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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Sandford continues to ply his trade....
with another entry in his fine "Prey" series, a group of books centered on Lucas Davenport, "the richest cop in Minnesota" (rich because he also designs video games).
Sandford set the stage for change at the conclusion of his last book, letting the reader percolate on what would be the differences in Lucas when he becomes an active father, and when he leaves the...
Published on June 4, 2003 by L. Quido

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars amiable Lucas Davenport
This is almost a "pleasant" read, due to a less demented killer than typical for Sandford. As usual, Sandford shows his murderer early on (and here even identifies him!), but he is such a good writer you'll want to read on anyway to experience the twisted road to him and see how Lucas will finger him. Also in this story I was sure one layer after another would be peeled...
Published on September 2, 2004 by tertius3


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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Sandford continues to ply his trade...., June 4, 2003
By 
L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
with another entry in his fine "Prey" series, a group of books centered on Lucas Davenport, "the richest cop in Minnesota" (rich because he also designs video games).
Sandford set the stage for change at the conclusion of his last book, letting the reader percolate on what would be the differences in Lucas when he becomes an active father, and when he leaves the police department for a quasi-bureaucratic governmental position in a new state department headed by his old boss, Rose Marie Roux. Wisely, although Sandford went forward with these changes, the impact was streamlined by having 90% of the book's action happen in rural northern Minnesota, in the fictional small town of Broderick. Family man Lucas still has his best sidekick, Del, gainfully employed with him -- and married or not, he still can spot and appreciate a great looking woman. Some things never change!
The first two murders may be motivated by racial hatred - one victim is black, and his significant other is white...they are found brutally slain and hanging from a barren tree in the frosty Minnesota winter. There's so much odd and unusual "stuff" going on in Broderick, it's difficult for Lucas & Del to pin down the any information about the murders, and the killings continue.
Sandford manages to deftly interweave his social viewpoints -- his lack of respect for the media, his vague unsettlement with the way that federal, state and local authorities sometimes impede each other to solve a case that has generated media attention, and most importantly, his support of a little known grass roots campaign that is quietly smuggling prescription drugs from Canada to US patients who need and can't afford them.
Unlike many other writers of this genre, Sandford can keep both his tale of the crime and his social commentary moving in the same direction -- one does not eclipse or slow down the other.
The book is also notable in that it provides a lot of insight into tribal casinos...a staple of the Minnesota scenery in the last decade. Tribal casinos have changed rural Minnesota in many ways, and Sandford captures this contrast of big city activity with the rural tundra.
The prize of the novel, as many readers have commented, is new character Letty West, who will doubtless appear in future instalments. A precocious 12-year old, Letty's like many rural kids that come from dysfunctional single parent families....in the cities, kids from these homes tend to run with gangs...in the country, they tend to be loners, with old souls. Letty is such a character, and she's the best addition to the series in a long time.
This may not be the finest of Sandford's series, but its darn close! Don't wait for the paperback!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fine police procedural, May 12, 2003
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
A lot has changed for Lucas Davenport in the last year. He married the love of his life Weather and they have an infant son and have moved into a new home with a separate apartment for the nanny/housekeeper. Rose Marie Roux is still Lucas's boss but she is now the Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner and Lucas reports directly to her and the governor as the Director in the Office of Regional Studies which is a part of The Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions.
Lucas gets the police cases that the local departments are not equipped to deal with or are political hot potatoes. His latest case involves a white woman and a black man hung by a rope to a tree and strangled to death. Lucas doesn't take long to identify the killer but when he goes to arrest him, he finds someone already murdered the perpetrator and his wife. Lucas returns to the small Northern Minnesota town of Broderick to find another killer but he doesn't realize that the small bucolic town is a cesspool of crime and corruption, a place where his homicide is interrelated to a series of other felonious acts.
There is nobody who writes a police procedural better than John Sandford. His plots are so complex that readers find themselves unable to put the book down until the last page is turned and all the loose ends are sewn up. NAKED PREY is one of the best novels in the series because the hero has undergone some radical changes both in his personal and professional life and that keeps the series fresh. This is a must read for fans of cop thrillers.
