Rules of Prey by John Sandford

For years now, I've been a huge fan of John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series. I was first aware of Sandford through his long-running Prey series featuring hero Lucas Davenport. With nearly 30 novels in that series, I decided to start the Flowers series instead. Davenport frequently appears in the Flowers books, so I've been curious to see more of him. As I always do when starting a new series, I finally buckled down and started the first book, Rules of Prey.

Lucas Davenport is an immediately appealing character. He's extremely intelligent and has turned his natural logic and gift at solving puzzles into a side career of crafting the intricate stories of video games. This has given him a very comfortable life that leaves him monetarily and intellectually satisfied. Still, he seems to have found his true calling in solving crimes for the local police. By the time we meet him for the first time, Davenport is a well-established lieutenant ready to take on any challenge that comes his way.

He meets a worthy adversary in a killer dubbed the Mad Dog. The Mad Dog is assaulting and killing women throughout the twin cities.  Davenport latches onto the set of rules that the killer leaves behind at each crime scene. Each rule that is left reveals more about the way the Mad Dog is operating and leads Davenport one step closer to catching him. It will be a battle of wits until the very end.

After reading this first novel to feature Davenport, I came out liking the character, but not as much as I like Flowers. For now, Davenport comes off as a typical male fulfillment character. He's really smart, a total lady's man, and independently wealthy. He's also not afraid to get his hands dirty to solve the crime and stop a killer. That works fine for an initial outing, but he'll have to grow to keep me invested in further books. I've been told by friends that he gets much better over the course of the series. His friendship with a nun in this novel offers a glimmer of promise to the depth the character surely gains over the next 28 books.

Beyond Davenport's character, Rules of Prey offers the kind of fast and intricately plotted thriller that I've come to expect from John Sandford. As he does in many of the Virgil Flowers books, Sandford reveals to us the identity of the killer early on. This creates a suspenseful race of cat and mouse as Davenport inches closer and closer to discovering the identity of the killer that we already know. I don't know how long it will take me to catch up on the next 27 books in this series, but Rules of Prey has certainly captured my attention and cemented John Sandford as one of my "go-to" authors.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2018, 33)

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6 Responses to “Rules of Prey by John Sandford”

  1. Of course now I want to meet Flowers, and while you prefer him, Davenport sounds interesting too. I will add this author to my list :)

  2. Way back in the day, I was reading John Sandford, and if it had the word Prey in the title I was all in with Davenport.(lol) I enjoyed Flowers too, but even though I love my suspense/thriller novels, it's a been a little while since I've read any. That doesn't mean that Sandford isn't on my massive TBR pile though.(lol) Hugs...RO

    1. Its funny how are reading habits change over time. I find myself leaving and then coming back to different genres. Maybe it is cyclical?

  3. That's a lot of books in this series! But at the same time it sounds worth it, and like each book is carefully and so well planned and written, with great characters, that you've only been able to enjoy it so far. Great review!

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    1. It is certainly a big undertaking, but I think I'm up for the task! The challenge is actually finding physical copies of the older books. I may need to just do e-copies.


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