Book tip: "Neon Prey" by John Sanford
A few books back, author John Sanford took a good look at his beloved Lucas Davenport series and made a tough call: He completely shook the components up to avoid what he perhaps feared was a staleness setting in after two-dozen novels starring the Minneapolis-based criminal investigator who rose through the ranks, got married, raised a family, and solved crimes with a reliable set of cop pals whose personalities were incredibly strong. Now, Davenport has taken a job with the U.S. Marshal service; he's away from Minneapolis for long stretches of time — old friends and family are relegated to mere mentions in terms of plot — and he has a whole new series of charismatic co-workers. It was a gutsy move but it's paid off. This time out? A Louisiana serial killer/cannibal heads west to Vegas, joins up with a relative's vicious home-invasion crew, and the body count rises. It's funny, it's clever, it's propulsive and — whether a serial-killing cannibal can abruptly change his felonious habits and work with others is indeed feasible — "Neon Prey" is a great read.