Harriet Klausner
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly, Sandford's Best Lucas Davenport Novel, May 29, 2003
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
NAKED PREY is the thirteenth of John Sandford's Lucas Davenport mysteries, the thirteenth in thirteen years actually. The series has had its ups and, around WINTER PREY or NIGHT PREY, downs, but for the most part, Sandford has written consistently tight, suspenseful thrillers about the Minnesota police investigator who styles himself quite accurately as the state's richest cop. Nothing that has come before, however, will prepare Sandford's and Davenport's former and current fans for NAKED PREY.
NAKED PREY is far and away Sandford's best, a novel that succeeds on so many levels that it will leave readers shaking their heads in wonder. It begins and ends with brutal murders --- the first is a puzzle and the last is a given, but both are ultimately satisfying. What occurs in between --- the plotting, the characterization, the pacing --- will make you wish that NAKED PREY was twice as long.
NAKED PREY finds Davenport comfortably ensconced in a position known as "Director --- Office of Regional Studies," which in turn is part of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Davenport reports directly to his old boss, former Minneapolis police chief Rose Marie Roux, and through her to the governor. Davenport's job is to fix things (the actual terminology that Sandford employs is a bit more, uh, graphic than that) when a crime on the local level becomes too complicated or touchy.
When a black man and white woman are found dead, victims of an apparent lynching in upstate Minnesota, the call goes out to Davenport to get the job done. Davenport and his running partner, Del Capslock, are soon in the tiny town of Broderick in rural Custer County investigating the deaths, and lives, of Jane Warr and Deon Cash. Davenport slowly discovers that there is far more going on in the quiet streets of Broderick than they would ever suspect.
The murders of Warr and Cash are only the first of many that take place during the course of NAKED PREY. Sandford pulls a really neat trick here. The reader gradually finds out what is going on --- and there is quite a bit --- but is ahead of the curve. The suspense comes into play as the reader watches Davenport painstakingly work his way through the labyrinth of secrets that Broderick holds to his heart. And, as NAKED PREY reaches its conclusion, the question becomes not how Davenport finds out who is behind the multiple murders, but whether he'll find out. And don't presuppose that you already know the answer to that one.
Readers who have stuck with the Davenport series since its inception will find that Sandford, aiming for the moon and stars, has reached the moon and stars. For those who haven't read a Davenport book for a while, or who are unfamiliar with the series, NAKED PREY is the place to jump on, right now. Whether you're looking for a police procedural series that is new to you or not, you need to become familiar with Lucas Davenport and you need to start with NAKED PREY. Very highly recommended.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Letty West Upstages Lucas Davenport as the Star of this Book, May 13, 2003
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
This is the fourteenth novel in John Sandford's PREY series, and it's almost perfect conclusion makes it one of the best that I have read. There have been some changes in Detective Lucas Davenport's life; he is now married to Weather and they have a young son, Sam. Lucas has also changed jobs, following his boss, former chief Rose Marie Roux, to her assignment as Director of Public Safety for the State of Minnesota. Lucas is now her chief troubleshooter and liasion for the most politically sensitive cases. Not surprisingly, such a case is about to explode into the headlines as the story begins. There is enough background information provided that first time readers of this series can throughly enjoy the story on a standalone basis and should not hesitate to read this book with the caveat that they may well get hooked and want to read some of the earlier novels. At the same time, the changes in Lucas life and job add an element of the newness necessary to make the series of continuing interest to long time readers.
Letty West, a twelve year old muskrat trapper who lives in the far north small town of Broderick, discovers two nude bodies that have been hanged from a tree near her trap line and are frozen "like popsicles". The sensational nature of the discovery is magnified by the fact that Jane Warr, the female victim, is white and Deon Cash, the male victim with whom she lived, is the only black resident of the entire rural county. Thus, the media and a well known racial agitator are quick to commandeer the term lynching to describe the killings. Lucas and his frequent partner Del Capslock are helicoptered to the area; they soon discover that there appears to be much more to the case than an interracial double homicide. As they begin to investigate the connection of Warr and Cash to a surprisingly variety of illegal activities centered in Broderick, additional violence erupts although none so dramatic and described so vividly as the NAKED PREY. The small town has many interesting characters including a group of ex-nuns doing charitable work and who end up playing a crucial role in the story.
