Phantom Prey by John Sandford: A review
In this one, Alyssa, a woman friend of Weather, Davenport's wife, arrives home to find that her home security system had been disarmed and there are bloodstains on the wall of her kitchen. She expected her daughter, Frances, and her housekeeper, Helen, to be there, but the house is empty. There's no clue where the two have gone or where they might be. The housekeeper does finally show up but Frances remains missing.
The other thing is that there was a lot of blood in the kitchen and testing reveals that it is Frances' type. The case becomes a missing person investigation but there is an underlying belief that she is probably dead. The police seem to be making no progress on the case, so Alyssa contacts her friend Weather and requests that she ask her husband to get involved in the investigation. Lucas doesn't have much on his plate at the moment and probably welcomes the distraction of a hot case.
The action of the book is set in the early 2000s and Lucas learns that Frances was heavily into the Goth scene in the Twin Cities which was apparently very active at that time. He's only just begun his investigation when two of the Goths who were a part of Frances' circle of friends are murdered. This, of course, increases fears that if she is not already dead she may soon be and adds an extra element of urgency to Davenport's inquiries.
I seem to remember that the other books in the Davenport series that I have read featured a good bit of humor and that was the case with this one as well. This was the eighteenth in the series so Sandford obviously had his formula well established by the time the book was published in 2008. There are now a surprising thirty-two books in this series, plus the writer has at least a couple of other series going all of which simply boggles my mind. How does a writer come up with that many different ideas? I guess that the answer may be that they are not "different" ideas; they are simply a new set of characters and situations set within that same formula and all the writer has to do is fill in the blanks. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But it probably isn't.