John Sanford – Shadow Prey (1990)

John Sanford has brought us to an undeniable truth the atrocities against young children in this second book of his Prey Series. He carefully and clearly shows how vulnerable they are. He portrays the anger of the parents when they get to know the guilty party to be the police themselves and their revenge on the culprits.

Lawrence Duberville Clay worked in Phoenix police force and went on to become the youngest chief of the department and also the youngest FBI director. But he has developed a vile desire for young girls during his earlier days in the Phoenix force force.

It all started with a date rape of a 12 year old drunk Indian girl during the time Larry Clay was in Phoenix police force. Larry and his friend Reed during a night of patrolling, had raped the young girl and left her in an alley. The girl told her mother who told two men, the Crows, Aaron Crow and Sam Crow. The men beat Larry outside his apartment and leave him there with broken ribs, broken hands and a broken leg.

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Larry never knew who they were except that they were Indians, and had made sure he ruled them with an iron fist in whichever post he held. The crows too never forgot what he did and are bent on taking his life, along with a few others who were against the Indians. They called it a spiritual war, and they start the war by killing a person who rents apartments at high rates to Indians and then a police officer.

Our Minneapolis Police Department, Special Investigations officer, Lucas Davenport and Frank Lester are assigned the case. Lucas has an illegitimate daughter Sarah through Jennifer Carter, a TV3 reporter. The killings seem to be random, the victims cut by a knife and Lester’s team worries that it’s the work of a group of people. A Manhattan cop, Lily Rothenberg is arranged to work with Lester and his team as she is working on a killing and eventually turns helpful by identifying the killer.

In one such killing, Lucas acquires evidence that a person named Bluebird had killed a welfare officer. And he gets to know that he was a spiritual person and has been like that after attending a gathering at a reservation. Lucas manages to get hold of the pictures taken during the meeting and Lily identifies one of them as the killer.

And John Sanford introduces a surprise character Shadow Love, son of Sam or Aaron Crow and Rosie Love, a person who feels killing would solve the problems at hand. He kills two informants, after he finds out that they have betrayed the community .

Lucas, being a gamer thinks in a different direction and tells the team that the Indians are after Larry Clay. Lucas, Lily, Lester and his team, together track down the Crows who manage to escape a moment before they reach the house. They reside at Barbara Gow’s house, a friend of Rosie Love. Lucas eventually tracks them down through the grave of Rosie Love and gets to know from Barbara that the Crows have planned to attack Clay at Corky Drake’s house.

Corky Drake arranges girls for his clients, and Clay with his insatiable hunger for little girls goes to his house with little security. The Crows manage to kill Clay and in the process a shooting follows, where Lucas kills the Crows.

Just as they expect that it’s done, Shadow Love attacks Lucas at his home. In the ensuing fight between them, Sarah is hit by little splinters in her back and Lucas does not seem to care until he kills Love. This leads to his separation from Jennifer and his daughter Sarah.

You have to read the novel to know the twists and turns and you would not put down the book without finishing it.

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