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Storm Prey Hardcover – May 18, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of bestseller Sandford's superb 20th Lucas Davenport thriller (after Wicked Prey), the getaway vehicle from a botched early morning robbery, which results in a pharmacy employee's death, almost collides with the car driven by Lucas's surgeon wife, Weather Karkinnen. Weather, who was on her way to work at the Minnesota Medical Research Center, becomes a key witness. Sandford masterfully handles both sides of the equation as the thieves—planner Lyle Mack, his brother, Joe, and their henchmen—work to cover their crime. The investigation belongs to Minneapolis deputy chief Marcy Sherrill, but Lucas of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension pulls out all the stops to protect his wife. Sandford creates additional drama throughout as Weather and a skilled team of doctors perform an operation to separate twins joined at the skull. Sharply drawn characters, intricate plotting, and smooth dialogue make this a sure-fire winner. 500,000 first printing; author tour. (May)
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From Booklist

It was an inside job, and it should have been easy. Rob the pharmacy at Minneapolis’ largest hospital: in, out, wait till things cool down, and then sell the drugs for a half million or so. But the old man had to be a hero. Who knew he’d be on blood thinners and die after he was kicked? A robbery turned murder means Lucas Davenport and his Bureau of Criminal Apprehension team are called in to assist the investigation. There’s another element to the case for Davenport: his wife, Weather, a surgeon at the hospital, may be able to identify one of the killers. The case starts to escalate. An attempt is made on Weather’s life. The bodies of two motorcycle gang members are found in a rural area. Davenport guesses the gang is imploding from the pressure and murdering its members. Weather, under 24-hour guard, is part of a surgical team working to separate conjoined twins in a procedure that’s captured the attention of the world’s media. Meanwhile, Davenport and his team keep finding bodies of likely robbers but can’t seem to isolate either the brains behind the theft or the hospital insider who pointed them at the pharmacy. The twenty-second Prey novel includes most of the elements readers expect: sharp plot, snappy dialogue, and believable action, but the background playfulness and gallows humor that usually fill in the gaps are in short supply. But hey, that’s nitpicking. On balance, this is another fine entry in a wildly popular series. --Wes Lukowsky

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Product Details

  • Series: Prey (Book 20)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156496
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on April 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A gang of bumbling bikers have robbed the hospital's pharmacy - accidentally killing the pharmacist while doing so - at the direction of a drug-addled hospital insider. Lucas Davenport and his crew are drawn into the investigation, and Lucas has a personal stake in the outcome as his physician wife Weather works at the hospital, and may be a witness able to identify at least one of the perps.

"Storm Prey" is Sanford's twentieth novel in the Lucas Davenport series. First, the good news.

The story rocks along in an engaging manner, involving the reader not only in the crime that Lucas is on course to solve, but also in the fates of a pair of twins conjoined at the head at birth whom Lucas's wife Weather is trying to surgically separate.

The two plot lines progress in tandem, and are great counterpoints to each other. We also see the protagonist of one of Sanford's other series - Virgil Flowers - involved in this story in a peripheral role, yet another fun element.

The bad guys are a mixed bag of bumblers, druggies, and a sociopathic stone killer wandering through the story, bumping into each other with conflicting motivations and goals. The investigation almost solves itself for Lucas as these dimwits try to outsmart each other in avoiding capture, and getting away with the loot.

The "Prey" novels are always a fun ride through the roller-coaster criminal landscape, and this book is no exception.

BUT... and now the bad news.
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120 of 135 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Butch VINE VOICE on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a long-time Lucas Davenport devotee, I am always happy to drop in on him and his family and associates. I was particularly looking forward to "Storm Prey" which was described as "superb" by one pre-publication reviewer. The actual book was a let-down. Don't get me wrong -- I admire the consistent quality of Sandford's work, and the fact that he has not moved into that "I don't have to make any effort anymore" space so common with bestselling authors (see, DeMille's "Wildfire" for a horrible example). But this time it all seemed to much the same to me. Some baddies do something bad. We know who they are but Davenport does not, at first. We know the story will begin thus, but in the past it has been Davenport's path to identifying the criminals that made the story fascinating (that and the regular characters, who remain fascinating). But here the "puzzle" part is too easy and the baddies too uninteresting. It really takes Davenport no time at all to identify the malefactors, and it's all luck. Where's the fun in that? the "Aha" moments? In addition, I would really enjoy a villain who is neither an unraveling psychopath nor a big dumb psychopath. You know, someone who might challenge Davenport, rather than being caught because he leaves an ever-widening swath of blood behind him.

All of the above does not mean I did not enjoy "Storm Prey" -- I did. But I would not call it "superb" by any means, or anywhere near Sandford's best work.
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104 of 117 people found the following review helpful By MysteryPoodle VINE VOICE on April 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the 20th of John Sandford's "Prey" novels, featuring Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport and his band of merry, lethal, smart men. Perhaps it's fitting then, that this book is a marathon rather than a sprint... a down-to-earth, detailed police procedural rather than the edge-of-your-seat tension that you sometimes get with the Sandford books.

But that's part of the draw of this series... it's not just the same book over and over. I can actually remember the plots from these books, and how the characters have matured and changed. That's a good thing.

For me, the most appealing thing about the Prey series -- heck, all of the Sandford books -- is that the protagonists are smart and they catch the bad guys because the bad guys are dumb. No criminal master-minds here. Sure, things get pretty violent sometimes, but Davenport and his crew generally manage to avoid a lot of brawn by using brain. For me, the best line of the book was when Virgil Flowers tells Davenport that it's good Davenport's state squad is barging in on a Minneapolis investigation. "The point remains," Virgil said. "Never hurts to have a little more IQ on the job." Sometimes, it seems like the world wants to completely ignore the tremendous truth there is in that statement.

Sandford's dialogue is nitty and gritty and rings absolutely true, and his prose enfolds it so seamlessly that it's entirely possible to sit down with one of his books and find that you've finished it four hours later, without really knowing just how that happened. After those four hours, I finished this book feeling better about the world, and that's not something you can say about most novels, either. It feels good to remember that men and women like the ones in this book do exist -- courageous, dutiful, scatalogical, funny, determined and smart.

Can't wait for the next one!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Anytime you review a book like this - another in a long series - it must be rated against all other mystery/thrillers and against all other Lucas Davenport books. On both counts STORM PREY comes up roses. Sandford has a unique ability to keep his characters fresh and developing so the series does not become dull or redudant.

In this twentieth book of the line, Weather (Mrs. Davenport) is faced with the stressful separation surgery of conjoined twins. On the day the operation is to go, the hospital pharmacy is robbed and a worker murdered. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she has seen two of the participants and the chase is on. The surgery starts and stops over days and days as they try to keep both of the twins alive. This sug-saga adds terrific and unique tension to a murder thriller. Unlike what one might think if you've read prior books, Weather does not take the strong independent route. She is focused on the operation so she lets "the men do their stuff while she does hers". The rest of the plot is classic Sandford reverse mystery. We watch the bad guys as we watch Lucas, Virgil, Shrake, et al try to catch up with them. The criminals have to eliminate one of their members because he gave up DNA at the robbery. That leads to more eliminations as the nefarious goings on expand. The bad guys are constantly looking over their shoulders at each other while looking over their other shoulders watching the cops. The book tracks both the courses of the good guys and the bad - another level of depth and mystery that Sandford uses to keep the pages turning.

As usual, all the characters all have depth. Even the robbers/murderers are given personalities. The dialogue among Lucas and his colleagues is believeable and at times witty. You want to be with them.
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