The mystery here is not who committed the crime or their motive, both the reader and Lucas know those answers before the book is half complete. Rather, the story revolves around the attempt of Lucas and Del to make semse out of the remaining pieces of the puzzle. The author continually provides the reader with partial insights into the interrelated mysteries by changing the narrator as the story proceeds. The effect is excellent, the overview provided actually increases the tension and the realism. The reader wants to see how Lucas will piece the threads together without the benefit our knowledge, it is a difficult technique to master but works because the final outcome is unknown.
There are a few truly despicable characters in this story, but little detailed violence after the initial murders. The real hero and central character is in many ways Letty West. She is wonderfully developed as she deals with the traumas which she has experienced (begining well before this incident). As she attempts to help Lucas puzzle out the case both Lucas and the reader come to care as deeply about her as bringing the criminals to justice. Both aspects of the conclusion, Letty's future and the fate of the criminals are consistent with the narrative development, they ultimately both provide a profound sense of justice and also delight the reader while making it appear clear that we will have the pleasure of reading about further cases under investigation by Lucas Davenport.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanford has somehow managed to take the puzzling, September 27, 2003
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This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
pieces of this crime drama and scatter them to the winds!
Then, as only he can do, he slowly and carefully collects them and sets them in place..leaving the reader dangling in suspence until that last piece is found. And what is so very different in this novel in the Lucas Davenport series, is the glue he uses to hold it all together.
Letty West, a teen-aged muskrat trapper! She is the soft under-belly of this hard-hitting drama of suspense. Her life is dreary and complicated and heart-wrenching..and when she discovers in the bitter cold of a Minnesota morning, two naked bodies hanging from a tree close to her house; her life only gets harder.
But these bodies are just the vortex of this whirlpool of a mystery. And as it swirls it gets wider and wider and encompasses almost every person in the small Minnesota town. Lucas and his buddy Del Capslock attack this enigma with all their resources and finally come up with an answer. Letty is their guide to who's who and what's what and is almost constantly at their sides putting her two cents in. But she is a wonderful help and a tough little character who wiggles her way into everyone's heart.
Although this the thirteenth in his "Prey" series, Sanford is just as fresh and thrilling as ever.
A very good read...if you are already a fan, I think you will agree that this one is the best. If this is the first for you, I predict you will go back and start with his first, "Rules of Prey".
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, June 9, 2003
By 
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
Lucas Davenport is back in John Sandford's continuing series, and fans of the detective won't be disappointed. Davenport now works for a Minnesota state agency, the BCA, under Rose, his old superior from the Minneapolis police department. A murder scene that resembles a lynching is enough to bring in Davenport and his partner Del to invesigate and clean up before a major political crisis can begin. The murder scene is discovered by a very unusual 12 year old girl, Letty West, who talks and acts many years her senior. Davenport enlists Letty's help in his investigation, which revolves around the hanging murders, multiple kidnappings, a car theft ring, and drug smuggling. The individual crimes are linked through several threads that are not apparent at first to Davenport or the several law enforcement groups he is working with on the case.
Davenport's domestic scenes with his wife Weather are kept to a minimum in this yarn, with almost all of the action focused on the crimes. Letty West takes center stage, and she proves more than a match for Davenport. She traps muskrats, totes a rifle, drives pickups, swears a lot, and helps pick up the pace of the book whenever she appears (which is often). There is strong rapport between Davenport and Letty, and the foundations are set for the making of a good team in future editions of the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small Town Secrets, February 14, 2004
By 
Louise (Copenhagen V, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
This is one of the latest, if not the latest, Lucas Davenport stories. Davenport is no longer with the Minneapolis police, but working on a higher level in the system. He is still solving crimes, but he is only sent out there of there are potential political dangers/issues involving the crime in question.
