July 09, 1990 12:00 PM

by John Sandford

A slumlord and a bigoted parole officer have their throats cut by an Indian ceremonial knife in Minneapolis. In short order, a welfare commissioner in New York City, a federal judge in Oklahoma City and the attorney general of South Dakota are killed in the same ritualized style—a series of murders that is traced back to a mystical faction of Indians from a Minnesota reservation.

It’s a case that calls for the dogged and resourceful talents of Lt. Lucas Davenport, the Porsche-driving street cop from the Twin Cities. In this follow-up to Rules of Prey, Sandford (a pseudonym for Pulitzer prize-winning journalist John Camp) gives us a hero whose early intensity has given way to smugness. Davenport is further diminished by being shackled to an implausible romance with a visiting New York City cop.

Sandford has a laconic, involving style and a knack for adrenalized finishes. Shadow Prey also proves, as have a few Elmore Leonard novels, that a really reprehensible villain can almost single-handedly carry a thriller. (Putnam, $18.95)

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