John Sandford’s Silken Prey is an entertaining read. The plot is interesting, involving extremely dirty tricks during a political campaign, and the characters are mostly pleasant. This is important to me, because while a bunch of nasty, unpleasant people may be realistic, I don’t want to spend time with them. I don’t read mysteries and thrillers to be educated about the more depressing aspects of life and human nature.
Detective Lucas Davenport is not only pleasant, he and his friends are also rich. I couldn’t help imagining that the impressive houses and luxury cars of these characters mirror the lifestyle of successful author Sandford; and why not? It makes a nice change from reading about dilapidated apartments and lousy take-out meals. I appreciate the fact that the detective can, at least occasionally, go home to a happy family and a good dinner. He’s the opposite of my pet peeve, the struggling alcoholic.
I think Sandford goes too far, though, when he makes the wife of the detective’s rich friend a compulsive burglar. Bad enough that the rich friend is also a world-class computer hacker (these amazing hackers seem to turn up for deserving detectives like the god-from- the-machine of classical Greek drama), but for his attractive young wife and the mother of a small child to be a burglar? This unlikely personage breaks into the home of the prime suspect in the case simply to burgle, and just happens to be hiding under the bed when details of the crime are discussed.
I apologize if I have taken away some of the suspense for anyone who intends to read this particular book. I’m writing with the assumption that no one will actually read this, and if by chance somebody does, they aren’t likely to go right out and read whatever I wrote about.