Book Report: Silent Prey by John Sandford (1992)

Book coverIt’s strange; I’ve borrowed a number of the later parts to this series from the library, and this is an ex-library volume that I own, so I kinda felt like I had to be extra careful with it when I read it. Even though, as an ex-library copy, it’s obvious that other people have not been as scrupulous as I. I passed this book a number of times on my shelves, each time a little surprised that I owned one of Sandford’s books that I had yet to read. Finally, the time was right, and I happened to spot it sometime other than I was 300 pages into a 600 page science fiction or high fantasy epic.

It’s an early volume from the series; number four, I think. Davenport has not yet become the political fixer cop he does later, although he does get a glimpse of that lifestyle as he travels to New York to try to hunt a serial killer whom he’d already captured in Minneapolis but who escaped custody. The killer is strung out on drugs and–wait for it–does gruesome things. Seriously. Although he just dumps the bodies and does not pose them ritually, which differentiates him from some of Sandford’s other villains.

As Davenport purportedly is supposed to draw press attention from the actual cops hunting the serial killer, he’s also commissioned as an outsider by a secret intelligence project to find a group of vigilante cops who might be vigilanteing. So there’s another thread here with lots of intrigue.

It’s an okay book, but Sandford does a very, very naughty thing: he withholds a very pertinent bit of information so he can spring it on us as a surprise. The bad guy is crossdressing to get his victims. So we get him all out and about and whatnot, and this pertinent bit is not revealed until an interview with a jailhouse neighbor transvestite reveals that the villain learned how to do it right from him. Then, suddenly, we get passages of the villain dolling himself up and mentions that he’s walking in heels, and so on. I mean, he’s hiding out as live-in help for an elderly woman by wearing drag at all hours, and this is not mentioned until two-thirds of the way through the book. Oh, for Pete’s sake.

Books mentioned in this review: