The Investigator by John Sandford: A review


I have read a few of John Sandford's books in the Prey series featuring Lucas Davenport. This book is a literal offspring of that series. It's the first in a series featuring Davenport's adopted daughter Letty Davenport.

Letty is in her mid-20s and a graduate of Stanford. She works for a U.S. senator named Christopher Colles in a desk job but she's bored with her assignments. Then the senator offers her a chance to go into the field as a liaison between his office and the Department of Homeland Security. 

In her first assignment in that position, she is sent to Texas along with DHS investigator John Kaiser to try to find out what is happening in regard to thefts of crude oil. The senator is not so concerned about the lost oil but wants to know where the money from its sale is going. Who is selling the oil and what they are doing with the profits? The suspicion is that a particularly nasty militia group led by a woman is involved.

Letty and Kaiser head out to Texas, developing their working relationship along the way. From an unpromising beginning to their association they soon learn to trust and depend on each other. The two have different areas of expertise and their talents balance one another, making for a stronger partnership. 

In Texas, the two investigators find your basic nest of vipers and have to figure out how to deal with them. Sandford is a master storyteller and his descriptions of the Texas border towns and the people who live there rang true. He excelled at his world-building and at creating compelling characters. He told the story from different points of view which gave the reader a better insight into Letty's and Kaiser's stories as well as that of their antagonists.

The story flowed well and the action came quickly and built to an exciting conclusion that made the book hard to put down. It seemed quite realistic as if it might have been plucked out of yesterday's headlines. It was a good beginning for a series that has possibilities for growth. Parenthetically, it reminded me quite a bit of Michael Connelly's series featuring female detective Renee Ballard as a spinoff from his Harry Bosch series. In this case, Sandford spins off of his Lucas Davenport series. Do I sense a trend among mystery writers developing here?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 


  1. Glad this one turned out to be such a good read. I don't think I've ever read anything by John Sandford.

    1. I've read a few of his books and pretty much liked them all - some more than others.

  2. I've been seeing this author pop up around the blog world quite a bit recently. Everyone seems to be enjoying his work!

    1. He has a lot of books and he does seem to be popular at the moment.


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