Putnam, May 2008, $26.95
There is one case that Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Chief Lucas Davenport likes very much; watching the home of Heather Toms whose husband Sigites “Siggy” is on the run from the police for drug dealing. Siggy fled after making bail, but Lucas believes he will return for his wife and their child, as he loves both of them very much. Heather keeps her shades open giving the surveillance cops a peep show when she strips and breastfeeds.
Davenport leaves this scene when his wife Weather is asked by her friend Alyssa Austin to have him look into the case of her missing and presumed dead daughter Frances. Alyssa came home one day, found the alarm off, Frances gone, and blood splattered all over the house. Frances was into the Goth scene; her friend Fairy egged on by Loren kills three people who the pair believes are connected to Frances’ death. As Lucas investigates, he finds this is one of the most bizarre cases of his career as people are not quite as they first seem and those he thinks might have a grudge with Frances prove innocent.
Putting aside the obvious issue that Lucas is not earning chief pay as the boss needs to take care of resources (funding, people, equipment and supplies, etc) while strategically planning instead of field work, fans will enjoy his latest police procedural. The protagonist is shot at and overworked with a load of paper waiting at the office, but none of that prevents him from working both cases. Neither inquiry intersects as each is separate as they run parallel subplots. PHANTOM PREY is a riveting work in which readers will need to know who the killer is and if Siggy will come home.