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EW reviews four of hot new mystery novels

EW reviews four of hot new mystery novels — We take a closer look at ”Broken Prey,” ”Blood from a Stone,” ”The Hot Kid,” and ”Sudden Death”

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EW reviews four of hot new mystery novels

BROKEN PREY John Sandford

No. 17 in Sandford’s ”Prey” series finds Minnesota detective Lucas Davenport tracking a scourge-happy serial killer associated with the state loony bin.

When not fighting crime. . . Davenport compiles a list of the 100 greatest rock songs for his new iPod.

Final Verdict Wonderfully perverse and perfectly paced, Prey balances the requisite twists with a grounded sense of reality that makes world-weary cops and playful serial killers interesting again.

B+

BLOOD FROM A STONE Donna Leon

In the 14th book of Leon’s series, Venice police commissario Guido Brunetti investigates the murder of an African street vendor.

When not fighting crime. . . Brunetti worries about his eco-conscious teenage daughter.

Final Verdict Leon’s overly pensive protagonist anchors a plot that moves as slowly as the Italian bureaucracy the book takes to task. Nothing much happens to begin with. Nothing much happens to end with.

C-

THE HOT KID Elmore Leonard

Depressionera deputy U.S. marshal Carl Webster makes headlines wherever he goes, telling criminals ”If I have to pull my weapon I’ll shoot to kill.” Wannabe public enemy Jack Belmont aims to bring Webster down.

When not fighting crime. . . Webster is never not fighting crime.

Final Verdict Forty books into his career, Leonard shows little sign of losing his ability to write crackling dialogue and create endearing, slightly tainted heroes.

A-

SUDDEN DEATH David Rosenfelt

New Jersey DA Andy Carpenter represents a football player accused of murder while evading a drug lord’s death threats.

When not fighting crime. . . Carpenter fantasizes about being a New York Giants place-kicker.

Final Verdict Rife with unfunny asides (”Kenny’s wearing a sweat suit. . .because it’s drenched with sweat”), Death holds interest until the final 50 pages, then spins out of control with absurd twists.

B-