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This was more enjoyable than the last couple of installments...

  • Oct 21, 2012
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It's been a while since I've opened up a Lucas Davenport novel by John Sandford. The last few weren't up to the enjoyment level I had with the earlier installments. I picked up Stolen Prey from the library hoping that Sandford and Davenport were back on track. It might be due to the break I took on the series, but this one was better than I expected. It's not vintage Davenport, but it may be that the character has evolved to a point where that's no longer possible...

This installment starts out with the gruesome murder of a family in Wayzata, Minnesota. The brutality and signature of the crime points Davenport and his team towards Mexican drug lords, even though there's no obvious reason as to why the family would have been a target. The Federales ask to be part of the investigation, and two agents join the team. But can Davenport and his men trust them? Are the agents leaking information back to the drug lords? Most importantly, is the death squad still looking for answers to questions Davenport hasn't figured out yet? The pressure continues to mount, both politically and professionally, to end the killing spree...

I miss the earlier Davenport, when he was the hands-on detective trying to solve the mental challenges of the crimes that landed in his lap. Now that he's the head of a small crime team that is more political in nature, there's not the same immediacy to his character. Stolen Prey had more of that "hands-on" feel to it, but not anywhere like it used to be. Another frustration with the story is the way it jumped around. I'm used to having a point-of-view change signaled by a chapter break or a significant paragraph break. Stolen Prey often goes from Davenport to killer mid-page with a regular paragraph break, and there's no indication that the viewpoint of the story shifted. It's a little jarring and disruptive to the flow.

Having said all that, Stolen Prey was a decent read (especially measured against my past souring on the series). The story line was interesting with good pacing. I still have questions on a few plot points, but that could just be me having missed something along the way. I won't be chomping at the bit for the next Prey novel, but I won't ignore it either. On the other hand, I can't wait for Sandford's next installment in the Virgil Flowers series... :)

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Free

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #42
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
About this product


“If you haven’t read Sandford, you have been missing one of the great summer-read novelists of all time.  Lucas Davenport, the policeman hero of the Prey novels, is a hard dude . . . but not without a sense of humor, and that makes him special.  Sandford writes real-guy novels, but—judging by my wife and her sisters—real girls like him too.”
—Stephen King

“Sandford’s ability to sustain this perfect series [. . .] must be a cause of envy to other writers, but grateful readers greet the annual appearance of Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport with joy, then plan for a sleepless, page-turning night.”
Cleveland Plain-Dealer

“Sandford’s talent is such that this series never grows stale, or boring, or forgettable.  As author and hero age, readers can hope that the best is yet to be.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
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