52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2001
All of us Sandford fans deeply look forward each year for early May to come around because that mostly means the release of a new Prey novel! In "Chosen Prey," Minneapolis Detective, Lucas Davenport, along with Marcy Sherrill, Sloan, Del, and Weather (Lucas fiance), return in one of John Sandford's most interesting and exciting Prey novels that he has written. The plot: James Qatar is a prestegious history professor at St. Patrick University in Minneapolis. He has a very secretive life on the side. He enjoys playing kinky sex games with women he barely knows and ends up killing them for pleasure. He also enjoys taking pictures of women and distorting their figures to look like they are participating in grotesque sexual activities. His method of murder: a rope. James Qatar is a very sick individual that has killed over eight women in three states. None of the cops have been able to link him to the murder. When a murdered women turns up in the barren woods, close to home to Lucas Davenport, he vows to find this killer who killed this beautiful woman. After investigating for a while, and with the assistance of and out of state officer, he discovers that three other women have mysteriously disappeared in Wisconsin. All these murders/ disappearances are connected. Can Davenport and the gang get James Qatar before he claims his next victim? The twelfth novel in this amazing series is a definite success!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2001
The 12th installment in the prey series starts off promisingly, slows down in the middle and again picks off in the end.This book is definitely better than the authors last release Easy Prey but it still falls short of expectations.The novel introduces the killer James Qatar, right in the first page and then develops the character of the killer quite convincingly and that's what makes this book interesting and better than Easy Prey because in this novel the author takes pain to develop each and every character,but the main drawback atleast according to me is the lack of interaction between the killer and the Lucas Davenport,if the author had atleast introduced some cat and mouse game between these two characters then the book would have been more fun.So basically this book runs on two parallel plots, one plot runs on Qatars actions and his character devlopment which according to me has been handled quite convincingly and the other plot runs on Lucas trying to find the killer which is not handled properly at all and even the clues by which Lucas traces the killer are far fetched and has got nothing to do with his intelligence and has got more to do by the mistakes made by the killer.Overall this book is better than EasyPrey because the loose ends are very few,the Qatars character is very well developed and the pace of the novel is very fast.If you are a fan of Lucas Davenport then you won't be disappointed.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2001
This was a hard book for me to rate. I have read the previous books in Sandford's Prey series, eleven in all. As a reader who is familiar with all long running characters and plot threads, reading this book was like running into an old friend you have not seen in years, and talking like you live next door to each other. It was a pleasure to read simply for the continued evolution of the characters I have grown to know and love.
On the other hand, as a passable, stand alone novel, Sandford falls so far short of his past triumphs that I wonder if this does not signal the end for Lucas Davenport and company. Gone is all the tension, suspense, and thrill-of-the-chase that was so prevalent in many of the early Prey books. It has been replaced with a tired reworking of past Prey villains and a soap opera pace. In fact, the hunt for the bad guy plays a secondary role to Lucas' relationship with his ex-fiancée. It is writing like this that leads me to believe that Sandford is trying to stage a stopping point in this series.
If you have not read the previous Prey books, perhaps your money or time would be better spent reading a different book. If you are a Prey veteran, then carry on.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2001
He desires women, all women, many different types of women. He studies their beauty. He takes pictures of them to create art masterpieces. He takes the pictures one step further...digitaly enhancing them, and turning them into repulsive works of pornography. His desire for women, and his "art" is taken a little further by murder...
After his first killing he realized he liked it, and wanted more.
When the body of Julie Aronson is found, Lucas Davenport is called to the crime scene. The body has been dead eighteen months, and Davenport does not have a clue, except the photo of the girl when she was alive.
When several other women come forward to explain how they were also photographed by a man, for art purposes, only to find their photos have also been altered into filth, Davenport knows he is on the trail of a psycho.
As each killing becomes more daring, Davenport and his usual gang of coherts go head-to-head with a monster with one thing on his mind...blood.
While 'Chosen Prey' discloses the killer's identity early on, the reader is still plunged head first into a suspenseful ride, with twists and turns to keep the pages turning. As always in a 'Prey' novel, the characterization is rich, and the plot razor sharp.
John Sandford has been writing the 'Prey' series for many years, and some of the entries are good, and some are not so good, 'Chosen Prey' is one of the best; the plot races along combining page-turning action, and the emotional drama surrounding it's main characters guaranteed to keep readers up all night.
Fans of this series will not be disappointed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2001
Let me preface my review with the statement that I have copies of all the previous Prey novels and have been known to re-read them. That's how much I enjoyed them. This one runs true to form--sadistic killer on the loose, one we get to meet and attempt to understand, with Davenport one step behind. Along with the hunt we get the usual snappy dialogue among Lucas's colleagues. The appearance of Joe Kidd added a little extra as did Lucas's reaction to his interest in Marcie. Sanford has a gift for characterization that makes them come alive; this book is no exception. As usual the writing is superb, the plot as intricate as the previous Prey novels. Although a good read, I found the sub-plot between Lucas and Weather distracting and of little or no interest. Babymaking!! Puhlease! It may be that I prefer Lucas as a free spirit and am not quite ready for him to grow up. Enough already, bring back the hardcore police work colored by the distractions previously experienced by Davenport.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2001
The consensus with the last book in the series, "Easy Prey" was that Sandford had burned out with the "Prey" series. "Easy Prey" fell well short of the quality of book readers have come to expect from the "Prey" Series. But Sandford proved us wrong. "Chosen Prey" is equal to, if not better than, the original books in the series. The intensity level and the suspense were excellent -- even though you knew the murderer from Page One -- or perhaps BECAUSE you knew. And Davenport was back to being the Lucas Davenport readers have come to expect and love. For all the fans who have loved the "Prey" series from the start and wished they had waited for the paperback to come out with "Easy Prey," you DON"T want to wait with "Chosen Prey." You'll want to buy it today. And probably read it in one sitting!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is my first book in the "Prey" series and John Sandford had me hooked in the first chapter. James Qatar is killer, a man who likes to seduce women then strangle them. Qatar has other perversions, such as photographing women from afar and turning those photos into pornographic drawings and mailing them to the women anonomously.
