Toxic Prey by John Sandford

Book review of John Sandford’s latest thriller, “Toxic Prey.

Publisher’s Description

Lucas Davenport and his daughter, Letty, team up to track down a dangerous scientist whose latest project could endanger the entire world, in this latest thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford.

Gaia is dying. That, at least, is what Dr. Lionel Scott believes. A renowned expert in tropical and infectious diseases, Scott has witnessed the devastating impact of illness and turmoil at critical scale. Society as it exists is untenable, and the direct link to Earth’s death spiral; population levels are out of control and people have allowed disarray and disorder to run rampant. While most are concerned about deadly disease, Scott knows that it is truly humanity itself that will destroy Gaia. It’s only by removing the threat that the planet can continue to prosper, and luckily, Scott is just the right man for the job

When Scott then disappears without a trace, Letty Davenport is tasked with tracking down any and all leads. Scott’s connections to sensitive research into virus and pathogen spread has multiple national and international organizations on high alert, and his shockingly high clearance levels at various institutions, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, make him the last person they’d like to go missing. As the web around Scott becomes more tangled, Letty calls in her father, Lucas, help her lead a group of specialists to find Scott as soon as possible. But as Letty and Lucas begin to uncover startling and disturbing connections between Scott and Gaia conspiracists, their worst fears are confirmed, and it quickly becomes a race to find him before the virus he created becomes the perfect weapon.

Thrilling Reads Review

John Sandford remains a titan in the thriller genre, and his latest entry in the Prey series, “Toxic Prey,” does not disappoint. Marking the 34th installment, this book exemplifies why Sandford’s work continues to captivate. The pacing is brisk and immersive, making each page thrilling to turn.

Sandford tackles a terrifyingly plausible theme that mirrors the chaos of contemporary conspiracy theories and post-pandemic fears. This heddy—intensely cerebral—subject matter is woven expertly into a police procedural format, maintaining the novel’s entertainment value while provoking thoughtful consideration.

The plot centers on a renowned expert in tropical and infectious diseases who mysteriously disappears. Letty Davenport, alongside her father, Lucas, dives into a maze of leads to uncover the truth. This father-daughter duo brings a delightful dynamic to the narrative, enriching the story with their deepening relationship and combined wit, which lightens the otherwise tense atmosphere.

“Toxic Prey” offers a mix of excitement, fear, and intrigue. The storyline is tightly wound and compelling, with characters that leap off the page. Lucas and Letty Davenport shine particularly bright, their banter and chemistry providing a counterbalance to the novel’s darker themes.

However, it’s worth noting that the plot’s closeness to real-world issues might not be for everyone. If you’re seeking pure escapism, this might not be the ideal read. But for those who appreciate a thriller that reflects deep-seated societal fears, “Toxic Prey” is a hit.

In summary, “Toxic Prey” is a stellar continuation of Sandford’s beloved series. The dialogue snaps, the plot races, and the father-daughter collaboration at the heart of this novel is both heartwarming and exciting. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to Sandford’s work, this book promises to be a memorable addition to your reading list.

It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

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