of my mystery-loving friends have recommended John Sandford's Prey
series, featuring the detecting abilities of Minneapolis-St. Paul–based
Lucas Davenport. One of the reasons I haven't given any of the books a
try until now is that the series is a daunting twenty-three books long.
Until relatively recently, I would have been stopped cold because I had an almost obsessive need to read series in order from first to last. The thought of starting in somewhere in the middle was unthinkable. Fortunately, I've moved beyond that: Yes it's often better to begin at the beginning, but I was missing out on some good reading by being inflexible. I was lucky in picking Buried Prey, a totally fortuitous jumping-off place.
- Simple summary: Lucas Davenport, who works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension started his detective career in 1985 when he was a patrol cop in the Twin Cities. Buried Prey takes Davenport back to his very first case, when he was tapped to help find two sisters who were presumably kidnapped and murdered; that case was unsatisfactorily solved. When the girls' bodies are finally discovered about twenty years later, Davenport makes it his business to find the real killer.
- Lucky introduction: Because this novel shows us two Davenports—one as a young, callow rookie and the other as a harden, respected detective—it is a great place to get a feel for Sandford's Prey series. Although I didn't get to know Davenport slowly over the course of the books, I was given a chance to compare the man he used to be with the one he is now.
- Characters, plotting, & action: I was fascinated with Davenport as a man. He is intelligent and doesn't make decisions lightly. He may have been (and still is?) a bit of renegade, but his actions are calculated, not reckless. The plotting was tight, the details were just right, and the tension built up beautifully. The interplay between the action of the case (in both time periods) and Davenport's personal life was nicely balanced.
- Point of interest: I particularly liked the differences in technology and resources from 1985 to the present. Computers, cell phones, electronic data bases, and DNA analysis are drastically different today from what they were almost thirty years ago.
- Note on the author: John Sandford is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, who spent many years as a reporter in the Twin Cities; his knowledge of the locale brings an authenticity to Lucas Davenport's world.
- Thoughts on the audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Penguin Audio; 10 hr, 57 min) read by Richard Ferrone, who narrates (as far as I can tell) the entire Prey series. I'm a Ferrone fan, and he didn't let me down with Buried Prey. His comfort with Sandford's writing and characters comes through in the audio production. Ferrone's characterizations, Midwest accent, and pacing matched the book well.
- Recommendation: Great choice for mystery/thriller fans who like a tough but personable detective, a tense story line, and vivid details. Perfect entry point for readers who don't want to start with book one of a long series.
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).