Ocean Prey
December 29, 2021

Book Review

Ocean Prey

reviewed by Pam Guynn

John Sandford brings investigation, action, surveillance, and suspense to the latest book in the Prey series. An off-duty Coast Guardsman, Barney Hall, and his family are fishing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale when he calls in suspicious activity to the watch officer.

A boat appears to be picking up a lone diver in the middle of the ocean. When the three guardsmen sent to investigate are killed, the FBI is called in. However, when its investigation stalls, a U.S. Senator from Florida convinces Lucas Davenport, a U.S. Marshall, to become part of the task force and resolve it. Lucas partners will Bob Matees, another Marshall, to assist the investigation. Later on, Virgil Flowers, who used to work for Lucas at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, joins the task force as well. What were the diver and the men in the boat that murdered the guardsmen doing?

Two fantastic characters come together when Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers team up. Their personalities and approaches to an investigation are very different. However, both have depth. Lucas is a character whose methods I sometimes disagree with. He has plenty of good qualities and always tries to do the right thing. Virgil pursues a legal solution and he also has the ability to think like a criminal.

The story is part investigation and part action thriller. The opening is strong, intriguing, and impactful. This disturbing event hooked me and immediately drew me into the novel. A suspenseful narrative provides plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. The first dive scene was especially impactful, visual, and somewhat nerve-racking. The story takes readers from Florida, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.

Sandford’s writing is always great, but his world-building in the dive scenes in this novel was fantastic. He’s a superb storyteller who kept me on the edge of seat as the investigation and action unfolded. The dialogue deepened the conflict and pulled this reader into the inner world of the characters. There was a strong sense of place causing me to feel transported, as though living the events alongside the characters. The final action scenes are riveting and high-powered, and the epilogue does a great job of tying up the loose ends.

Overall, this was suspenseful and action packed with compelling characters that kept me turning the pages. It’s a great series and I’m looking forward to reading the next one in both this series and the Virgil Flowers series.

PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and John Sandford provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for April 13, 2022.

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