Book Review: John Sandford’s Buried Prey

Posted August 22, 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 Buried Prey

Buried Prey


John Sandford

It is part of the Lucas Davenport #21 series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on May 1, 2012 and has 480 pages.

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Other books in this series include [books_series]

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, Storm 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, Twisted Prey, Holy Ghost, Neon Prey, Bloody Genius

Twenty-first in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series and revolving around a cop who does it his own way in getting the bad guy. The story takes place in Minneapolis and involves a cold case.

My Take

We all have regrets, and Lucas has a big one. It’s a place we’ve been ourselves, questioning our bosses in our heads, not wanting to make waves, worrying about the right move. It’s this case that helps push Lucas into learning to be a better cop. A case whose end provides extra weight to the dichotomy between what Lucas thinks is right and how the original investigation ends. And Del Capslock will show Lucas another side to policing, empathy, which is so different from the street cop side.

The story is broken into Then and Now, and we get an intense back story on Lucas’ early days, including why he likes Homicide. That time with Narcotics that left a bad taste in his mouth as opposed to Del’s experience. The reality with which Lucas sees himself, his ambition to get better or change careers. It also goes into how Lucas got into the gaming business.

That was clever. Yes, macabre as well, but I got a chuckle out of Lucas reminiscing about that summer with all the bands, the music, the concerts and then that reference to the girls being back for their summer reunion tour

People like that post office bureaucrat would drive me nuts, and I LOVE the laydown Lucas puts on him.

One thing I did like about Daniels was his interest in learning how other people think. I do like Letty. She runs more to Lucas’ attitude when it comes to revenge and protecting family. Weather is more concerned about law and order, with taking a softer approach, although this time around, she doesn’t care if the bad guy gets shot. As long as it’s not Lucas.

I liked Daniels’ comment about his golf handicap. “It’s his swing.”

Lucas is lucky in his friends and his wife when they take steps to protect him, for they’re not sure they can trust Lucas with his life. Loved that crack from the doctor at the end. He reckons if Weather Karkinnen is Lucas’ wife, he’d better do his best work.

Sandford’s insight into Scrape’s mind was fascinating, and so very, very sad. To know that you’re nuts and not be able to do anything about it. Jesus. Knowing that is almost enough to drive you nuts!

I don’t understand about Marcy. In Storm Prey, 20, she was married to a medium big shot at General Mills, and she had a son, James. Now she’s dating and thinking of running for state senate? What happened to her kid? Her marriage?

As for the case, it’s the little pieces that add up. It’s what I love about reading mysteries. How the clues come together. Heck, how they figure out how to find the clues! And Lucas’ character is a treat and a half. He has his flaws — and that sense of humor — along with those unexpected aspects of his character that we wouldn’t think a cop would embrace, at least not like Lucas does, LOL. It’s that funny side of Lucas, the cop humor, and the support he gets from his friends that help alleviate some of the horror of Buried Prey.

The Story

It was way back when. Back when Lucas was still a street cop, anxious to prove himself, to get that promotion to detective. He caved.

It started with two missing girls and a need to put all hands on deck, and Lucas is ordered into a shirt and tie to fill the ranks.

The Characters

Lucas Davenport, a rich former hockey player with a love for fine clothing and poetry, works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and is the most influential cop in the state what with his troubleshooting for the governor. He’s also respected by his fellow cops. The pregnant Dr. Weather Karkinnen is his wife and a plastic surgeon (we first met her in Winter Prey, 5). Letty is their adopted daughter (Storm Prey, 20).

“Still a little worried about the short sleeves.”

Jennifer Carey is an ex-girlfriend and the mother of Lucas’ oldest daughter. She works at Channel Three and got Letty a job there as an unofficial intern.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)
Sandy is Lucas’ very excellent researcher who has pulled up some info: Kelly Bell’s attempted abduction in 1991. Virgil *that fuckin’* Flowers had once dated Sandy; he’s tapped for his boating expertise. Del Capslock is taking a photography class. John Retrief is an imaging expert. Shrake and Jenkins play a very pivotal role in this. Norman Johnson and Delores Schmidt are crime scene techs. Gerald Taski is the lab director with ground-breaking DNA results.

John Simon is the BCA director with almost no control over Lucas’ unit. Judge Paulson used to date Marcy. Judge Carsonet would be tougher.

Anoka County PD
Detective Dave Carson talks about the DNA. Kelly Bell is married now to Todd Barker, and they live in Bloomington. She’s become a professional interviewee while her husband is overly fascinated with guns. Idiot. Nathan Dunn was the good Samaritan who picked Kelly up off the road.

