Neon Prey

By John Sandford

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

$27.95, hardcover

I always welcome a new book by John Sandford, and particularly one in his Lucas Davenport series. This one, though, was just a bit far out. Be warned that you should not try to read it while eating lunch.

Clayton Deese, the bad guy, is a paid enforcer and/or killer-for-hire in New Orleans, who has developed a taste for barbecuing and devouring parts of his victims.

Luke is now a U.S. marshal, giving him a much wider range of locations in which to chase murderous crooks, as well as an even more venomous clientele than his more localized gigs of the past.

Deese, the current number one fugitive he is asked to aid in capturing, doesn’t plan to make it easy for the officers chasing him.

Time after time, Luke and his cohorts think they have him cornered, only to realize they’ve been outwitted again.

A few of the best-loved characters from other novels in this series are brought into the plot, including Luke’s adopted daughter, Lettie. Now a college senior, she is trying to decide what to do after graduation.

Luke’s friend and fellow law enforcement officer, Virgil Flowers, is nervously awaiting the birth of his first child.

Sandford has allowed Lucas to accumulate years and scars along the way, to this book, so he is no longer quite the invincible force for good (with a few sidebar trips along the way) that he once thought himself to be.

He is still wealthy from the development of gaming and law enforcement software, always something of a clothes horse, and as willing as ever to exhibit his antipathy to snakes – that means he’s the Luke who Sandford fans have come to love.

Although this wasn’t my favorite volume in the entire Prey series, it was head and shoulders above most of the other novels I have read lately.

I’ll most certainly be among the thousands of fans eagerly awaiting a chance to read the next one.

The Body in the Wake

By Katherine Hall Page

William Morrow

$25.99, hardcover

It’s a treat when in the space of a couple of days, I am able to find two new books by authors I know will not let me down. I was still finishing Sandford’s “Neon Prey” when I found this new light mystery by Katherine Hall Page.

On Sanpere Island in Maine for the summer, Faith Fairchild is surprisingly free of her usual full slate of commitments. Her husband, Tom, who is an Episcopalian priest, is busy working on a book, leaving Faith to her own devices, but only after she promises not to look for mysteries to solve.

Both of her children are also booked for the summer – her college-age son with a work-study project, and his younger sister, Amy, with a job as a sous chef at a nearby resort.

Faith is helping with weddinbg plans for the daughter of her long-time friend, Pix, but that’s nothing for a woman accustomed to being overbooked on a daily basis.

Then Faith and a friend discover the tattooed body of a young man as they are swimming in a nearby lake. She hadn’t intended to break her “no investigating mysteries” promise to Tom, but she just can’t ignore this when she realizes the man didn’t drown.

And then, there is the couple who have moved into the house nearest Pix and her husband. These people are ignoring regulations and cutting down trees on their property – and don’t want anyone telling them about legalities.

They aren’t even polite about what they consider their “rights,” basically ordering Pix off their property and telling her to mind her own business.

Of course, a couple of other bodies are found. And then there is the neighbor who is scheduled to be a wedding attendant, but has problems no one expects.

Another complication involves the chef who fails to return to the nearby resort’s kitchen, leaving Faith (a caterer by profession) to fill in until a replacement can be found.

As you can see, there are problems galore, and what began as a restful vacation becomes something else, entirely.

As I always do when I read a book in the long (25 titles to date) series featuring Faith Fairchild, her family and friends, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Marrying Winterborne

By Lisa Kleypas

Avon Books

$7.99, paperback

Rhys Winterborne is a superb businessman, but he falls short in the area of gentlemanly manners.

He’s determined to remedy the situation – until he receives a second-hand refusal of his proposal of marriage to Lady Helen Ravenel.

Now she has appeared in his office demanding to see him, and his pride will permit him to give her just five minutes to state her piece, though his immediate answer will be “No.”

But that is before she explains she wants him. Yes, she wants to marry him. It’s tempting, but Rhys wants to be certain she is serious, so he demands her virginity before marriage.

Will she dare? What if …

But Lady Helen is determined, and she has more gumption than Rhys expects.

It’s a romance novel that hits all the stops for keeping your interest.

Marie Beth Jones is a published author and freelance writer based in Angleton. Contact her at 979-849-5467 or 1mbjones@nnewwave.com.

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