In this book, Lucas Davenport and one of his old partners from the Minneapolis Police, Del Capslock, are flying to another part of the state, a small town, where a couple has been found hanged. There is not question about this being a double murder, and it is of great importance that Lucas and Del solve this mystery very fast. Not only has there been comitted a horrible crime, the bigshot politicians are more than worried that hell will break loose when it becomes known that the hanged man was black. It smells like a lynching, and before the bodies have been cut down, a radical civil-rights man is on his way down to look at things. Lucas and Del start trying to figure out what has happened, as well as they try to put a lid on the racial issues there may be involved in this. They are in for a good deal of surprises. As they start digging, even more chilling secrets are revealed, and it soon becomes clear that this has nothing at all to do with racism. The book is written in typical John Sandford style, it is easy to read, the dialogue is great and the mystery and secrets are revealed layer by layer in a very good story. Highly recommendable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars amiable Lucas Davenport, September 2, 2004
By 
tertius3 (MI United States) - See all my reviews
This is almost a "pleasant" read, due to a less demented killer than typical for Sandford. As usual, Sandford shows his murderer early on (and here even identifies him!), but he is such a good writer you'll want to read on anyway to experience the twisted road to him and see how Lucas will finger him. Also in this story I was sure one layer after another would be peeled back, so my surprise was that I was NOT surprised at all by the final two twists. I hope Sandford's clues just happened to click with me this time, rather than that he ineptly telegraphed them. He's one of my favorite authors for his sense of place, plotting, and plausible characters. This just didn't have the tension, the socio-pathological intensity, of most of his other PREY thrillers.

It's fun how people from earlier stories reappear momentarily, like an in-joke for faithful readers--"ah yes, that Marcy!" The new characters are also interesting, especially a fatherless, mouthy, precocious girl--an informant--who attaches herself to Lucas in an enlivening and fetching way. Keep your eye on her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another worthy book in the series!, November 27, 2003
By 
Vahania63 (Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
I follow all the books in Lucas Davenport series. This one is maybe not the best but far from the worst. The pace is sometimes slow comparing to other Davenport novels. What makes John Sandford books so special is not the plot, which by itself is not the most groundbreaking. The reason his books are succesful is that he is a very good writer, the characters are very well developed. The decription of the small town on the north of Minnesota in is very striking, the characters are very believable. You get an impression you visited the place. You can add to that mix murders and get the book you cannot put away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid entry in the Prey series, May 15, 2003
By 
R. H OAKLEY "roboakley" (Vienna, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Naked Prey (Hardcover)
Naked Prey is the latest of John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. Davenport has a new job for the governor that sends him off to a remote area of Minnesota to investigate a suspected lynching of a black man and white woman. One unfortunate result of the setting is that few of the regular series characters are in this book, and with one exception, those that appear do so briefly.
Sandford breaks with the formula that has so often served him well in the past -- Davenport versus a killer (who may or may not be identified to the reader) with each making move and counter-move against one another. Here, Davenport actually solves the initial crime early in the book. However, the samll town near the crime scene has a lot of secrets that continue to propel the plot. At times, the characters are driven by mistakes and misunderstandings as to what is actually happening -- which is close to the way things happen in real life. Sandford also has a good feel for Midwestern characters and the way they talk. The dialog is sharp throughout the book.
If you like the Prey series, you will want to read this book. I don't rank it at the top of the series because of some plot holes that occur early in the book. Without giving the plot away, the first killing occurs because the killer has learned the names of his victims from someone else who he has killed before the book has begun. How he found this person, who should have been otherwise unknown to him, is not clear. Also,this person gives him only some but not all of the names of the people he would be looking for -- again, no explanation. However, Sandford keeps the plot moving quickly enough that this problem is quickly forgotten. Too bad that it is a year before another Prey novel comes out.
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Naked Prey (ABRIDGED AUDIO CD)
Naked Prey (ABRIDGED AUDIO CD) by John Sandford (Audio CD - May 12, 2003)
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