HThe 13th title in the Prey series (Easy Prey, etc.) has wealthyMinneapolis Deputy Police Chief Lucas Davenport in up to hisPorsche-driving fingertips. Lucas is trying to track an elusive serialkiller while reuniting with former fianc‚e Weather Karkinnen whoafter a couple of years' estrangement following her narrow escape from acrazy biker in one of Lucas's former cases has suddenly decided she wantsto have his baby. Weather is a formidable distraction, but the killerrevealed to readers from the beginning as James Qatar, a suave professorof art history with a yen for strangulation proves to require even moreattention. Soon after the body of a young blonde is found in a partiallyexcavated grave on a remote wilderness hillside, a deputy sheriff frombackwater Wisconsin shows up with a file containing case histories ofseveral women reported missing in Wisconsin and Minnesota over a nine-yearperiod. Fearing the worst, Lucas orders the hillside surveyed; subsequentexcavation uncovers seven more bodies. The art world connections of someof the victims and the discovery of pornographic drawings suggests a linkto the art community around the local Catholic university. As the nettightens, the usually coolheaded Qatar, already plotting the fate of adaring fabric artist in cahoots with the police, gradually loses control.With Lucas and his team watching his every move, he eludes surveillanceand carries out a final desperate attack. Sandford is in top form here,his wry humor and his development of Lucas's combative, affectionaterelationship with Weather lighting up the dark of another grislyinvestigation. Simultaneous audio. (May)Forecast: Sandford's thrillers arereliably excellent, and his latest, a BOMC main selection backed by anational ad/ promo campaign and an author tour, marks a high point in thePrey series. The book should hit #1 its first week out.