Thursday, June 12, 2008

CERTAIN PREY by John Sandford

By John Sandford
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 039914496X
Hardback, 339 pages, $24.95 US
Genre: Mystery

As a teenager, Clara Rinker ran away from home and an abusive stepfather. While working as a dancer in a strip club, Clara is raped but plots her vengeance and kills the man who assaulted her. This begins a long career for Clara as a hired killer. Carmel Loan is a successful defense attorney in Minneapolis, a woman who is used to getting what she wants. And she wants Hale Allen, but standing in her way is Allen’s wife. Through a third-party, Carmel hires Clara to kill Allen’s wife, at which point, Lucas Davenport steps into the picture. Before Clara can enjoy her new relationship with Allen, the liaison she used to contact Clara tries to blackmail Carmel, so Carmel hires Clara personally to take care of this matter. From this point, things begin to unravel, which requires Clara and Carmel to team up and commit more murders. All the while, Davenport and his crew are one step behind the two killers, with no evidence to tie either one to any of the murders.

This is the tenth book in the Prey series by John Sandford, which remains as fresh at this point as at the beginning. Lucas Davenport is an engaging character, an intelligent and intense investigator who enjoys his career chasing killers. Although there is no actual mystery to figure out here, which marks this as more of a thriller, the chase by Davenport and several strong secondary characters is fine-tuned and all the more enjoyable to follow.

THE OVERLOOK by Michael Connelly

By Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316018951
Hardback, 225 pages, $21.99
Genre: Mystery

LAPD detective Harry Bosh has a new job in the Homicide Special division, which handles murders with political, celebrity or media connections, or those called hobby cases, which are difficult to solve and take much time. His first call out involves a doctor killed at an overlook above Mulholland Dam. Bosch and his new partner, Ignacio Ferras, are surprised when the FBI shows up at the crime scene. The dead doctor worked with radioactive materials and the FBI thinks his murder is tied to a terrorist plot to build and activate a dirty bomb in Los Angeles. When they learn that radioactive material has been stolen from the doctor, the case shifts to investigate the terrorists who took the substance instead of who killed the doctor. But Bosch thinks there’s more to this murder than what’s obvious.

Harry Bosch is once more at odds with the FBI and his own police department, but this relentless detective will not back down and pursues his own investigation in his own way. Bosch is an edgy man with a rebellious streak, a detective whose skills continue to keep him in good standing with the upper echelons of the police department, although he always manages to alienate most of those around him. Although this mystery is relatively easy for the reader to solve, the plot is tight and suspenseful, and takes place within a 12-hour time span.