Book Review: Easy Prey by John Sandford

Posted January 14, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

Book Review: Easy 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.

Easy Prey by John Sandford
Series: Lucas Davenport #11
Genres: Thriller
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 1, 2000
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Also in this series: Rough Country

Davenport is called to a house after an A-list party has taken place there. Alie'e Maison, a top model, has been found strangled, and evidence shows that she ingested drugs and recently made love — most probably to a woman. Before Lucas leaves the house, things get even more complicated: a second body is found stuffed in a closet with a deep dent in the skull. In addition, one of Lucas's own men had been at the party and is now a suspect. As always, Lucas's own life is not exempt from complications. An ex-lover comes back into his world — a woman he has never been able to forget — and she has secrets of her own. Sister Mary Joseph, born Elle Kruger and an old childhood friend of Lucas', is a professor of psychology and one of the computer brains who helps Lucas design his software. He calls her Nun the Wiser, and he often turns to her for spiritual as well as more concrete advice. Lucas is going to need all the help he can get to unravel his case as secrets pile upon secrets and the ground constantly shifts under his feet.

Also by this author: Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Chosen 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

Eleventh in the Lucas Davenport thriller series and revolving around a cop who will do what he must to get the right bad guy. This is set in Minnesota.

My Take

It’s plain old police work on this, but Sandford spiffs it up with all the oddities: the drugs, the relationships between all the partiers, Lucas’ relationships with new and old girlfriends, and all the manipulating they had to do to keep the press off their backs. Sandford certainly pulled me in easy with this beginning, and it turned out to be an interesting contrast between what I expected and what it was. Nor did I expect that double murder right off the bat. I certainly did not expect all the red herrings! I could’a swore…

Okay, it sounds wrong to say it gets funnier, but it is funny when we find out who that grungy guy was at the party, lol. Then the mayor’s reaction to Silly’s threat, *more laughter*. More laughter with Lucas and Del’s reaction to Lapstrake’s comment on why Shaw won’t fight. Spoken with all the assurance of a young puppy, lol. Then there are all the “camouflaged” bushes, lol. Oh, lordy, then there’s Franklin teaching Jael the intricacies of man cooking.

Only a guy…

“‘He’s locked in a bulletproof booth with about six hundred Cokes, a hundred pounds of corn chips and Hostess cupcakes, a thousand bucks’ worth of cigarettes and a TV.’

‘Sounds like a good weekend…'”

Crazy. Del says drugs were swimming around at the party, and yet most of the guests had no idea? How gullible do they think the cops are? Jael’s thoughts about heroin are amazingly stupid. It’s kind of like saying you can be a little bit pregnant, but not expecting a child at the end of nine months.

Sad bit in here about Lucas’ old company, Davenport Solutions. Hard to believe that a mere five years can push you that far out of orbit. And he’s back pounding the streets, tossing ideas around for a new game. Lol, I wish it were that easy. Just imagine it and voila, lol. Actually, now that I come to think of it, Lucas never did do any of the programming. He always hired it out, so what is it that Sandford has Lucas going on about?

I do like Amnon’s attitude toward drugs — it was his time with Mapplethorpe that did it. Too bad he doesn’t have that same approach to his sister. That one kinda squicks me out. I do appreciate his forthright honesty, though. Amnon does have his head on straight.

I can’t get excited about Tom’s passions, but I can appreciate his love for his sister. How sick he was about what his parents were doing. As for Tom himself, well, many people are conflicted as to whether he’s a saint or crazy. I can definitely understand why the cops jump to the conclusion they do.

“Poor” Catrin. Her life is so perfect. How awful. What I don’t get is why doesn’t she pursue what she wants while she’s married? Why does it have to be a separate thing? Does she seriously believe if she leaves her husband that she won’t have to deal with her kids at Christmas or Thanksgiving? The poor thing is so conflicted, and while Lucas sounds like he is too, he’s really not. He understands what she’s going through.

It’s curious about that cellphone quirk Sandford has put in. I’ve not heard of this peculiarity about Lucas before. It does make for an interesting side bit that writers might want to take peek at. Of course I do love the whole “Porsche and zipping down the freeway” thing…*eyebrow waggle & a grin*…

Geez, that ending. Nothing like putting the hook in to make me eager to pick up Chosen Prey!

The Story

It’s another high-profile murder, and Lucas is needed for his expertise in handling the press…and the party girls.

The Characters

Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport of the Minneapolis PD has an unorthodox style of detecting. He’s running the two-man Strategic Studies and Planning Group for the cops. He has a little girl whom he didn’t see in this installment. Sister Mary Joseph, a.k.a., Elle Kruger, is an old friend of his from elementary school days. These days she’s a psychology professor at St. Anne’s College. Dr. Weather Karkinnen is the lady Lucas wanted to marry. Bone is a banker he met in Secret Prey, 9, with whom he became friends.

Minneapolis PD
Rose Marie Roux is the police chief. Frank Lester is handling the murder investigation while Lucas and his people come in from the side. Marcy Sherrill is with Homicide but Lucas wants her in his Studies group. Tom Black is Marcy’s gay partner. Swanson, Allport, Thompson, Hanson, Sloan is the best interrogator, Franklin, Manny Lanscolm, Loring is a street cop, and Hendrix is a born-again Christian. Del Capslock is an undercover cop; Cheryl is his wife. Along with Lane (he’ll be working Alie’e’s genealogy), Del is part of Lucas’ Studies Group. Dorothy Shaw is babysitting Rowena. Lapstrake from Intelligence is heading up the 12-man emergency response team. Lieutenant Jim Jones is from Narcotics; Jimmy Smith and Alex Hutton are also cops from dope. Randall Towson is the county attorney; Tim Long is an assistant county attorney. Dick Milton is the department’s media specialist. Angela Harris is the departmental contract shrink. Harold McNeil works in Identification.

