Monday, May 22, 2006

Broken Prey, by John Sandford

By Christina VanGinkel

Broken Prey is the sixteenth novel in the Prey series by the author John Sandford. John Sandford is actually the Pulitzer Prize winning author John Camp. The Prey novels follow the exploits of the character Lucas Davenport, a police investigator in a department made up just for the multi faceted personality that the character portrays. Along with several sidekicks, including Elle Kruger, a friend and a nun that he has known since childhood who doubles as a psychological profiler, and Sloan, both a friend and fellow officer, Lucas Davenport has half the police departments in the state of Minnesota helping him. They are following a serial killer, sometimes coming so close they can see the taillights of his vehicle, yet not close enough to catch him before he kills another victim.

As far as genres go, I would have to classify all of the Prey novels as thrillers / mystery, with a bit of who-done-it glossed over the top. If you enjoy reading any of the afore mentioned genres and have yet to read a John Sandford novel, Broken Prey would be an ideal introduction to this fascinating style of writing.

The story tarts out with Charlie Pope, a convicted sex criminal being released from a mental hospital, and before long, you are peeking into the psyche of this demented individual. You soon learn that even though he has been released for the crime that he was convicted, he has killed before, but was never caught for those crimes. With dead bodies popping up all over the state, he is a prime suspect. The only problem with this scenario though is that Charlie Pope is a bona fide nut case, and some wonder if he had the mentality to pull of the vicious killings that are being committed. These murders obviously took careful planning and most of the people involved in solving the crimes doubt that eh was capable, yet he is the prime suspect and then he calls in to a newspaper reporter, Ruffe Ignace, and confesses.

Readers are also introduced early on to the ramblings of another character, Mihovil Draskovic, one Millie Lincoln's boyfriend, and they know that he is not all there either. Demented is as good a word as I can come up without going into detail. Millie just thinks he is the ultimate lover though, bringing her to new heights of ecstasy.

When all of these characters start to collide, some readers might think they have it all figured out. This book is full of surprises though, and things are never what they seem, or are they? From the bean fields outside of Mankato, to the city streets of Minneapolis, a serial killer is running loose, and looking for his next victim to kidnap and torture. Will Lucas Davenport, along with Sloan, Elle Kruger, and all the other players be able to capture the killer, and be assured that they have the right person before yet another victim dies? You will have to read it yourself to find out!

Before you do though, be sure to first read the first fifteen novels in the Prey series, including Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Silent Prey, Winter Prey, Night Prey, Mind Prey, Sudden Prey, Secret Prey, Certain Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Mortal Prey, Naked Prey, and Hidden Prey.

As a side note for those of you who are big fans of the Prey Series, at the beginning of this novel, Lucas Davenport's wife, famed surgeon Weather herself, has recently purchases Lucas a gift card worth 100 songs for his iPod. With it, he plans to purchase what he feels are the "Best Songs of the Rock Era" and the completed list is included in the back of the book. The story itself is woven with conversations by his friends and family as they try to help him assemble this all-important list. Songs are added, removed, and some all time greats are remembered only after chance hearings. Subject matter such as this allows the readers of the Prey series to feel as if they are reading about a friend they know instead of just a character cop in some book. This book is another success and you never once feel as if you can walk away from the story at hand. It is a page-turner by all definitions and well worth adding to your summer reading list.

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