John Sandford: Hidden Prey

I read a detective story in English for a change. John Sandford has written a series of novels with names lacking imagination, such as Naked Prey, Sudden Prey and Winter Prey.

Lucas Davenport is a detective of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Nadezhda Kalin is a female Russian agent. These two people work together as Nadezhda is sent to the USA to investigate the murder of a Russian businessman.

Strange details of the murder emerge, pointing to the unbelieveable existence of an old {Soviet spy ring still functioning in Minnesota}. The book reveals, little by little, the stories of the last people running it.

The book wasn’t very inspiring, it took long for me to read it. It lay in my bookshelf for long intervals because I had more interesting stuff to do…

The murderer, who commits more murders as the story progresses, is a high-school boy indoctrinated into Communist ideology. It’s hard for me to believe that a child growing in a stable, supportive environment could be misled so gravely in real life.

What I like in the book is Sandford’s subtle humour, sometimes at the expence of the female Russian agent’s poor English skills. I’d like to share two examples of the humour.

She [Marcy, a female police officer] stooped to look past Lucas to Nadya [=Nadezhda, the Russian agent] and said, “You must be the Russian guy.” “Yes,” Nadya said. “You are the policeman?”

[A postal worker refuses to give a delivery, including a piece of evidence, to Lucas’s colleague, pointing out that the sign on the post office wall says, “Postal employees only.”] Del said, “Next time you have a massacre, who you gonna call? A mailman?”

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