Tag: Easy Prey

#BestsellerCode100: A Reader’s Review of Easy Prey by John Sandford

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.

Easy Prey* by John Sandford

This review is written about the first half of the book, up to Chapter 19.

Police Procedural

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.

Bodies Galore

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):

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

Join us on social media:

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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.

#BestsellerCode100: Writer’s Analysis of Easy Prey by John Sandford

Let’s examine at next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 list, Easy Prey by John Sandford, from a writer’s perspective.

This post contains a few spoilers.

Easy Prey* by John Sandford


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This is the 11th mystery in the “Prey” series, featuring police detective Lucas Davenport.

Summary:  When a supermodel is killed during a party, there’s a media frenzy surrounding the case. Things get even worse when it is revealed another person was also killed and one of Davenport’s own men is a suspect.

Characters

In Easy Prey, the main character of the series, Lucas Davenport, is a deputy police chief. Although he works for the city of Minneapolis, he can afford to drive a Porsche because he made a great deal of money designing some early computer simulation games, implying he’s working in law enforcement because he really enjoys it.

Author John Sandford creates many, many characters in this novel, including multiple victims, friends and relatives associated with the victims, suspects, police, sheriffs, assistant medical examiners, medical examiners, computer hacks who assist the police, etc. etc. The sheer number of characters is fascinating, especially the duplication. There isn’t one love interest, but three strong candidates and Lucas notices a couple of other women. There isn’t one initial victim, but two, and many more pile up. Lucas regularly reports to not one boss, but both the Chief of Police and the Mayor, who seem to travel in pairs. The good news is each of the characters is given a recognizable name and enough individual details to help keep them separate in the reader’s mind.

In a recent interview (video in this post), Sandford revealed that in his later books he felt Davenport had started to “direct traffic” rather than investigate, meaning his law enforcement team had become large and cumbersome. To overcome that problem in the most recent novel Davenport goes to work for the U.S. Marshals Service, becoming a lone investigator with a minimal number of assistants.

Setting of Easy Prey

As mentioned, the book is set in Minnesota, primarily in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Throughout the book the characters visit local sites, such as the Mall of America.

Sandford says when Davenport works for the city he can develop a level of intimacy with his setting. He knows the locations where crimes are likely to occur and he also knows who to talk to in order to get the inside scoop. In later books, he moves to a statewide agency, where his knowledge is still useful, but more diluted. As a U.S. Marshal (in the latest book) the crimes he investigates might be anywhere in the U.S. and, as Sandford notes, it is like he’s been “thrown into the ocean.” From the writer’s perspective it shows how setting can constrain or control a character.

 

Minneapolis-Easy-Prey-Setting

Public domain photo via VisualHunt

Plot

Not your standard mystery novel, Easy Prey has a convoluted plot with multiple killers who have a range of motives. Readers who like to solve the mystery alongside the detective will be disappointed when one of the killers comes out of left field.

Themes/Topics

Although Sandford is the first to admit that he writes entertaining genre fiction, he does throw in some deeper material. For example, his main character Davenport has a running discussion with an ex-college girlfriend Catrin about her emerging midlife crisis. She put her a career aside in the past to raise her children. Now she feels like she missed something and she regrets having been in the “background of someone else’s movie” when she could have starred in her own. Whether or not you agree with Davenport’s response (either choice will cause regrets), it is not the type of material a reader expects in a detective novel.

Comments

Easy Prey is an entertaining novel. It is also relatively easy to read, especially compared to some others in our challenge, but that isn’t to say the novel is lightweight. Based on elements such as the complexity of the plot and sheer number of characters, it has many things to teach an aspiring writer.

Have you read Easy Prey by John Sandford? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Newest book in the series:

Golden Prey by John Sandford

Published April 25, 2017 – Number 27 in the “Prey” series

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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.

#BookBeginnings Easy Prey by John Sandford

Today we’re featuring the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, Easy Prey by John Sandford for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

Easy Prey* by John Sandford


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   A glamorous supermodel is killed at a party and police detective Lucas Davenport gets the call. Not only does he have to deal with a media frenzy over his case, but things go from bad to worse when another body shows up and one of his men becomes the main suspect.

This is the 11th novel in the “Prey” mystery series.

First Sentence:

When the first man woke up that morning, he wasn’t thinking about killing anyone.

Discussion:

That sets the tone for a mystery, doesn’t it? The man isn’t identified, but it sounds like he may be a killer before the day is out. Also, how many more men that might kill someone are there, if he’s only the first?

So far this book could be called “Easy Read” instead of Easy Prey. It goes down like candy, in stark contrast to our previous Bestseller Code challenge book, World War Z. Thank you, John Sandford.

What do you think? Have you read any of John Sandford’s books?

#BestsellerCode100: Starting Number 86. Easy Prey by John Sandford

Time to start the discussion of our next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 list, Easy Prey by John Sandford.

This post does not contain spoilers.

Easy Prey* by John Sandford


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This is the 11th mystery in the “Prey” series, featuring police detective Lucas Davenport.

Summary:  When a supermodel is killed during a party, there’s a media frenzy surrounding the case. Things get even worse when another person is killed and one of Davenport’s own men becomes the main suspect.

 

Have you read Easy Prey by John Sandford? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Related posts (links will be added as posts go live):

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

Join us on social media:

Do you have suggestions for ways to improve this reading challenge? We’d love to hear them.

Have you written about Easy Prey by John Sandford? Feel free to add a link to your review here.


__________________

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.

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