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Silken Prey by John Sandford

Silken Prey Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Porter Smalls seemed to be cruising to a new term as Senator from Minnesota. Although his opponent, Taryn Grant was better funded and had made the election tighter than he’d like by attacking him on his right winged stands, the election looked like it was his. Until the morning the campaign worker set the file down on his computer and kiddy porn popped up on the screen. Now, not only was he likely to lose the election, he might well spend considerable time in prison. Smalls claims the porn was a plant, a political dirty trick and while most scuffed at the idea, the Democratic Governor actually did believe Smalls. Although not particularly friendly with the Senator, the Governor had known Smalls since childhood and just didn’t think it was possible that the man he knew was in to kiddy porn. The Governor calls Davenport and asks him to investigate and to do it quickly since Election Day rapidly approaching.

There are twenty-three books in the Prey series, and in my opinion, Silken Prey is one of the best. While there are some in the series that have more action and have a grittier feel to them, the plotting in Silken Prey glides along as smooth as the silk in the title. Sandford does an excellent job of setting the stage for the reader by letting us inside the campaigns of both candidates and then pulling us along with Davenport as he unravels the case. There are plenty of characters with shady pasts and dead bodies for Davenport to uncover to keep things interesting.

One of the best plot threads involves Kidd, a computer wizard who is the main character is a few of Sandford’s other books. In Silken Prey, Davenport calls him into service to get information from sources not easily-or legally-accessible. Over the course of the book, readers will find out quite a bit about Kidd’s wife Lauren and her past. This thread of the story provides both a moral dilemma for readers to weigh and some fun. The information Kidd provides helps Davenport a great deal but was gathered in a subversive manner. Does the outcome ever justify the means? On the other hand, Lauren’s involvement just muddies things up a bit for Davenport in a most entertaining way. I’m hoping to see more of Lauren in future books.

Taking a step away from the gritty streets of Minneapolis and into the murky world of dirty politics, Lucas Davenport is at his best in Silken Prey.

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