Book Review: John Sandford’s Shadow Prey

Posted June 25, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: John Sandford’s Shadow PreyShadow Prey by John Sandford
It is part of the Lucas Davenport #2 series and is a This detective mystery, mystery was published by Berkley on March 1, 1991 and has 464 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

five-stars

Other books in this series include Rough Country

Other books by this author include Rules of Prey, Eyes of Prey, Winter Prey, Silent Prey, Mind Prey, Night Prey, Sudden Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Mortal Prey, Naked Prey, Hidden Prey, Broken Prey, Invisible Prey, Phantom Prey, Wicked Prey, Storm Prey, Buried Prey, Silken Prey, Stolen Prey, Field of Prey, Gathering Prey, Dark of the Moon, Heat Lightning, Rough Country, Bad Blood, Shock Wave, Mad River, Deadline, Storm Front, Extreme Prey, Escape Clause

Second in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series set in Minneapolis and revolving around Lucas Davenport.

My Take

This one is so disgusting. It makes me so angry that cops would abuse their power like this. It’s bad enough that any man would do this to a young girl, but for cops…it’s just worse…arghhhh! Even more infuriating, if that is at all possible, is that the police dispatcher announces the location of victims for other cops to abuse. There are no words for how angry this makes me.

It’s almost a tour of Lucas’ life as he escorts Lily around Minneapolis as they work to dig up hints, clues, ideas on who’s killing all these people.

I do like this twist on a cop’s life. One who creates games: war games, fantasy games, role-playing games. And Sandford provides lots of background on how Lucas approaches this hobby of his. He also shows up a dirty cop. One who breaks in to people’s homes, twists arms. There is a lot I like about Lucas, and there’s a lot I don’t like about him. He lies, he cheats, he manipulates. Yet, he is also honest. He doesn’t set people up to permanently hurt them, just to get to the end result with the right people, the guilty people, arrested. He also seduces women into sleeping with him simply because he’s attracted to them, whether they’re married or not. He’s going to end up paying big for his actions in this one. Yeah, that fire fight at the end, with the baby and Jennifer in danger, that’s bad, but Lucas has already set himself up for the fail with Jennifer.

Hoo-ee, Lily is a piece of work. All condescending, having to interact with these shitkickers in the outback of the U.S. She’s so pushy and overweening, and then she gets taken down a few pegs. Her husband has a similar reaction, and I loved Lucas’ response to David’s fears and angry denouncements.

It’s sad that this is the only recourse the Crows can see. It’s a circular argument about the Native Americans. Whites took so much from them, kept them penned in on reservations with nothing, tossed them scraps, left them with no dignity, and they have so little pride left. The traumas the families go through whether they’re self-imposed by parents who shouldn’t be reproducing or the system which doesn’t care.

Well, as opposed to my usual niggles at the writer, this time I’m irritated with some of the characters’ choices, such as Barbara’s argument. She knew damn well what Shadow was up to. Then there’s that mayor — he’ll swing whichever way he can look good, jerk. Then Jennifer gets a taste of what she’s dished out in the past when she finally gets to experience the invasive nature of the press when she’s injured.

Sandford tosses in some metaphysical scenes with the bones of dead Sioux crying out, descriptions of conditions on the res, and he doesn’t hold back on the negative side of how some Indians react to life. I’m torn between wondering if the bones bit was gratuitous or whether it was essential so we understand where the Crows are coming from…or even both.

What is with these cops who have to pee on a case to make it theirs. So arrogant they couldn’t be bothered to learn anything about the scene. I do love how Daniel turned it around. That jerk FBI guy who screwed it all up…although, it was an essential to get the best results for the good guys — and I don’t mean the cops.

The Story

The spark was rape, years ago. In the years since, the anger and frustration has grown over white intolerance, the power they hold over Native Americans.

No more.

Lucas’ contacts, his network won’t be much help on this. Too many Indians see this as payback for what they’ve had to suffer.

The Characters

Lucas Davenport is a lone detective working Intelligence, working networks of people, set on special cases for his intelligence and his popularity with the press. He’s independently wealthy from his game designing that he can afford that Porsche. Jennifer Carey with TV3, although she’s taken a partial leave of absence, is his girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, Sarah. Lucas keeps asking her to marry him; she keeps saying no. Elle Kruger, Sister Mary Joseph, is a woman Lucas knew as a kid and now she’s a psychologist.

Other cops include
Jim Wentz is with Homicide, Harry Meany is a shift commander, Harrison Sloan, Captain Quentin Daniel is the chief of police, Frank Lester is the deputy chief for investigations, Harmon Anderson is his assistant and a computer savant, Shearson, Del, and Jack Dionosopoulos is to be the first one in.

Lieutenant Lily Rothenburg is NYPD, sent out by the Andretti family to ensure justice; her husband, David, is a sociology professor at NYU and a bicyclist. Larry Hart is Sioux and with the Minneapolis Welfare office. Gary Kieffer is the very righteous idiot of an FBI man.

Larry Clay is the youngest son of a wealthy man, and the scum of the earth. He uses and abuses his power as a cop, then lawyer, state senate, police chief, then assistant U.S. attorney general, and finally FBI director. He and fellow street cop Carl Reed set the scene with their rape of a young Indian girl.

Ray Cuervo is a slumlord with a wife, Harriet, with a mouth like barbed wire. Bald Peterson is Harriet’s “associate”. John Lee Benton is a parole officer eager to send Indians back to prison. John Andretti heads up the welfare office in New York City. Judge Merrill Ball had taken a bribe in a case on illegal waste disposal. Elmer Linstad is an attorney general.

Native Americans include:
Aaron Sunders and Samuel Close are cousins, Mdewakanton Sioux born the same day. To their own people they are the Crows, named for their mothers’ father and they have been inseparable for the past 60 years after a harrowing winter they spent with their families. Shadow Love is related to them; he’s a killer, a weapon, a psychopath. Rose E. Love was his mother and the Crows his fathers. Barbara Gow is a lover the Crows had been with in the past and are with now. She’s also Shadow’s godmother.

Leo Clark is an old customer. Betty Sails is a receptionist shared by the people in Benton’s office. Tony Bluebird, a sun-dancer, was seen by three people. Lila Bluebird is his wife. Dick Yellow Hand is a teen addicted to crack. Billy Hood is quite enterprising; Roger was his brother-in-law. Leo Clark. Dick. John Liss is in surgery. His wife, Louise, caves when Lucas sets their son up.

Some of Lucas’ network includes:
William Dooley is a barber. Betty and Earl May run Dakota Hardware. Elwood Stone is a drug dealer.

The media
Louis Wink is the StarTribune‘s editor, Harold Probst the publisher, and Kelly Lawrence is the city editor. Shelly Breedlove is a reporter for Channel 8.

Corky Drake is a pimp who specializes in a particular age range of girls.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a black background with a fuchsia feathery slash in it revealing a terrified woman — eyes wide and mouth open in terror — with the title and author’s name in silver.

The title is more about what brings the Crows down: Shadow Prey.

five-stars

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