Select one of the keywords
Chosen Prey    by John Sandford order for
Chosen Prey
by John Sandford
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Chosen Prey is the 12th latest installment of John Sandford's dark and gritty Minneapolis-based Prey series. Deputy Police Chief, Lucas Davenport, along with the usual cast of fellow detectives, is tracking down yet another brutal mass killer. Staying true to his successful formula, Sandford reveals the identity of the villain early on. This time around he's a member of academia, a well-known Art History professor whose taste for deviant pornography and murder is quickly made apparent. Through James Qatar's eyes the reader is presented with plenty of motivation, often graphic, as to why his chosen prey are pretty blonde university co-eds.

When an out-of-town sheriff brings Davenport a meticulously kept file that suggests the killer's range is more widespread than previously thought, the case heats up. Following one of his hunches, Davenport and the sheriff discover a grisly burial ground on a remote wooded hillside. Some of the remains have been interred there for as little as a year, others close to a decade. While forensics begin piecing together the puzzle of the identities of the victims, Davenport and his team chase down any common denominators, however small, that might lead to the killer. Meanwhile, James Qatar works feverishly to destroy any evidence that could link him to the dead girls while still maintaining his latest affair with a sexually-starved fabric artist. As their carnal follies escalate, Qatar yearns to strangle the young woman as he had all the others, yet stays his hand, knowing another dead blonde might well be his undoing.

Tracking down a brutal serial killer isn't all that's keeping Lucas Davenport awake at night. He and his significant other, surgeon Weather Karkinnen, are trying to make a baby. And back at police headquarters, his boss is working to strengthen her own, and also Davenport's, political affiliations. She has just learned that her own boss, the mayor, will not be running in the next election.

Sandford delivers his usual lean, almost script-like prose and moves his plot along as efficiently as ever. Davenport's character seems to have outgrown some of his dark and ruthless edge, a trait that has allowed him to slip easily into a killer's psyche. This talent has in the past left him walking a fine line, battling not only his superiors over questionable conduct, but also bouts of depression. In this latest foray, the Deputy Chief has entered even further into a mid-life plateau where he's back together with a woman who might actually understand him. He's also bemused about the possibility of becoming a middle-aged father and ruminating over which direction his job will take. John Sandford has, over the course of his last few books, slowly set events in motion for some major changes in Davenport's career and personal life. It will be interesting to see where these changes will take this popular and long-running series.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews