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4.2 out of 5 stars
Wicked Prey (Lucas Davenport, No. 19)
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
This is Sandford's 19th Lucas Davenport novel. I have not read them all, but I have read a fair many. They never disappoint, and this may well be his best for fast-paced action and intrigue.

Taking a page form current events, this one takes place during last year's Republican convention in St. Paul when, much to Lucas' chagrine, all the cops are on street and riot duty. He gets word from an old flame cop in NYC that there is a murderous robbery gang headed to St. Paul. At the same time, there is convincing evidence that an assassin with long range rifle prowess is also in the Twin Cities. Then, add to those threads that an old enemy is out to get him, which he does not know, but his precocious soon-to-be adopted daughter does know, and all the ingredients are there for a fine mystery thriller.

Sandford is the master of the inverted mystery where the reader knows who the bad guy(s) is and can watch the ballet as the criminal steps and then Davenport steps, seemingly behind or not even on the same dance floor. The reader shares the character's frustration and waits to see how Lucas will catch up. It is pure mastery of the form.

Lucas Davenport is, of course, after 19 books fully fleshed out. But since he, his family and co-workers evolve constantly, they remain. This is not to say, however, that you needed to have read the prior books. They all stand alone.

This is a terrific book and has inspired me to go and look for some 'Prey' books I have yet to read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 20, 2009
Sandford's latest romp through murder and mayhem finds his BCA (Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) detective Lucas Davenport on the outs with the department for doing his job too well. It's August 2008 in St. Paul and the Republicans are in town to nominate John McCain for president. Davenport had lobbied hard for extra manpower on the streets and as payback he's been sidelined.

Which leaves him free to deal with gate crashers like the neo-Nazi who's disappeared into the city with a .50 caliber sniper rifle. Or the cop-killing hold-up gang looking for one more big score to retire on. Or his ward - soon to be adopted daughter - Letty, who is 14 and growing up to be just like her adopted Dad, smart and devious.

Letty has gotten wind of a paraplegic, meth-addicted, psychopathic pimp's plot to revenge himself on Davenport through her. He blames Davenport for all the ills in his misbegotten life. Rather than bother her busy Dad with it, Letty decides to take on Randy Whitcomb herself, befriending Whitcomb's stable of prostitutes - consisting of one sad-sack teenage runaway.

Sandford switches viewpoints among this motley crew, keeping the reader a couple steps ahead of Davenport. The main focus is on the Brutus Cohn gang's robbery plans. Master planner Rosie Cruz, a secretive, detail oriented, careful soul, has targeted lobbyists, flush with illegal cash to hand out to campaign workers. Four or five of those then a big, complex finale and they go their separate ways. They get rich; no one gets hurt.

Sandford puts Davenport and his men through their paces and nobody gets it quite right. As the body count rises and Davenport gets closer and the gang grows more brutal and desperate, Letty flits in and out of the downtown crowds, getting herself in a little deeper than she planned.

A fast-paced story, big setting, witty dialogue and engaging characters make this another of the satisfying thrillers that Sandford fans have come to expect after 26 books, including 18 previous "Prey" novels.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2010
I'm a big Lucas Davenport fan. I've read most of the books in the series and enjoyed them immensely. However, Wicked Prey like a stepson to the series. It is... odd. It doesn't have the usual feel and charm of a Lucas Davenport novel. The whole Letty subplot is terrible and feels more like a Carmen Sandiego story than anything else. I really liked her character in Winter Prey, but making her a 14 years old Lucas Davenport just doesn't work well. I hope the series gets back to its roots in the next book...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2009
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It moved along quickly in my opinion, and every time I put it down I wanted to get back to it. I do have, however, a few complaints:

1. Letty's behavior was not believeable for a 14-year-old, and Lucas's response to it not appropriate for a father. I don't buy her getting on-air time on TV either.

2. The reason I don't agree with many posters that Sandford didn't write this book is his increasing (throughout the Prey series) need to end 95% of his sentences with "..." Go look back at those sentences; almost every one could have ended with a period without affecting the meaning or tone of the sentence. Very annoying, as well as every character starting sentences with "Ah".

3. We never learned what the mysterious note under the door was that made the lobbyist open the door, so that the bad guys could blow the cop away. Lucas even spent some time wondering about this, but Sandford never goes back to it, and the plot point just dangles.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2010
This is a good effort from Sanford. Nice pace, and the characters are done well. . .But. . .the whole Letty sub-plot is stupid! A subplot where a 14-year-old foils a kid-nap/"who-knows-what" plot is a ridiculous e hook type of thing that seems beneath Sandford's talent level. I also feel that an opportunity is missed in the running gun battle where a number of the "bad guys" get killed. For once, I'd like to see Lucas catch and interrogate someone -- it seems like there could be an opportunity for us to see a slightly different side of Lucas.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
In his nineteenth edition to the Lucas Davenport Prey series, John Sandford proves beyond a reasonable doubt that somethings will never grow old or tired. The hero, Lucas Davenport, is up to his neck in problems in WICKED PREY. WICKED PREY has three different crimes running at the same time that seem to weave in and out of each other, all the while the Republican Nomination Convention sets the stage for limited resources and manpower in the background.

On the forefront there is a gang of armored car robbers looking for a big score, a man with a rifle looking for weaponry for a 750 yard shot, and Randy Witcomb (from previous Prey installments) looking to settle the score with Davenport.

Sandford excels in painting the life of a law enforcement official, from the slow times of walking the beat to the climatic shootouts, and WICKED PREY is no exception. The writing style is so elegant in the portrayal of the life looking for criminals, hoping for breaks, and running around in the thick of chaos. As he has proven time and time again, nobody writes a better criminal apprehension story than John Sandford, and WICKED PREY is no exception.

WICKED PREY is fantastic. It just might be one of my top three Lucas Davenport stories, coming in a close second or third behind BROKEN PREY and SECRET PREY. Don't miss this one; it's WICKED!

Good reading,

J.Stoner
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2009
I usually fly through Sandford's books, but not this one. Instead of suspenseful, I found it disjointed. In fairness, I read it on my Kindle -- I have read several long and complicated books on my Kindle without any problem -- so perhaps I wasn't as willing to flip back through the book to make sense of some random statement like they found Lane's picture at Starbucks. Huh?

Probably a little laziness on my part in not making the effort to follow the threads of the highly improbable plot, but mostly I didn't much care. Like watching an episode of House -- you may not follow the medical ins and outs but you know in the end Dr. House will pull it all together for you. Entertaining? Sure. Suspenseful? Not really. Challenging? Not at all.

The book had a rushed feeling to it -- like it was due to be published so Sandford handed in what he had.

Here's to hoping for better things next time! Sandford is one of my reliable favorites -- as another reviewer suggested, I hope he isn't doing us the disservice of delegating his writing.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
I'm not going to give a synopsis, since that's already been done. I do want to comment about all the unfair one-star ratings handed out by people who have not even read this book, though. If they want to complain about the unfairness of the amount being charged for the Kindle version of this book, they should do so in the appropriate venue. Not by unfairly doling about a one star rating to John Sandford on his latest book. Way uncool. Amazon? This should not be allowed to happen. These reviews are supposed to be from those of us who took the time to read the book and have an opinion to share with others who may be thinking about reading this book. Way uncool.
As for Wicked Prey...I now have all 19 books in the Prey series and the two Virgil Flowers editions. Not a bad one in the bunch, I must say. I adore Lucas Davenport. Any one of these books can stand on their own, but I would strongly suggest starting from the beginning. The worst part is having to wait another year for the next installment. Virgil is ok, but Lucas...My only complaint is this: Lucas has a younger, bio daughter that he fathered by a past gf, whom he almost married. In several of the earlier books, Sarah(his other daughter) was at least mentioned by name. Until Lucas took in Letty as a ward and now his adopted daughter, that is. Sarah's mom, Jennifer Carey, even had a visable role in this installment. But the only mention of his bio dauther was in several references to Carey"as the mother of his other daughter". There was a mention of having pics of Letty, Weather(his wife) and Sam(their toddler)on his office wall, but nothing about Sarah. When a fan of a certain author, or book series, has invested a great deal of time in a character, they get to feel like they "know" this person. I'm sorry, but I just don't see Lucas as the type to turn his back on his own daughter. She'd be like 11 years old now and I don't care that her mother is married and has other kids...Sarah is still Lucas's daughter and it goes against his character(invented by Sandford)to just act like she doesn't exist. He never even ask about her when speaking to the child's mother....that's my only complaint. But the book was great. Lots of thrills and action. Very much reccommended. I just hope JS does something to bring Sarah back to the forefront, instead of just referring to her as 'Lucas's other daughter".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
John Sandford's character Lucas Davenport has been through his share of adventures over the years and we have seen him gradually age and mellow (to a certain extent, although he is still tough).

In his latest offering, Sandford gives a lead storyline to Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty, who finds out that someone her father put into a wheelchair years prior is back for vengeance. Letty decides to try and avert her father getting into trouble by investigating the bad guy herself through the help of his prostitute girlfriend.

The main storyline involves the 2008 Republican convention where there are security concerns and Davenport must look into whether someone is planning on assassinating the presidential hopeful. Is the possible assassination just a red herring to a cunning gang planning greater spoils?

Is this a good book? Yes and no. It is John Sandford so we know the writing will be solid and he will deliver his usual action but the negative is that this novel just felt a little worn to me. The usual humour was lacking, the storyline itself seemed a bit flat and Letty came across as quite unlikeable.

I would put this as one of Sandford's weaker offerings.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
Davenport will never go back to what he once was, as is the nature of evolving characters. But the hard nature of law enforcement, and the utter sociopathism of the criminals in Sandford's novels has returned in force in Wicked Prey. The cool sideplot involving Letty was very entertaining. A couple of returning characters from novels past gave it a nice flavor.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Sandford is the best in the business when it comes to pacing his novels. He doesn't over-do, but he gives the reader enough detail to grasp every scene and situation. I recommend this novel, as well as all the others he's written.
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