Qatar's latest potential victim is Ellen Barstad. Qatar seduces her and lays the groundwork for another killing when Barstad surprises him by being a willing sexual partner. Thus their relationship continues.
Lucas Davenport and his band of police officer friends enter the scene later, investigating a cold case where the body was finally found. Finding the body causes the police to look closer at the case. Several clues allow Davenport to proceed in the case. The dead woman found had a pornographic drawing of herself in her apartment. Then several other women come forward who have drawings but have no idea where they came from. Then a police chief from Wisconsin comes forward and reveals they may be dealing with a serial killer because his neice may have met the same fate.
Chosen Prey's strength is the police investigation. They work hard for their info and at times seem to be getting nowhere. Still they slowly make progress and get closer and closer to Qatar. Sandford doesn't make it seem easy like some other authors tend to do.
One complaint I have is, after all of the thorough police investigations, the way in which Qatar's identity is found has nothing to do with police work. Qatar is a quality villian who seems to have covered all his tracks, yet through some convenient finds and plausible twists, justice is done.
This series is one I plan to continue to read because besides telling a great story, Sandford doesn't let the personal lives of the characters interfere with the book. Its easy to pick up and follow the lives of Lucas and his fiance Weather.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2001
If your'e a crime fiction afficionado, John Sandford's been a name to conjure with since his debut, "Rules of Prey." Now, with his most recent novel, Sandford demonstrates that his ear for dialogue and narrative voice are as strong as ever; it's his plotting that needs work. Much of Chosen Prey seems appropriated from other, earlier (and mostly better) Prey Novels: The arts setting, sexually motivated killer and third-act sequence of the killer eluding surveilance are straight from Rules of Prey; The haunted cop desperate to catch a killer by any means possible is from Night Prey, while the "I want a baby" sublot has been previously utilized in Shadow Prey (albeit with disastrous, sad results).
Still, Sandford's still impossibly good at many things -- the ice-cold, keeningly insane interior monologues of his killers, his eye for details like Boat Pull cords, foot perspective, and why you wear golf shoes at an exhumation is unparalelled. Is Chosen Prey superior crime fiction? Absolutley. Is it up to snuff with Sandford's best books, like Rules of Prey, Certain Prey or the impossibly well-done Sudden Prey? No. (And, while we're at it, Sandford should abandon his naming convention for the series swiftly -- it's become ungainly.) One can still hope for Sandford to return to greatness (hopefully his next novel, which ideally -- considering the intimation of a mayorial race in the future this book makes -- will take as its setting the complex, fractious local politics Sandford's constantly hinting at in his novels). However, the recyclings of Chosen and the killer-out-of-nowhere machinations of Easy suggest that as of late, suggest that Sandford, like his readers, is more interested in the well-written, likable and believable characters surrounding the crimes in his books than he is in the crimes themselves. It's unlikely Sandford will give up the Prey series, but if he can't return to the rigorous, inventive plotting of his earlier work, he may find readers abandoning him.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Colleagues respect St. Patrick University associate professor art historian James Qatar for his collective works. This includes one book and several scholarly articles published in highly regarded journals and magazines. Unbeknownst to his peers is that Professor Qater has a second life in which he hunts blondes, has sex with them, and kills them.
When an early victim is found, the police link her to photographs that are part of Qater's hobby of creating pornographic works with women he knows but who don't really know him. Being a political appointee, Minneapolis Deputy Chief of Police Lucas Davenport expects to lose his job within six months when the mayor retires. Lucas intends to use his time wisely to catch the killer.
John Sandford is one of the top authors of police procedurals due to his three dimensional characters that consistently turn the "Prey" books into great reads. The hero is a flawed individual with a complex and realistic personal life that places demands on him even as he risks everything because he believes in the value of justice for all. CHOSEN PREY is the best of a great series. The audience knows the identity of the killer early on, but watch in fascination as Lucas tries to do likewise while balancing his complex personal life.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2002
This is one of those books where you're interest is grabbed immediately. Its also one which lets you down a little after the initial surge.
James Qatar is a pathetic killer who finds his pleasure with his lawn mower cord, using it over and over to kill those he finds sexually attractive. This is established in the first few pages.
After being introduced to this dismal character, the scene shifts to the Lucas Davenport and the many characters he interacts with.
The book goes on, switching between the killer and the police. The ratio of coverage is about 80% police and 20% killer.
If these percentages hovered closer to 50/50, the book would have been more interesting - though more morbid!