An urban renewal project uncovers the bodies of two children who went missing more than 25 years earlier, and opens up unpleasant memories for Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Affairs investigator Lucas Davenport. He worked part of the case when he was a uniformed patrolman with the Minneapolis Police Department, and has never felt good about the way it was resolved. Yes, a suspect was found with evidence linking him to the crime, but Davenport believed some leads were let go and has always wondered if the suspect was really the guilty man. He also dislikes how he backed down to unofficial departmental pressure to let the case go. Minneapolis PD's cold case unit starts to work on the case, but so do Davenport and his old partner, Del Capslock. Both men feel this may be their last best chance to catch the killer.
Sandford includes a long flashback of Davenport working the case when it originally happened, and it's easily the most interesting section of the book. We see Davenport much earlier, much less sure of himself and much more eager to prove himself than he's been through the "Prey" series. The dogged determination and intuitional leaps he makes are already there, of course, but they have yet to be refined. When the case returns to the present, we proceed mostly along a path Sandford has used before as Davenport and other investigators piece together clues and track the killer. Only his wife Weather and adopted daughter Letty's interactions with Davenport and his friends as they all try to make sure the vengeful detective doesn't go too far offer much of a different flavor from the last five or six "Prey" books.
Sandford hasn't fallen into a complete rut -- even though Buried Prey shares storyline elements with earlier books in the series, it doesn't feel like a cut-and-paste job from them. But it may be time to give some serious thought to your character's next steps when the best part of his latest story is the flashback. Buried Prey is certainly a decent read, but it could have benefited from a little more digging around.