Book Review: Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Posted February 20, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: Chosen Prey by John Sandford

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Chosen Prey by John Sandford
Series: Lucas Davenport #12
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Published by Putnam Publishing Group on 2001
Pages: 357
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Also in this series: Rough Country

Art history professor James Qatar’s hobby was taking secret photographs of women. At night when he was all alone he’d dream about them and indulge his fantasies. Then one day his fantasy went too far. Now it’s Qatar’s turn to become an obsession—of Davenport’s. And for both men there’s no turning back.

Also by this author: Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Easy Prey, Invisible Prey, Phantom Prey, Wicked Prey, Gathering Prey, Dark of the Moon, Heat Lightning, Rough Country, Bad Blood, Shock Wave, Storm Front, Deadline, Extreme Prey, Escape Clause, The Fool's Run, Deep Freeze, The Empress File, Twisted Prey, Holy Ghost, Neon Prey, Bloody Genius, Masked Prey

Twelfth in the Lucas Davenport thriller series and revolving around an unorthodox cop in Minneapolis.

It’s been a year since Easy Prey, 11.

My Take

What I like about this series is that it’s standard mystery/thriller reading, but Sandford’s characters come out so real. That encounter between Lucas and Jeff Baxter was great. They could be talking about golf or tennis, but they’re batting around ideas for a deal for a scumbag that Baxter is representing. There are the political issues when Rose Marie warns Lucas they’ll probably lose their jobs with the new mayor coming in; she doesn’t think any of the potential appointees would keep him. The media issues as we read how the police are manipulating the press. The cops and how they interact, and Lucas and Weather.

Oh, yeah, baby…Lucas and Weather. I gotta say, I can understand Weather having insecurity issues about the women in Lucas’ life, but she’s the one who left. I dunno, though. I do like Lucas. I like that it’s important to him to get the right bad guy. I like that he develops role-playing games. But the boy needs to learn how to make a proposal, lol. This sure ain’t what I’d be mooning about or sighing over as I remembered that “magic” moment years later, *more laughter*. It only gets better when you read how Whitcomb decorates his house. Oh. My. God.

Poor Ellen. She’s had a very disappointing love life, and meeting James Qatar is simply another disappointment. Until she decides to put herself first. Women do need to be more open to saying what they want in bed, although Ellen takes it too far, to her regret.

Now, James is like too many men. Thinking they’re studs and that if they could just meet the right woman, sigh. He will definitely give you a few laughs. I do wish that he could hear the laughter — I’d love to see the look on his face. There’s also his obsession with how good he looks, and then Ellen provides her viewpoint on how beauteous James is, lol. Then it gets even better when Kidd does his assessment of the quality of the artist *see me grinning like a mad fool*.

Seriously though, Qatar is a piece of work. I couldn’t believe that anyone can be that delusional. Does make me feel better about myself, lol! Some of his self-pitying moments…I wanted to smack him upside the head. With a crowbar. He really believes he’s so smart, so talented, so handsome, so put-upon poor baby, then Sandford lets everyone else get their chance to dig away at him and show him up. For all the “whining” he does about his mother’s sexual history, there are just a few too many off words that make me doubt most of what he says. Well, and the fact that he is so delusional at the best of times.

LOL, good advice from Del:

“‘It just occurred to me that there’ve only been two women on the newscast,’ Marcy said. “And you’ve slept with both of them, Lucas. Was Carey better than me, or was I better?’

Del looked at Lucas and said, ‘Run.'”

More good advice for the budding serial killer. There’s also good advice victims never take: call the cops as soon as you suspect something. Never hang on to it to think or thinking you should mention it to the “bad guy” and get his take on it. I mean, duh…haven’t they been doing any reading or watching any movies??

And then there are the people who should not be allowed outside the house until they’ve taken an IQ test, oh brother. And the mothers who should get their kids some HELP!

Wow. Kidd’s analysis of the photo-porn was impressive as he pointed out all the obvious (once he made me aware of the) markers that will provide a ton more clues. It’s simply a matter of applying that artist’s eye as opposed to the pervy one.

I gotta say, I can’t believe the cops didn’t think about protecting Ellen.

Omigod, I thought as Lucas did, and then Weather finishes out her thought. I’m definitely with her. It’s a righteous ending. It’s also the saddest ending, and I cried.

Chosen Prey is a rather shocking mix of horrific and hilarious. What Qatar does, how he thinks will make you wonder what’s wrong with our world that someone like him can go undetected for so long, and then more real life inserts itself with that snark that helps cops cope with what they see. And yes, I’m prejudiced. I enjoy that snark, lol.

The Story

The grave was too shallow and those autumn rains reveal her to a hunter. It’s just the start of what they’ll find. But not before he kills again.

The Characters

Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport is a cop who gets the job done all while keeping the press happy. He’s friends with Julie Aronson’s parents, Dolly and her husband. Weather Karkinnen is a surgeon who was once engaged to Lucas until events in Sudden Prey, 8, a couple years ago. Catrin (the “Photo Queen”) is an old college girlfriend whose marriage broke up; she and Lucas are friends. Still.

