BOOK REVIEWS: HEATING UP THE COLD WAR; HIDDEN PREY by JOHN SANDFORD (Simon & Schuster, Pounds 17) HHHH

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREA HENRY

Sandford has been banging out his Prey novels - starring techno-savvy law enforcer Lucas Davenport - for years. This is the eighth. His cops 'n' robbers stories are grounded in the realms of reality rather than fantasy appeal because the policework is all about legwork rather than lucky leaps of logic.

Hero Davenport's brief is to chase people down for political reasons, to "fix s**t" for the governor. The latest unholy mess hitting the fan is the murder of a Russian down by the Lake Superior shore. His killer is precise, but not so good that he hasn't been spotted.

Annabelle - aka Trey - is a thirtysomething bum, a former lawyer from a well-to-do family. Drugs have seen her fall on hard times which is how she comes to be in the wrong place - a bush, with her bottle - at the wrong time, thereby witnessing the deed.

Trey's got time to plunder the body, but she's now next on the killer's hitlist. Lady tramps with long coats are more common than you'd think, however, and while the bad guy comes back to pick off the wrong woman, Trey is already rebuilding her nice, middle-class life with her ill-gotten gains. …