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Rules of Prey (A Lucas Davenport Novel Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

John Sandford
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (465 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The haunting, unforgettable, ice-blooded thriller that introduced Lucas Davenport is so chilling that you're almost afraid to turn the pages and so mesmerizing you cannot stop.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Making his fiction debut, 'Sandford,' a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist using a pseudonym his real name is John Camp, has taken a stock suspense plot--a dedicated cop pursuing an ingenious serial killer--and dressed it up into the kind of pulse-quickening, irresistibly readable thriller that many of the genre's best-known authors would be proud to call their own," stated PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Lieutenant Lucas Davenport, highly touted killer detective, invents intricate video games that he sells for cash. Called in to aid the Minneapolis team scrambling to stop a psychopathic serial woman-slayer, Lucas almost meets his match. The self-styled "mad dog" murderer views his rape/stabbings as a game as well, setting up obstacles for the police, carefully selecting his victims, and priding himself on clever moves. Despite his largely deja vu plot, debut novelist Sandford ( also the author of The Fools Run due from Holt in September under the name John Camp; see Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/89) delivers tense action, chilling excitement, and thrilling suspense. Fast-moving prose and romantic sidelines add a little zest, too. BOMC featured selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 654 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (April 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QUCO58
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,664 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb debut to my favorite new series! January 26, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My wife bugged me for months to read this series and when I finally broke down, I kicked myself for not starting it sooner. Sandford's books following Minneapolis Police Detective Lucas Davenport are some of the best I've discovered in a long time. I'm working my way through the series and loving it!
Davenport is a maverick, brilliant, somewhat-womanizing detective.  I wasn't sure at first whether or not I'd like the character, but I quickly found myself a big fan of his. He's a cocky loner on the surface, but the digger you deep, the more sensitivity and warmth you find. Sandford has done a wonderful job of creating a character who is both intriguing and believable. (If you're hoping to create a mystery series, you'd better come up with a compelling protagonist and Sandford has certainly done that.)
This book finds Davenport on the trail of a cunning serial killer who sticks to a carefully thought-out set of rules in an attempt to escape capture (hence the title of the book). The mystery really kept me on my toes, wondering how Lucas would manage to capture this deranged murdered.
John Sandford's Prey series is recommended to fans of Michael Connelly, Robert B. Parker, and anyone who enjoys a good detective novel.
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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RULE #1 -- START A SERIES WITH A "GREAT" BOOK September 30, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A few years ago, I asked the owner of a bookstore to recommend some books for me. She said that she had been home sick for the past week and spent the time reading all of the "prey" books. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about and thought they might have something to do with religion as in "pray" books. After some further discussion, I realized I had stumbled upon a great series by John Sandford. I started to buy the books then and it's taken me this long to finally read the first one. Since I read a lot of mysteries, many of which are part of a series, I'm pretty savvy when it comes to the most popular male protagonists out there at the moment. Now that I've been introduced to Lucas Davenport, my only regret is that I waited this long to begin my relationship with a now favorite character.
The story is a good one and involves a serial killer whose identity is introduced to the reader at the beginning of the book. I like when an author does this as it enables me to get inside the killer's head and follow him around from place to place -- not only to the scene of his crimes but in his everyday life at work and home as well. I also love it when the moment arrives and I realize what the title of the book means. In Rules of Prey, the killer, referred to as "maddog", has certain rules that he follows so as not to get caught. For example, he never kills anyone he knows, he never uses the same weapon twice and he never has a motive. He always leaves a note at each crime scene communicating one of his rules. Not only does this serve as a challenge to our main character, Lucas Davenport, it is also the killer's "in your face" way of letting Lucas know that he is someone to be reckoned with.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic Formula Used Well June 4, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There's a basic formula at play in most suspense novels or thrillers. It's not hard to figure out the components: one demented killer, one detective, usually above the law with some interesting quirk or hobby that makes him unique, a love interest or two, the hero's haunted past...I think you get the idea. I always wish that some writer somewhere would break out of that formula but very few do successfully. But on occasion, a writer uses that formula to his advantage and just writes a darn good book.
