Friday, August 08, 2008
Book Report: Phantom Prey by John Sandford (2008)
A bad John Sandford book is better than any Ridley Pearson book I've read. Of course, I've only read one Pearson book, and this isn't a bad book, just not Sandford's best. However, I got to deploy hyperbole, and that's what matters to a Web log.

This book delves into Goth subculture, something mocked on Saturday Night Live when Will Ferrell was still on it, for crying out loud. When I founded a magazine in 1994, my art editor was a Goth. So he's not exactly delving into a cutting edge subculture here. Now, death amongst the Disco Revivalist Cults, that would be cutting edge. So an old white dude delving into a subculture of whom I've known members sort of made me wonder if he knew what he was talking about in writing it. Then, of course, I thought maybe he knew more than I did since I only knew goths a long time ago.

Ah, well. I figured some of it out early, clued in by the fact that the person above suspicion and the suspect both had really good asses. Yes, that's how they were described. This book struck me as more tawdry of Sandford's work, wherein he enters Parkerian territory of the main character being irresistable to all attractive members of the opposite sex, he imagines it, and then he goes home to his significant other (wife in this case). But the discussion of sex and the bawdy talk sort of sticks out in this one.

So there looks like there's going to be a plot twist, but ultimately it takes the Chandlerian plot turn into interconnected crimes of the rich and the insane, and the one saving twist I was expecting wasn't there. Finally, we get to the end, where someone who could have gotten clear decides to kill Davenport, leading to the ultimate climax that also makes a major unrelated subplot relevant in that it explains how Davenport survives.

So it's not the best of Sandford, but it's good enough. It moves along and works in ways that Pearson does not, and sometimes an attempted writer (me) ought to see the good and the not good in stark relief like this.

And this book, since I got it from the book club, is fresh and it only cost me $.20 plus $30 shipping and handling, so it was a steal so long as I don't do the math.

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."