I read a bunch of John Sandford's "Prey" series a number of years ago - I forget which one I started with, but I do know it wasn't the first (Rules of Prey
.) In any case, I think I read the first six or so before I got a little bored with the characters and moved on. Picked up and re-read the first couple a few months back and decided to see what had happened with Lucas Davenport and company in the intervening time.
One aspect of the series I like a good deal is that Davenport and the people he works with have a history together, and a good deal of it has been played out in the course of the books; past events are referred to, but not in an obvious or gratuitous way, just in passing, as would be normal in a long-shared work environment. Davenport is also aging, and beginning to think about ending his bachelor ways and settling down; his former fiancee, surgeon Weather Karkinnen, is still around, and beginning to warm up to him again after breaking off their engagement (a previous case got a little too close to home, and she concluded Davenport's life was too violent for her liking.)
In Certain Prey
, the murder of a socialite leads Davenport to the FBI investigation of a female assassin. The hit woman, Clara Rinker, is a former nude dancer who discovered she had a knack for killing people without any pesky guilt or second thoughts.
Unlike most of the Prey
books I've read to date, Certain Prey
spends a good deal of time following the criminals: Rinker and her client, a successful criminal lawyer who has hired Rinker to remove the major obstacle to her winning the love of another attorney - his wife. Rinker is by virtue of her chosen career path pretty much of a loner, and colorful, charming Carmen Loan strikes a chord with her, of her lost teenage years and time with close female friends that she's never had. Like a murderous Thelma and Louise, the two of them match wits with Davenport, who's not above a few dirty tricks of his own in pursuit of a suspect. Rinker's not a monster, though, however unlikely that seems, and as Davenport uncovers her history he begins to feel some sympathy for this crafty opponent.
Rinker reappears in book #12 of the series, Mortal Prey