Book Review: John Sandford’s Storm Prey

Posted July 28, 2015 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 Storm Prey

Storm Prey


John Sandford

It is part of the Lucas Davenport #20 series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on May 18, 2010 and has 408 pages.

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Other books in this series include Rough Country

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Rules of Prey, Shadow 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, 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, The Fool's Run, Deep Freeze, The Empress File

Twentieth in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series and revolving around an honest detective in Minneapolis who is willing to take shortcuts.

My Take

Another complicated and unusual mystery for Lucas. It’s not an easy case for him or the rest of the cops. Suspects run, get killed, kill. It’s turning Lucas and his people into a joke with the other cops, especially when Lucas and company keeps getting beat up.

It’s not easy at the hospital for Weather either. All those cops hanging around as her bodyguards. Asking questions about French accents. It’s enough to push her into investigating.

I get that the surgery was delicate what with all the doctors and how they had to keep stopping and starting over a number of days, but Sandford didn’t make me feel the tension in it. Not like I felt for the woman with the grenade between her thighs!

Don’t get me wrong. Sandford still writes a fascinating mystery, one with few clues that he roots out, uncovers, and builds on until he learns whodunnit.

Thank god Weather is a cop’s wife when that assassin comes after her on the freeway. Lol, I do love how she takes things into her own hands. And he’s so pissed that she’d defend herself, the lack of respect(?), ROFLMAO. What is it with bad guys that it’s okay for them to gun people down, but when someone shoots back…it’s all wrong?

Sandford writes about a serious topic, murder, and yet he infuses it with humor. Cop humor, family humor.

“I’ll put you in for something. A medal, or something. Or we could get the guys to chip in, buy you one of those family packs of Cheetos.”

Poor Shrake, he’s learning just how dangerous it is to be around Letty.

“‘Don’t bother us,’ Letty said. ‘If he goes out, I’ve got to take my bra off.'”

It’s stupid enough to pull a robbery, but then they keep trying to clean up after themselves. It sure didn’t help that they teamed up with a drug addict. It’s a fatal combination. Then they pull in an outsider, which only makes it worse when Cappy teams up with Barakat. Talk about a match made in heaven! Criminal heaven.

“‘Last time I saw him, he, well, he looked like that drawing.’

Shrake said, ‘If you weren’t short, fat, and male, I’d kiss you on the lips.’

‘Hey, that’s okay,’ Melicek said. ‘I can live without it.'”

And the crooks just keep stonewalling as more and more people die.

Oh, yeah. Lucas is whipped!

“‘As for me, I’m going to get pregnant again,’ Weather said.

‘You got the daddy picked out?’


Well. Okay, then.'”

The Story

It’s heartbreaking for the parents and life-critical for the babies. The way their heads are joined will lead to their deaths if they can’t be separated. One of the babies has a congenital heart defect which could complicate the operation to save them.

Dr. Maret has done two of these surgeries before, and he invited Weather to participate due to her successful reconstruction of a young boy’s thumb. It’s a complicated operation for both doctor and patient, and it doesn’t help when robbers clean out the pharmacy.

Nor does it help that Weather may be an eyewitness.

The Characters

The battered yet hawk-handsome Lucas Davenport is the governor’s troubleshooter, a state police investigator, a man who loves clothes, poetry, fighting, and his family. Dr. Weather Karkinnen is a plastic surgeon who does aesthetic, reconstructive, and microsurgery at Hennepin General. Sam is their son. Letty is their officially adopted fifteen-year-old daughter.

The Department of Public Safety is…
…the governor’s pet project used to keep him and the Democrats in Minnesota looking good. Rose Marie Roux is the head of the department while Lucas is the agent in charge. The agents who work under Lucas include Shrake and Jenkins, a double act; Virgil Flowers will move in to Lucas and Weather’s place to guard her; and, Del Capslock.

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is…
…where Lucas has his office. Frank Harris doesn’t like Lucas; he and Lannie Tote are BCA’s gang guys. Dan Martin knows most of the Seed guys. Sandy is a part-time researcher, a really good one.