Rules of Prey is the first novel in what has become a rather extensive series featuring Lucas Davenport, part playboy, part rogue cop, part vigilante. And the Davenport character is a good one. Throw in a generic psychopath playing the part of serial killer and you've got a decent but predictable thriller.
Readers of thrillers are familiar with portrayals of the bad guys and usually writers delve deeply into the motivations behind their actions. One strange thing about Rules of Prey is that Sandford does not elaborate on the killer's motivations. While I was curious what was driving him, I must say that I found the lack of childhood flashbacks and psychological ramblings refreshing.
Overall, the story was simple, neat and effective. The writing was good, the characters far more developed than those normally encountered in this genre, the action fast paced and the outcome surprising. I will definitely be continuing this series.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? August 5, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lucas Davenport, ace investigator, is on the trail of the latest woman-hunter who savagely kills without leaving a clue. Louis Vullion is a mediocre attorney turned serial killer who loves games as much as Davenport. The two begin a cat-and-mouse chase once Louis fails in his attempts to murder Carla Ruiz.
This is the first Sandford novel I've attempted. After reading so many positive, enthusiastic reviews of the PREY series, I simply had to start at the beginning. Was I disappointed? Not entirely. There are some interesting characters. Carla Ruiz is a rather strong, determined, intelligent woman. Sister Mary Joseph (or Elle Kruger when she grew up with Davenport) was my favorite character overall; she's witty, intelligent, confident and she serves as an anchor and confidante for Davenport. Louis himself is an interesting killer; however, there is no clear motive for his killing. There are some brief mentions of a weak mother, but nothing substantial about Louis is ever fleshed out. Annie McGowan and Jennifer Carey are rival tv reporters sniffing out the hottest story in Minnesota. Then there's Davenport. Intelligent? Yes. Brilliant detective? Perhaps. But he also possesses the scruples of a street hood, beds half the female characters before the story truly begins, and is quite willing to plant evidence or to physically threaten/harm witnesses or suspects. He designs elaborate games which supposedly supplies him with an income allowing him to drive a Porsche, own a wilderness hideaway, a boat, and several collectible firearms. One of his many girlfriends becomes pregnant, and the two share many a glass of wine and bottles of beer throughout the novel. Hmmmm.....
The last 100 pages of this novel redeemed it in my opinion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A scarier Davenport
I originally tuned into the Lucas Davenport saga further into the series, after the Davenport character has evolved both personally and professionally. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Thomas M. Shepard
5.0 out of 5 stars Pray that you have all night to finish a John Sanford "Prey" book!!!
In my opinion, John Sanford is the absolute best writer of suspense/thriller novels ("Prey" series). Read more
Published 11 hours ago by Laurie Solomon
4.0 out of 5 stars I could have given This 5 Stars but I hate to make Authors over...
Since John Sandford is one of my Top Authors, I could have given This 5 Stars but I hate to make Authors over confident. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Max Sped
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Best author, good quality
Published 1 day ago by Melody Wheeler
4.0 out of 5 stars first of the excellent Lucas Davenport novels
I believe that this is the first of the excellent Lucas Davenport novels. It is an entertaining read.
Published 2 days ago by John D. McLean
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Well written story that makes you want to read more. The characters are interesting and the author does a great job in getting the reader hooked.
Published 3 days ago by TAW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
gotta read all of them you won't be disappointed
Published 4 days ago by CK
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good thriller.
Published 5 days ago by Jayne Seidel
5.0 out of 5 stars Better the second time!
Great plot, fantastic characters, excellent writing style. First in a 20+ series, so don't read this unless you are willing to get pulled into the series!
Published 7 days ago by Rebecca Jo Fields
5.0 out of 5 stars Rules of prey
All the Davenport novels are a pleasure to read. Fast paced well written Sanford does not disappoint. Worth reading again.
Published 7 days ago by Delfina Amarillas
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More About the Author

John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master's degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He's also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archaeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.

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Worth the premium price for the Kindle version?
i agree this is price management at the lowest level..
Sep 22, 2012 by Kerns |  See all 2 posts
john sanford prey books
They are written in order, beginning with Rules of Prey, but reading them out of order will not compromise your enjoyment of this thrill-packed series.
Jan 6, 2009 by J. Ziemann |  See all 9 posts
Prey Books
Really? I got that a long time ago. Sometimes they're a little goofy with being able to find a title: UC Nightstalkers #3 is what I found when I was looking for Winter Prey. Good luck!
Jan 19, 2011 by Elle Belle |  See all 4 posts
J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) "... In Death" series with Eve Dallas belongs... Be the first to reply
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