Minneapolis PD
Lucas has formed his Strategic Studies and Planning Group, and it includes Del Capslock, an undercover cop (Cheryl is his wife); Lane; and, Tom Black, Marcy’s former partner will join them temporarily. Homicide includes Marcy Sherrill (Weather calls her “Titsy”; Marcy is desperate to get back to work even though she’s still recovering from injuries in Easy Prey). Detective Swanson prefers the nightshift. Other cops helping are McGrady, Gibson, and Barnes. Detective Sloan is one of Lucas’ best friends. Harmon Anderson is their computer geek. Greg Webster and Sandy MacMillan are crime-scene specialists. Craig Bowden and Marc White are assigned to follow Qatar. Carolyn Rie is a detective with sex crimes. Deputy Chief of Investigations Frank Lester supervises all investigative units. Rose Marie Roux is the chief of police. Randall Towson is the county attorney; Donald Dunn is his chief deputy; and, Richard Kirk is head of the criminal division. Larsen is an assistant county attorney. Harry Page is at the Ramsey Public Defender’s Office. Rob Lansing is the officious little prick more interested in status games. J.B. Glass is another defense attorney.

St. Paul PD
John Davis is a patrol sergeant, and Lieutenant Allport.

Goodhue County PD
Carl Boone is the medical examiner.

South Dakota County PD
Don Hammond is its chief deputy. Rick and Dave are part of his team.

Ramsay County PD
Flanagan is an investigator who dealt with the bridge death.

Dunn County PD in Wisconsin
Sheriff Deputy Terry Marshall is hot on the case of his missing niece, Laura Winton.

Mallard is an FBI agent Lucas knows who is based in Washington D.C. Baily is the agent-in-charge in Minneapolis.

The Media
Channel 3’s Jennifer Carey is the mother of Lucas’ only child, Sarah, who lives with Carey and her husband.

St. Patrick’s University
James Qatar is an art history professor, writer, and killer with an ego bigger than a Boeing jet. Helen Qatar is his mother and the director for the Wells Museum at the college. For such a smart woman, she’s pretty stupid. Denise Thompson is her very observant secretary. Burns Goodwin is the college president. Charlotte Neumann is the art department’s chairperson, an ordained Episcopalian priest, and a writer. Elene is the inept department secretary.

Kidd is an artist doing really well who lends a hand (to the cops) and a good bit more (to Marcy). Larry Lake is an engineering consultant with ground-penetrating radar. Megan Earle is a neighbor of Whitcomb’s. George is one of the people at Christmas Ink, and he doesn’t want to say anything, see anything.

The film warehouse is…
…where videos are shot; Morris likes to photograph little girls having sex. Donald Henrey has a big camera while Anthony Carr maintains his website. Sylvia Berne is some of the talent. Jeff Baxter is a lawyer.

Ellen Barstad is a fabric artist and a teacher with her own quilting business. Emily Patton recognized one victim. Beverly Wood is one of the women who got a nude drawing of herself. Linda Kyle is an art student who disappeared. Nancy Vanderpost disappeared, a performance artist. Jim Wise is one of the partners in Wise-Hammersmith American Loft furniture who needed some ads. Brenda is from Lino Lakes. Ellice Hampton is from Clear Lake, Iowa, and she did advertising layouts.

Tom Lang is a possible suspect in the serial killings. Harold Brown hired Langhorn to find Lynette Brown‘s body, although he is a high-priority suspect in her disappearance. Into egg cartons. Randy Whitcomb is a jerk of a pimp we first met in Eyes of Prey, 3, and has been Qatar’s fence and drug dealer. Suzanne Brister is his latest. Lo Andrews is the guy he parties with later. Now, DDT, a.k.a., Dangerous Darrel Thomas (should’a been “Terrible Darrell Thompson”, those journalists…*eye roll*), is another kinda pimp entirely. And a professional house sitter, lol. Charmin’ are Melissa are some of his, um, ladies.

Part of Lucas’ network
Susan Kelly is a dancer; Lori is her assistant. Ben Lincoln works at Ben’s Darts & Cues. Larry Hammet is at Trax Freight. Lannie Harrison is at Tulip’s Hose Couplings and Fittings. Jan Murphy works at a sweatshop. Sandy Hue is at The Diamond Collective. Svege Tanner is at Strength and Beauty and finks on that jerk, Alex Truant. Coin is in the hospital and sober for the first time in decades. Elliot runs a metal-fabrication shop. Half-Moon Towing’s owner is declaring bankruptcy. Gerry Haack was a lawn care guy who had some, um, problems. Now he’s working at the Cobra Lounge, where it seems he still has some problems. Larry Lapp hangs at the Cobra; his wife, Marcella, would be really ticked off. Bob Brown deals in estate jewelry. Frank Stans is a bartender at the Bolo Lounge.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a blur of browns with an image of a woman’s face. She’s lying down, and if her face is anything to go by, she’s screaming as a man’s hands hold her in place. The author’s name and the title are an embossed gold.

The title is all about this killer’s Chosen Prey.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Chosen Prey by John Sandford

  1. Awesome review. It’s been so long since I read a John Sandford book and your review makes me want to read one again. Sounds like a must read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re welcome, Mandy. I have been enjoying his writing and his characters very much, and while I want to hurry up and read to the “current” end of the series, I don’t want to finish too quickly. ‘Cause then I’ll have to wait…wah…*grin*…

  3. I used to read these as they came out so I know I read this one-all of these are 5 stars for me. I am about maybe 3 books behind now, but I will read them someday because this is a favorite series of mine. Glad you loved it!

  4. I can understand why you love it. Davenport is such an intriguing character, and Sandford has put such a twist on him. He’s made him the cop we’d secretly love to have around.

  5. Susan Nienhuis

    I’m a little slow to see your review but I enjoyed it. I’m rereading every Lucas Davenport novel and Virgil Flowers novel, as I’ve previously read all of them. I hate waiting for a new one to be released and it looks like there won’t be another one of either Lucas or Virgil, as the next one focuses on Lucas’s adopted daughter, Letty. I preordered it but I REALLY want more of Lucas and more of Virgil and his twins. What do YOU think?

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