Thursday, March 03, 2022

Review: The Investigator: A Letty Davenport Novel by John Sandford

Many of us longtime fans of the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford have expected a spin off series featuring his adopted daughter, Letty. That series is now here with the first book, The Investigator: A Letty Davenport Novel which releases in April.

In the aftermath of a black bag style operation for Senator Christopher Colles, Republican of Florida, Letty Davenport is getting some blow back from his staff. She accomplished the mission she was sent to do, skirted the lines legally, and got the goods. Some of his staff have questions about her methods. It does not help that she comes from a radically different life experience, dresses nothing like her Washington, D. C. coworkers, and has absolutely nothing in common with them. They bore her. She does not fit in or play well with others and is sick of the internal crap from folks who don’t see the world and people like she does. Her unique childhood gives her a different perspective. It also gave her a set of skills that she has built on over the years with the help of her father.

Letty hates her job and plans to quit. The recently completed assignment in Tallahassee was the most interesting thing she has done during her tenure working for Colles. It also serves a reminder that it is time to quit and find something else to do. Instead of allowing her to quit, Colles has an idea about a different job that could be far more interesting.

Senator Colles sits as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee. That means he is very aware of numerous issues in the Department of Homeland Security. What he wants is for her to stay, become his liaison to the Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office, label her a “researcher” (code for Investigator), and turn her lose on cases that Colles believes are important and fit her skill set. The Inspector General’s will give her carry permit. That means she can carry a gun to protect herself. She won’t have arrest powers, but she will be able to work cases and investigate things. Colles will give her own small office and freedom to do her job. The rest of the staff will, for the most part, leave her alone.

It isn’t long before her and DHS agent John Kaiser are grating each other’s nerves due to age and far different life experiences while headed south to work a case. First stop is Oklahoma City where they get a slew of briefings about oil thefts that are happening in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Somebody is stealing a little bit here and there from various operators. While it is not hurting or endangering the big operators who are losing a very small percentage of their oil, for the person doing it and getting the money, the financial haul could be huge.

Where the oil is going, who is selling it, and what that money being raised is used for, are three important questions. Especially the final question in this time of concern over domestic terrorism. Letty and Kaiser need to identify the thieves as well as their method and their endgame.

That means a trip to the oil fields in Texas, stakeouts at night, and day time surveillance while dealing with the locals, civilians and police. It isn’t long before they are in the thick of it with many lives, including their own at stake.

The Investigator: A Letty Davenport Novel by John Sandford is a fast moving and enjoyable read. Folks who believe the author is a left leaning idiot who hates the right, far and otherwise, will no doubt righteously scream on social media about how they quit very early in the book and will never read another.  Those of us born and raised Texans will see some of the obvious criticism about life here, wince a little, and nod as the criticisms are accurate. Those who expected, as this reader did, a more obvious distinction between a Letty novel and a Lucas Davenport novel might be a little disappointed. If one removes the flash back scenes, the book reads as if it is a Lucas Davenport novel and not a separate series.

Though in the big picture that is a good thing. Letty can hold her own when she finds herself in violent confrontations. The Investigator: A Letty Davenport Novel by John Sandford is a violent action filled read, that moves forward at a steady pace as events escalate. As often happens in Sandford’s books the last few years, the bad actors are identified early on, and readers soon understand why they are doing what they are doing.

The result is a solidly good novel and a good foundation for what should be an interesting series. The Investigator: A Letty Davenport Novel by John Sandford is well worth your time. Might just make you think about things as well, regardless of your pollical party lens.



My reading copy was an ARC via NetGalley. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, the book is currently scheduled to be released on April 12th in a variety of formats.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2022


Laura Elvebak said...

Great review. Look forward to reading the new series.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you!

Lesa said...

Terrific review. I really liked the book.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you for the kind words, Lesa. Overall, I did too though I wish it read more like a new character than it did.