A great summer read

I just finished reading John Sandford’s Storm Prey. I have enjoyed Sandford’s books since the first one I read, Rules of Prey. I look forward to them so much, I had this on reserve at the library before it was even released. I think I was the first borrower of this particular book.

Sandford has several series of books he’s written over the past 20 years or so, but the “Prey” series is the original and the most prolific. The books are cop stories. The main character is a Minneapolis detective (later turned assistant chief, state investigator, etc), Lucas Davenport. Lucas is smart, cool and self-made rich. He drives a Porsche and solves crimes with his brain. Each book centers around some heinous crime that Lucas and his wise-cracking team of investigators attempt to solve. Nothing new there. The key to the books is the characters. I look forward to each next book, because I enjoy “hanging out” with Lucas, his team and family. .

One of Sandford’s strong points is that he develops the bad guys as well as the heroes. He allows the reader to understand the antagonists’ motivation and empathize a little. One of his more memorable and sympathetic characters was Clara Rinker, a female “hit man.”

Throughout the series, you follow the ups and downs of Davenport’s career and general life, including his bouts with depression, his romances, break-ups and marriage.

Some of are mysteries, but not all.  In Storm Prey, for instance you knew who the bad guys were from the opening pages. The issue in this story is whether the cops are going to get the bad guys before the bad guys kill Davenport’s surgeon-wife, who happened to see the bad guys as they escaped from a crime scene.  .

Sandford has a couple of other series, most recently a spin-off of the “Prey” series that focuses on one of Davenport’s state investigators, Virgil Flowers. “That f_ckin’ Flowers,” as he is known to his friends and colleagues, does not usually work the Twin Cities. While Davenport is cool in a $1,000-suit-and- $500-Italian-shoes kind of way, Virgil is cool at the other end of the style spectrum. He hass long, blond “surfer hair” and is prone to wearing jeans, cowboy boots and rock band tee-shirts. Most of the time, he tows his fishing boat behind his truck and occasionally stops to fish while working out the details of a case. The way he attracts women makes Davenport “writhe with envy” according to Davenport’s wife.

Sandford’s third series is the “Kidd Series.” His main character is an artist / high tech thief, who has a bit of the Robin Hood “rob from the rich and give to the poor” mentality in him.

If you want some fun summer reading, pick up one of Sandford’s books and give it a shot. If you like it, go back to the beginning (Rules of Prey) and work your way through the chronological series. You won’t regret it.

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2 responses to “A great summer read

  1. I read Rules of Prey and LOVED it! I was sure I’d read the whole series, but when I started reading Shadow Prey, I just couldn’t get hooked. Go figure. Maybe I should try it again sometime.

    • Jump ahead to Winter Prey and go from there. Fair warning, that book gets into some of Lucas’s depression. However, some of Lucas’s character development is important in that book. Also, a very important continuing character is introduced in that book.

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