Easy Prey by John Sandford is next up on our 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge. This book is #11 in a series of twenty-seven (so far) novels starring Lucas Davenport, a police officer and war games designer. Interestingly, all twenty-seven books include the word “Prey” in the title. Does that tell you anything about the series? In Easy Prey, the body count mounts quickly.
This post does not contain spoilers.
This review is written about the first half of the book, up to Chapter 19.
Easy Prey is a police procedural novel, which means that the murder mystery is solved by those trained to solve murders, the police, and the story is heavy on the police process. This is a new type of mystery for me to read and, so far, I like it. As Roberta mentioned in her Writer’s Review, this book has a lot of characters, but I’ve been able to follow along and keep them all straight without too much difficulty. I was struck by the amount of detail Sandford gives for each character. For example, in Chapter 6 we are introduced to Lapstrake, a police officer from the Intelligence division.
Lapstrake was a bland, twenty-something guy with a home haircut who wore blue Sears work pants and a blue shirt that said “Cairn’s Glass” on the back.
A blue shirt wasn’t descriptive enough. Sandford added “Cairn’s Glass” to the back of it. I had to wonder why Cairn’s Glass, if that would be significant to the story later on, but it did succeed in making Lapstrake’s character more memorable.
Appreciation of Women
Lucas Davenport is not your typical police officer. For one thing, he’s wealthy; he invented board games to supplement his police income, which turned into computer games and led to his own company selling simulations to law enforcement. For another, Davenport has an innate appreciation of women, especially beautiful women. He notices and responds to small things about women that seem atypical of a middle-aged male, let alone a street-hardened cop. For example, in Chapter 2 he interacts with the wife of a friend:
She and Lucas had always liked each other, and if things had been different, if the Clays hadn’t been quite so happy with each other…She smelled good, like some kind of faintly perfumed soap.
Later, when Davenport is home, he continues to think of her:
Clean, mellow, starting to fade, the memory of Verna Clay’s scent still on his mind, he dropped into bed. He was asleep in five minutes, a small easy smile on his face.
Each woman Davenport interacts with affects him in some physical way, and he interacts with several in this book, in multiple ways. I feel I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, meeting Davenport midway through the “Prey” series; throughout the book there are mentions of past relationships that I am certain were main themes in previous novels. He is a character that I want to see from the very beginning in order to watch his growth and learn how far he’s come.
I’m only halfway through the book, but the body count is up to six and potentially there are at least two different killers, maybe more. It’s a lot to keep track of, and even more to consider for motives and means, but I’m hooked. I’m eager to finish this review so I can get back to reading! And then I’ll have to track down the first book in the “Prey” series, Rules of Prey.
Do you like police procedural mysteries? What did you think of Easy Prey?
Related posts (links will be added as posts go live):
- Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
- Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective
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What are we reading next?
If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog.
The next book is number 85. The Klone and I by Danielle Steel (1998) – Discussion begins June 12, 2017.
Touted as a high-tech love story.