Minneapolis PD
Deputy Chief Marcy Sherrill is heading up the drugs robbery; she’s married to a medium big shot at General Mills. James is her son. Larouse is a cop supervisor and an old friend of Lucas’. Lodmell is in the lab. Detectives Phil Dickens, Franklin, Marilyn Crowe, Doug Jansen, and Stone are all working the case. Lee Hall is the senior guy on the final day.

St. Paul SWAT
John Nelson is the team commander. Billy Harris is part of the team.

Mendota Heights PD
Mark Grace is the chief.

Washburn PD
Bill Stephaniak is the sheriff.

Hastings PD
Nancy Knott is with forensics. Lonny Johnson processed the Haines-Chapman murder scene.

Bakersfield, California PD
Detective J.J. Ball works Intel with Al James.

Minnesota Medical Research Center

The surgical team consists of…
…all kinds of doctors and some twenty nurses and surgical assistants. Dr. Gabriel Maret is a French doctor (and the team leader) who has socialized over the winter with Lucas and Weather. He and Lucas can spend hours talking about clothes. Regan is a radiologist; Rick Hanson is the orthopedic surgeon with the custom electric saws; John Dansk, Sandy Groetch, and Mark Lang are the neurosurgeons; Dr. Yamaguchi is an anesthesiologist; Dr. Alan Seitz and Geoff Perkins are the cardiologists; Tremaine Cooper is another plastic surgeon; and, Kristy is the nurse to whom Weather gives the note.

The patients are…
…Siamese twins, Ellen and Sara Raynes, joined head to head. Their father, Larry, works in a heating and air-conditioning business owned by his father. Their mother, Lucy, works at the post office.

The pharmacy victims are…
Dorothy Baker was the nurse doing inventory in the pharmacy, and Don Peterson.

Other employees in the hospital include…
Dr. Alain Barakat, a spoiled rich kid with an addiction, is observing; he works the ER. Thomas Carlson is the hospital administrator. Rob Jansen is a supervisor in Sanitation. Marlene Bach is the head of surgery. Possible suspects include Halary, who is a weasel and an otolaryngologist; Martin; and, Albert Loewe. Adnan Shaheen is also a doctor, and Barakat’s babysitter. Shaheen did all the studying to be a doctor for the two of them.

The gang
Lyle and Joe Mack (he’s just dumb) are brothers who own Cherries Bar. Their father is Ike Mack, a Seed member in the sixties. Mikey Haines is big and dumb, the guy who got carried away. Charles “Shooter” Chapman is a talker from California. Harriet B. “Honey Bee” Brown is Lyle’s girlfriend but not averse to slipping it to Joe; she also tends bar.

Anthony Melicek and Ron Howard patronize Cherries, both are former Seed. Donna Howard is Ron’s wife. Melanie is the Howards’ probation officer. Lincoln. Dan Lenert is with Mid-State Vending and Games. Ansel Clark pulled a five-year sentence for a robbery. Jon Orff is an assistant warden in Stillwater. Phil Lighter drives for a limo service and is a childhood friend of Joe Mack’s. Alice “Butch” is his woman.

Caprice “Cappy” Marlon Garner is a sociopath in love with his BMW; he “bought” it when he held a gun on its original owner. Not to worry about the original owner, he died very, very soon after. His childhood is another reason why parents should be licensed.

“He’d killed them without a flicker of a doubt, without a shred of pity, and enjoyed the nightly reruns…”

He’s 20 years old.

Dick Morris owned the Yamaha that got stolen. The Bad Seed is a Wisconsin motorcycle club; in Minnesota they operate out of Cherries. Jim Locke is a retired Minneapolis detective. Arnold Shoemaker is the gassy chicken farmer. Jill MacBride was going to pick up her daughter, Stacy, from school. Marti Stasic is the concerned teacher. Star, Michellay, and Jamilayah are ladies Cappy and Barakat run into at the bar. Don Johnston is Cappy’s supervisor at UPS. Roger Denton works with Cappy. Ann Wilson owns the house where Cappy rents a room. Ruffe Ignace is a cop reporter with the Star-Tribune who’s worked with Lucas before.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep blue-green, a lonely road under a hazy moon with a solitary car parked by the side of that road. Trees and bushes line the sides with powerlines snaking alongside.

The title is that ending, what better to do with Storm Prey than have one last drink? “What better to do on a day like this?”