Her adoption by Lucas Davenport, the protagonist in the author’s Prey series, has led to a much happier life. She’s now twenty-five, a graduate of Stanford, and an investigator for inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. However, her real boss is Senator Christopher Colles.
The events in book one of the series has brought her to the attention of several branches of the U.S. government. A joint operation between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency seems perfect. Along with a reluctant government computer programmer, Rod Baxter, Letty is asked to infiltrate a hacker group. While they work to uncover the plans of the hacker group, Letty and Rod believe they’ve been lied to about the mission.
Letty is smart and determined, with a somewhat warped sense of humor and a tendency to be rash at times. She also takes after Lucas in several ways including her proficiency and knowledge of guns and her love of fashion. Rod is somewhat stereotyped in the beginning of the novel. He’s characterized as cowardly, intelligent, and slovenly. However, he is the character who experiences the most dramatic changes in attitude and outlook as the story unfolds.
The story is part undercover investigation and part action thriller. The opening chapter is memorable, but it isn’t part of the main storyline. However, it does give some insight into the types of missions Letty has been given lately, and it gives some insight into her personal life. This personal insight is needed to make Letty more relatable. Additionally, it is a way to introduce some new characters into the series.
Sandford’s writing is always great. It is fluid and flows well, and his world-building is fantastic. There is a strong sense of place causing me to feel transported to California. He’s a superb storyteller who kept me on the edge of my seat as the undercover operation and action unfolded. The final action scenes are riveting and hauntingly memorable. It is very relevant and has a terrifying realism to it. I also liked the fact that Letty was learning from others during the course of the novel, which made her more realistic and slightly less of a larger-than-life over-the-top protagonist. Themes include violence, murder, espionage, hacking, theft, and much more. The novel also highlights the complexity of international and national politics and government activities.
Overall, this was suspenseful and action packed with compelling characters that kept me turning the pages. With exciting scenes and a fascinating story, it captivated me. I’m looking forward to reading more about Letty and her future assignments.
PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and John Sandford provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. The publication date is currently set for April 11, 2023.