or predict. Additionally, Sandford gives readers a hint at what may be Davenport’s port of service, and it’s a fun one. It will be more so if and when he gets there.

Part of the fun of MASKED PREY is watching Davenport march off in well-intended and well-reasoned, but occasionally wrong, directions when hunting his prey. Sandford is a master of this technique and shows off his talent to good effect here. While not one of his best books, it certainly is in the upper echelons and worth your while, particularly for seasoned readers of the series. Don’t miss it.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 17, 2020

Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel
by John Sandford

  • Publication Date: March 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525539549
  • ISBN-13: 9780525539544