Minneapolis PD
Captain Marcy Sherrill runs Homicide, and she’s thinking of running for the state senate. She has a boyfriend, Rick?? I thought she was married and had a kid? John Rimes will run her murder scene. John Kling is the police chaplain. Homicide Detectives include Buster Hill, Clark Richards, Les MacGride, and Clarence Hill. Bob Hillestad is a friend of Lucas’. Detective Hote is working the cold case full time. Deputy Chief Marilyn Barin runs Professional Standards and Internal Affairs. Cody Ryan and John Seat work IA. Seat had once investigated Officer Willard Packard.

St. Paul PD
Detective James Hayworth just got back from Quantico.

Woodbury PD
Detectives Dan Ball and Bill Garvey.

Lake Vermilion PD
Deputy Clark Childress is investigating the report that retired Detective Brian Hanson fell out of his fishing boat. His buddies are Tony Cole and Bill Kushner. Sedakis is Hanson’s daughter. Darrell is her brother, who looks just like Fell; Carol is his wife. Jim is Darrell’s attorney. Roger Hanson is a cousin. Mark and Debbie Jansen are Hanson’s neighbors at his lake cottage.

St. Louis Park PD
Lieutenant Carl Wright lets Lucas into Hanson’s house. The entry team leader is Johnston.

Betty Ludwig is a short-term hostage.

Red Lake Falls School
Superintendent Lawrence Olafson has been at Red Lake Falls for years. Steve Little and George Anderson were fellow teachers.

Bone is an old friend of Lucas’ whom we first met in Secret Prey, 9, and again in Easy Prey, 11. Fred Carter is still out there, working as a security guard at the Capitol. Ignace Ruffe is a moderately trustworthy reporter with the Star Tribune.

A tip comes in about a Robert Sherman. Erik Berg is a ticked-off neighbor. SWAT has barricaded Donald Brett (a hometown psycho self-medicating too often), his wife, Roxanne, and their kids inside their house. Xavier Cruz is the guy in charge.


Minneapolis PD
Captain Quentin Daniel was the head of Homicide back then and anxious to be chief of police. He didn’t care how he closed a case unlike Lucas who wanted the truly guilty caught. Detectives John Malone, Frank Lester, Brian Hanson, Cherry, and McGuire are all on the case. As is the newly minted Detective Harrison Sloan who’s married with two girls. Harmon Anderson is already on the police computers.

Fred Carter is Lucas’ unambitious partner. Phil Blessing is the head of uniforms. Del Capslock caught Billy Smith’s murder and needs help. Officers Morgan, Willis, and Sally are involved in small bit parts. Detective Park Brubaker is past history even in this. He was a very bad boy.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Howard helps out in Stacy. Officer Ted Hughes was part of the sewer search team. Chip and Russ are the sewer guys.

John Fell works at Letter Man, a silkscreening place in Stacy. Ron Packard is the manager. His daughter, Kate, thinks she knows Fell. Dave is a local city councilman.

Nancy and Mary Jones were kidnapped. George and Gloria Jones are their parents. He’s a Vietnam vet who belongs to an organization of veterans against the war, so he has some good contacts.

The hookers are Mary Ann Ang and Lucy Sandry who figures Dorcas “Sally” Ryan might know where to find Fell who is always telling jokes. Owned by Steve and Margery Gardner, Kenny’s is a bar where Fell hangs out. Kenny Katz is the manager. Katie Darin had some insight into student housing. Other residents include the Lees who are studying medicine and Bobby and Vicki Arens. Art and Alice Prose used to see him sliding under a fence to get to his cardboard cave. Dave Pirner is the lead singer in Soul Asylum. Karen Frazier, with Lutheran Social Services, is a social worker for the homeless. Mark Chakkour is Target’s homeless shelter liaison. Jack Lacey owns Tom’s Pizza. XTC is a gentleman’s club. Mayer and his roommate were the girls’ neighbors. Ronald Rice is a stabbing victim. Catherine Brown works at the Star Tribune. Millard is another witness with helpful, maybe, information.

DeeDee McAllister is a lawyer, married to Mark who has a nice gun collection, and she’s sleeping with Lucas. Jared Michael was a fellow hockey player.

Carlos O’Hearn is one of the asshole brothers that include Enzo and Javier; Mother O’Hearn is an excellent example of why parents need to be licensed. Justice Johnson is a wife beater. Gene is the idiot post office bureaucrat. That damned Randy Whitcomb shows up again! (Eyes of Prey, 3; Chosen Prey, 12; and, Wicked Prey, 19) Delia White has it in for her brother-in-law, El-Ron Parker, whom she thinks killed her sister. George Danner is a friend of Delia’s.

Terry Scrape is crazy and he knows it.

The Cover and Title

The cover is eerie and makes me want to pull a blanket over my head, around my body, or just slink off and find a warm bar with lots of people and lots of light. A deserted road with puddles forming a trail, road signs and trees obscured by the mist, your attention caught by the fuzzy glow of red light in this dark and desolate corner.

The title is what is found, Buried Prey, that should have been found years ago.