Book Report: Mortal Prey by John Sandford (2002)

So here’s a book about an elite assassin named Rinker coming to St. Louis to settle some old scores. I can relate to that.

So this is the second book in a row featuring a female assassin out to avenge the loss of her family (see also Dirty Work). In this case, it’s a woman whose boyfriend and the father of her child are killed in an apparent hit in Mexico. As he belonged to a crime family, the common knowledge is that he was the target, but the woman bolts and returns to America. She, an elite assassin, was the target. Now that she’s lost the baby and her lover, she wants to end the war her way.

So she makes her way to St. Louis, where she had been a hired gun for some organized crime figures. Since she had once danced with Lucas Davenport (in an earlier book, no doubt), he comes to St. Louis to help the FBI track her.

She goes on a pretty good tear, shooting her enemies and hanging out in my current environs, but then she kills an FBI agent, and they turn serious.

Come on, I was reading the book not so much for the plot at that point, but to see how well Sandford did with St. Louis. He spent some time here, that’s for certain, because he gets most of the details right. The better he did, though, the more the game became to spot the inaccuracies. Like when Davenport talks about the town of Ladue, as though the municipality were anything but a suburb. Or when he continually capitalizes the C in Laclede’s Landing. Or, most egregiously, when someone rushing out of Soulard gets onto I-44 instead of I-55. Silly Minnesotan!

So it was more fun than playing pin-the-fakery-on-the-Randisi.

So I liked the book enough; as you know, gentle reader, I’m becoming a minor Sandford fan. However, like the aforementioned Dirty Work, the book ends somewhat poorly. There’s a murder at the Botanical Gardens, an improbable escape and recovery, and then even more of an improbable final act that ends in the death of the elite female assassin. But it won’t stop me from reading further Sandfords, which is fortunate; this book represents the earliest of the three or four my beautiful wife gave me for Christmas, and I have to read what’s on the shelves.

Books mentioned in this review:


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