Picks and Pans Review: Eyes of Prey

updated 07/01/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/01/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by John Sandford

A grisly murder provides the most exciting case yet for Lucas Davenport, Sandford's acute, win-at-any-cost Minneapolis cop.

His woman and his daughter have left him, and Davenport is dangerously close to coming apart at the seams. But he's a model of mental health compared with the book's villain, a Twin Cities pathologist who was seriously bent before he got swept away in a tidal swell of drugs—everything from steroids to PCP—all of which he ingests the way some people do breath mints.

This walking pharmacopoeia has an arrangement with a disfigured accomplice like the one in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, wherein they swap murders while preparing airtight alibis for themselves. But the violence soon spins out of control.

Sandford's writing is tautly convincing; witness this rundown of a shady night spot: "The Loin was the Richard Coeur de Lion Lounge & Motel on the strip across from Minneapolis—St. Paul International. The place started straight, lost money for a few years, then was picked up by a more creative management out of Miami Beach. After that, it was called either the Dick or the Loin, but Loin won out. As a nickname, it was felt by the people who decided such things, 'Loin' had more class."

Sandford, a pseudonym for journalist John Camp, has come up with a plot that crackles. (Putnam, $19.95)

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