Sandford’s latest takes us on a romp through Southeast Iowa. Lucas Davenport – Sandford’s main character – is now a civilian having left employment as a police officer with the State of Minnesota. Governor Henderson of Minnesota reaches out to Lucas to help solve a problem. Liberal Democrat Michela Bowden in Iowa is running for President and Henderson believes she will eventually select him as running mate. Henderson has caught wind of a threat on Bowden’s life and wants Lucas to get to the bottom of it.
Lucas drives down to Iowa and quickly finds out that he must adjust his approach to detecting since he is working in another state without a badge, weapon or the level authority and access to which he is accustomed. Lots of doors get slammed, both with civilians and with Iowa law enforcement. Never the less, he pokes around and learns of the existence of a group of local folks who are the collected disenfranchised from across the decades. Some had been involved in a bombing of a dairy in the 60’s, some were stripped of their farms through foreclosure during the 80’s, and some are conspiracy wingnuts, blaming Jews or the Government for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.
Lucas obtains a list of the 180 odd members of this alliance and he and others begin interviewing folks on the list. Bowden is adamant that she must make an official appearance at the Iowa State fair in Des Moines, if only for the press. With 100,000 daily attendees, this excursion promises to be a logistics nightmare for Bowden’s security, so the pressure is on for Lucas to uncover the details of the plot and the identity of the bad guys. Davenport gets on his Sherlock Holmes freek, eliminating the impossible to find a small group of could-have-done-its.
Marlys Purdy and her son are on the hot list and time is running short. The media walk at the State fair is just 24 hours away but Lucas is still ticking off possibles. Lucas finally locks on the Purdy’s and the venue, but still has no idea what is being planned. We get a really great tour of the Iowa State Fair, including the animal barns and wiener schnitzel on-a-stick, but tensions run high as Lucas and the Iowa law enforcement community struggle to respond to an undefined threat and to protect Bowden come what may.
Classic Sandford. The story is compelling and regional, taking place around Cedar Rapids, and so is full of familiar place names (Marlys lives north of Pella). You’ll get no spoilers from me, but Davenport may get re-badged. Did I want to keep reading? Yes, always. Great stuff.