Book Review: John Sandford’s Night Prey

Posted September 13, 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 Night Prey

Night Prey


John Sandford

It is part of the Lucas Davenport #6 series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by Berkley on March 1, 1995 and has 448 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

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, 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, The Fool's Run, Deep Freeze, The Empress File

Sixth in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series set in Minneapolis and revolving around the reinstated Detective Davenport. It’s been two years since Lucas was forced to quit.

My Take

Gotta give Sandford credit for this twist: a detective who’s fired, goes off to build his successful gaming company, and comes back to work. Most people would think (including me) that Davenport would be happy enough creating his games and being a millionaire, but Sandford provides a credible reason — and one that I suspect would apply to most of us — for Lucas coming back to work as a cop.

Another nice switch is the cooperation that exists in this between law enforcement. These guys actually seem to like each other, and they help each other out. Okay, not the FBI guys. They’re their own mess.

Well, sounds like you can’t be too paranoid about your keys. For Sara Jensen, the nightmare began when one of the movers took an impression of her key and passed it on to a cat burglar. The nightmare continued for her when the stalking cat burglar saw her collect her spare key from a magnetic case under her car bumper. Don’t use the usual. Don’t combine keys. Heck, go with the combination locks instead! This story will also make a girl paranoid about closing those drapes, or never walking around naked?

Koop is another example of why parents need to be licensed. It’s rather depressing how much the cops have to pay heed to the media. How much easier would a cop’s life be if they could simply concentrate on solving the crime and not have to pander to television and newspapers?

Lucas is a complex guy in some respects. Sandford keeps me quietly unsettled with Lucas’ indecision about settling down. We went through this thought process with Jennifer, and now it’s about Weather. Lucas wants to settle down, but worries that he’ll miss the variety, the chase. Yet each time he’s confronted with the possibility, Weather rears up and entices him right back. He wants her, and only her. And I love that Lucas wants to know more about how Weather’s job works.

Oh man, I do love how Sandford keeps it down home with Beneteau’s reaction to Ellie Mae being in the wrong bed.

Sandford does make his psychopaths real, and I will never understand them.

Jesus, that ending. In some ways, it’s a great out with very short-term suffering. It does make me feel grateful for dedicated cops. They hustled in this story. They tracked down every possibility, working it 24/7.

The Story

It’s a race against time for Meagan Connell. She’s the one who put it together. That there’s a serial killer on the loose, and she wants to solve it before she dies.

The Characters

Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport is a political appointee — he’s just too useful in front of the media, and he has a sixth sense in solving crime. Dr. Weather Harkinnen, a surgeon, is now living with Lucas. Sister Mary Joseph, a friend from his childhood, is a psychologist who also works trial runs of Lucas’ games.

Minneapolis PD
Sloan is with Intelligence. Del Capslock is one of Lucas’ best friends and an undercover operative. Rose Marie Roux is the police chief who took Daniel’s place. She’s more interested in gaining a U.S. senate seat and every case revolves around making her look good. She does look good: a problem solver, a prosecutor, and a liberal state senator with a good rep on race relations. Kupicek; Frank Lester is head of Criminal Investigation Division; Swanson is his deputy; Curt Myer is the new head of Intelligence; Anderson is the department’s computer specialist (he keeps the daily book); Bob Greave is a klutzy misfit who used to be Officer Friendly — the wife didn’t approve; Carrigan is notorious for his “small, fine feet”; Lonnie Shantz is Roux’s press aide; O’Brien; Harvey is running the surveillance van; and, Detective Kershaw is one of the guys who arrests Koop.

St. Paul PD
Sergeant Annalise Jones doesn’t realize how important a knowledgeable deaf interpreter is. Carl Erdrich is a patrolman.

Tom Davis — I think he’s a prison guard — knows D. Wayne Price, a convict, has some information.

Meagan Connell is state, BCA with membership in the state American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — a big supporter of got-a-chip-on-her-shoulder that Paul Bunyan would have trouble carrying.

D.T. Helstrom (from Eyes of Prey, 3) is a sheriff’s deputy. Lincoln County Sheriff Sheldon Carr (from Winter Prey, 5) makes a brief appearance and recommendation for Lucas to George Beneteau in Carren County. Ellie Rae runs the diner in Beneteau’s town.

Joan Smits caught Meagan’s attention. Jim Flory is in the wrong place; Jasper is a janitor at their building. Paul Warren is deaf and frustrated with the incompetent translator. Sara Jensen runs her own mutual fund and works at Raider-Garrote, a stock brokerage. Evan Hart is an attorney in the bond department. Harriet Wannemaker, Marcy Lane, and Eloise Miller are victims. Charmagne Carter is a locked-door mystery. Emily Carter is her daughter. Bob Wood was a neighbor and friend. Dex is a witness. Lawrence Wright is a guy Dex ain’t supposed to be hanging near. John Posey is another victim of the moving guy.

Jan Reed is a reporter with TV3 to whom Lucas is attracted. Ned owns the Startled Crane bookshop and is friends with Lucas. Too bad Connell can’t get into the schmooze. Earl Stupella is a bartender, Carl‘s brother. Mae Heinz has some information.

Koop is a cat burglar-killer who likes to prey on shy, dispirited women. Junky Doog is a knife man. John Carlson is a drug dealer. Randy Leski is a mean little guy. Specializes in scam repairs. The Joyce brothers, John and George, are slum landlords. Ray Cherry works for them. Just Plain Schulz is a fence.

The Seeds
The Bad Seeds is more like it; a motorcycle gang interested in drugs, prostitutes, and weapons. Very bad boys. Brothers Joe and Bob Hillerod belong to them. Aaron Capella is their lawyer.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a faintly distressed white background with a blocky font for the author’s name and title. It’s that swaying key just above the mold of a key with the red fingerprint that ties the cover into the storyline.

I’m not sure what inspired the title. The bad guy does seem to operate at night a lot, so perhaps Night Prey makes sense.