The iconic Lucas Davenport is back in Sandford’s Buried Prey. When the bodies of two young girls are discovered at a construction site, an investigation that focused on the wrong suspect is resurrected, and Davenport has an opportunity to right the errors of his first case as a fledgling detective.
In a scenario of “Then” and “Now,” Sandford proves that he is at the top of his game, contrasting a young, ambitious Davenport with the seasoned detective, now a high ranking member of the Minneapolis Department of Criminal Apprehension. Gazing down at the Jones sisters’ child-sized remains, Lucas remembers everything about that first case, his urgency to leave patrol and get into detective work - or leave a law enforcement career behind.
Much has changed in the last twenty-five years, and Sanford’s plot device of past and present artfully illustrates the decisions that have brought Lucas to his present position, his finely-honed skills built on years of practical experience in the field and the political realities of a career in law enforcement. The heady days when ambition overrode his instincts and Lucas gave in to the direction his superior chose to follow in resolving the Jones case are long past. Now Lucas is struck with regret, all too aware that the real killer has been free to claim more victims. This time Davenport won’t be hampered by lack of experience or seniority, cooperating with a female detective with whom he shared a short, intense romance.
A dedicated family man with a pregnant wife, Lucas takes a short trip down memory lane, never regretting the thirty-day pre-marriage affair but cautious in sharing information once he scents his elusive prey. Casting aside the reservations that detoured the first investigation, Lucas has no intention of letting this monster slip through his fingers again. Backed into a corner, DNA a powerful tool against criminals, the killer is aware of the BCA’s top investigator’s interest in finding him. Ironically, the only witness twenty-five years ago has found the lure of television cameras too exciting to resist, granting frequent interviews that bring her to the attention of the man who is the focus of an intense manhunt.
As fans of Lucas Davenport know, Sandford is at his best in the Prey series, with taut plotting and an eye for the unpredictability of human behavior that can bring success or terrible tragedy. Hampered by lingering guilt, Lucas is driven to reconcile with the past: “The image of the dead girls hung in his eyes.” There’s a reason Davenport has remained a fan favorite, from the cocky assurance of the young detective to the mature, focused investigator, a man of intense loyalty and integrity. And Sandford never gets stale or rests on his past successes, injecting a fresh perspective into the case, his protagonist still capable of outrage, a heinous killer about to face a final reckoning with justice.