St. Paul PD
Officers Pat Stone and Nancy Winter had the watch. Dave Thompson.

FBI, Washington D.C.
Special Agent Louis Mallard can extract a lot more from a computer than Lucas can. Seems Malone is fox-trotting with a potential #5.

The Olsons and Burnt River
Alie’e Maison, a.k.a., Sharon Olson, the hot new model, is the poster girl for what can go wrong when fame hits you. Her boyfriend, Jax, is a human remora; he just likes the pretty girls. His real name is Jim Shue. Lynn and Lil Olson are her parents, pushing her into pageants, encouraging her antics, eager for the money and fame it brings. Tom is her evangelical Christian preacher brother. Ellen and Bud Benton and Mr. and Mrs. Packard are the Olsons’ best friends from their hometown of Burnt River. Lester Moore is the editor of their local newspaper. Louis “the Reverend” Friar provides lawn service and is famous for having nailed Alie’e. Martin Scott drives for the Coca Cola company; his boss is Rand Waters. There’s at least one person Ray McDonald will never go hunting with again. Pella is going to England and was relying on Lansing.

Amnon Plain is a photographer celebrated for his “decadent, sexually charged fashion art” whose studio is in St. Paul’s Lowertown. James “Jimmy” Graf is an assistant. Sandy Smith is a friend. Clark Buchanan is the welder on the shoot. Dieter Kopp is the couture representative. Archer Daniels Midland owns the the barge. Joyce Woo is another tenant in Plain’s building who has an odd game she plays with Neil. Jael Corbeau is Amnon’s sister, in name only. She’d once been a model; now, she’s a professional potter. Don is a friend of hers.

Sallance “Silly” Hanson is a socialite. Catherine Kinsely is an heiress. Rowena Cooper, Martha Carter, and John Dukeljin are guests.

Brown’s Hotel is…
…expensive and caters to high-profile clients. Sandy Lansing is a hostess at Brown’s Hotel. Arthur Lansing was Sandy’s father and had no clue. Derrick Deal is the hotel assistant manager — and an old friend of Lucas’. Jean seems to be the hotel hooker while India is the receptionist. Philip is the hotel manager.

Catrin is an old, old girlfriend of Lucas’ from twenty-five years ago — the one he let get away. She doesn’t paint anymore, instead she does photography. She has two kids: James and Maria. Her husband, Jack, is a family practice doctor. Lanny Morton was a mutual friend back in the day; he’s on his fourth wife. Bill Washington is another. Herb and Verna Clay are friends of Lucas; he’s also the owner of the Lund Lucas is bringing in for the winter. Sigh, that Verna…she smells good.

Howard Bennett is a curator at the Walker Art Center. Drs. Gunderson and Hirschfeld are operating on Marcy. Marx is the executive ticked off about his parking space. Melody and Ralph are hostages. Boo McDonald is a paraplegic who monitors police scanners. The Spittle is a rock ‘n roll online newsletter.

Trick Bentoin was supposed to be dead. Rashid Al-Balah will certainly be happy to know he’s alive. Laziard is Al-Balah’s lawyer. George Shaw is a dope dealer about to be sacrificed to the PR gods. Mary Lou Carter is his scary sister-in-law. Just ask Dick Hardesty. Carl Knox is looking at exactly what Louis Arnot is looking for. Roy is the thief. Curtis Logan is an artist; James Bee is a certified financial advisor with RIO Accounting. He’s also a major asshole. Just ask his wife, Connie. Larry Outer is a vulnerable dealer. Ralph (who has the beaver problem) is Bee’s lawyer. Terrance Bloom is also on the party list. Pat Kelly runs high-end poker games. Richard Rodriguez operates a lotta apartment buildings. Bill Spooner is an assistant vice president in the bank’s commercial loans department; Alice is his wife. Reed is the bank president. Mrs. Ellen Feldman will be assigned to handle Rodriguez’s accounts. The Miami attorney is Haynes. Kirk Smalley is with Coffey Realty. Herb Scott has a blind phone.

Ginger House is with Channel Three. Ellen Goodrich is with Channel Six. And what is with our society that a little air time makes everything all right??

The Cover and Title

The cover is the purple of night with what appears to be a red laser line of sight targeting the white-blonde-haired woman in the stone-arched window, Alie’e. It’s more metaphor than true depiction as the “truth” will be stranger than this bit of “fiction”, and whoever is aiming that rifle is way off.

I think the title is about Lucas, with all his, um, lady problems, he’s Easy Prey, lol.

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7 responses to “Book Review: Easy Prey by John Sandford

  1. wow book 11? I don’t think I’ve ever tried a long thriller series but I like a good one from time to time, they’re fun! I didn’t know about the series or the author but you made me intrigued. I’ll check book one out. thanks for the review!

    • You’re very welcome, Melliane! Lucas Davenport has a nice twist in the genre, a bit more brutal than one would expect. Hmmm, and here I adore Chief Inspector Gamache for his gentleness. What DOES that say about me?

  2. I have been reading these books since the first one came out, and it’s one of my very favorite, non-paranormal series. I think I am a couple of books behind the latest. Lucas is a great character! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

    • I am so envious, Lorna. I’m only up to about book 11? So I’ve got a ways to go. The one I just finished has the chief worried about a new mayor coming in and that she and Lucas will lose their appointments. So, I am DYING of curiosity. I wanna know what happens, but I have to review that book before I’ll let myself read the next! I hate that!!

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