Saturday, September 21, 2019

Book Reviews: Golden Prey

Golden Prey
by John Sandford
This is an installment in a series. If I had known that before I made the decision to purchase it, I may not have bought the book. I usually like to start at the beginning. However, in this case, having read the book I'm glad I did purchase it. Ironically, after getting a strong sense of deja vu while reading the book, I later discovered that I have a few other books in this series. Go figure.

This book was just under 400 pages in hardcover but these days that's short for a novel. I didn't think the story dragged at any point though there were certainly some characters I enjoyed reading about more than others. This book is not lightweight in any pejorative sense of the word. But it is good reading if you are stuck somewhere without anything intellectually stimulating. So if you must spend a few hours in an airport, an auto dealership, a hospital lounge or somewhere similar you could do worse than to have this book by your side. 

One of my cousins got me started watching some of the true crime shows on the cable network Investigation Discovery. This book was like one of those shows put in print. And I very much mean that as a compliment. Lucas Davenport is a former Minnesota cop who saved the life and political career of some national bigshots, including a former first lady who is running for President. He's also wealthy. Cashing in some chips, and still protected and watched over by aforementioned political big shots, Lucas has transferred from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the US Marshals service. 

Unusually, in deference to his good deeds and his intelligence, Lucas has been granted the authority to choose his own cases. He also doesn't really have to report to the local US Marshal chief.

Garvin Poole is a lanky, quiet, handsome musician and luthier with a special interest in blues and country music. He's polite and minds his own business. He can, if so inclined, happily discuss the finer points of guitar crafting and country bands with you. 

Garvin is also one of the last remaining members of the Dixie Hicks, a group of good old boys who make their living selling dope, robbing other criminals, doing armed robberies and bank heists, and occasionally committing murder for hire.

Even among that group Garvin stands out for his utter lack of conscience and remorse. He will kill anyone who gets in his way or who threatens to testify against him. Period. Family and children are NOT excluded. With the possible exceptions of his girlfriend and best friend Garvin cares nothing for anyone. Garvin is a virtuoso with a gun. 

Garvin and his beautiful girlfriend, Dora Box, who is almost as sociopathic, are finding it difficult to move gold from a previous score. They need cash. They need to move. Garvin's super intelligent friend Sturgill Darling has cased a cartel drug house. It's not well protected because the cartel correctly believes that most people would be too afraid to rob them. But Garvin isn't most people. In short time everyone in the house is dead, including a small child. And Garvin, Dora, and Sturgill have almost $8 million to divvy up. They skedaddle.

But you don't get to run a cartel or rise high in the Marshals service by being stupid. Independently, Lucas Davenport and the cartel bosses quickly determine who was behind the robbery and murders. Davenport and his team start sniffing Garvin's trail. So do two bickering and wildly mismatched cartel killers, who haven't yet murdered each other only because they can't get permission from their unnamed bosses. Sandford leads the reader on a breakneck chase and chess match across the South. 

I liked the book's CSI elements. People on both sides realize their bosses might not be truthful. I would be interested in reading more about Garvin Poole and his misadventures. If you enjoy smart, engaging action/thriller stories that are easy reading, check this out.
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