Book Review: John Sandford’s Stolen Prey

Posted September 8, 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 Stolen Prey

Stolen Prey


John Sandford

It is part of the Lucas Davenport #22 series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on April 30, 2013 and has 464 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, 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, 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

Twenty-second in the Lucas Davenport detective mystery series and revolving around a singleminded detective with a love of poetry and great clothes.

My Take

It starts with a simple robbery. Of Lucas outside an ATM machine. And Lucas is pissed! He’s so mad that he could have died in something so mundane, and it cracks me up. Really, what a letdown! And having that cast on really screws up his life, as that bass who gave him the finger confirmed, lol.

It makes a stark contrast against the case Lucas goes out on: the torture-murders of an entire family.

“‘If this works out, you’ll get the reward,’ Lucas said.

‘Really? What is it?’

‘I go around and tell people that Chuck Waites is alert.’

‘…And America needs more lerts.'”

Yep, I reckon that politician got it right. He’s selling his side of lies on TV. Fits right in with those horse-shit thieves.

I do adore Letty. She’s smart and resilient. I did love her reaction to Martínez’s claim on the stairs. It’ll be fun to see what she chooses to do. Pay attention to Kline’s reactions. You may need ’em one day! And make sure your bath tub is cast iron!! Bone has some good ideas too about how to split the caseload.

I so appreciate the humorous bits Sandford throws in, as it takes a bit of the edge off some of the utter horror and gruesomeness of Stolen Prey.

“I actually got addicted to [line dancing], for a while.’

‘Morris bit: ‘Really? I never would’ve thought you were that kind of guy.’

Lucas nodded. ‘Got so bad my shrink put me in a two-step program.'”

It’s sad that the American cops treat the Mexican ones as they do, then again, as events pan out, it was a good idea. I have to say I did not like Rivera. What. A. Jerk. The way he treats Ana is disgusting.

It’s a complicated scam and really easy once it’s set up.

The three Juans are crazy, and their gang has a very straightforward, unthinking way of doing business. I get that it is an efficient way to terrorize people, but all it does is make the cops mad. It won’t work in Minnesota, that’s for sure, even if this business technique works in Mexico.

Jesus, what is it with criminals who try to lay the blame off on everyone else. Suck it up, baby. You did the deed, you pay the price.

“…small businessmen had told him that government taxation and regulation had become so rapacious that cheating was often the only way they could survive.

Another step down to a third-world economy.”

I have got to start reading the Virgil Flowers series, especially after that comment Lucas makes about Virgil going out for a loaf of bread and finding an “illegal bread cartel smuggling in heroin-saturated wheat…” *still laughing*

Oh-oh. Considering the number of doctors who try to do their best work when they have to fix Lucas up (as soon as they find out Weather is his wife), you’d think this latest one would have been smarter or more careful. What an idiot.

The Story

Lucas Davenport has seen many terrible murder scenes. This is one of the worst. In the Minnesota town of Wayzata, an entire family has been killed — husband, wife, two kids, dogs. On the wall, in blood: “Were coming.” No apostrophe.

There’s something about the scene that tugs at Lucas’s cop instincts — it looks an awful lot like the kind of scorched-earth retribution he’s seen from Mexican drug gangs. But this is a seriously upscale town, the husband ran a modest software company, the wife dabbled in local politics. None of it seems to fit.

Until it does. And that’s when everybody starts coming to town: the DEA, the Mexican Federales, and some independent operators who are decidedly less welcome.

Where it all leads…will take Lucas into the darkest nightmare of his life.

The Characters

Detective Lucas Davenport handles sensitive cases or those that might attract a lot of media attention through the BCA. Dr. Weather Karkinnen is a plastic surgeon who works at Hennepin County Medical Center and Lucas’ wife. Letty is their teenaged daughter who’s worked part-time at a TV station for three years; Sam is their son; and, Gabrielle is almost a toddler now.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) comes…
…under the aegis of Rose Marie Roux, the commissioner of public safety. The agents who work for Lucas include Del Capslock, Jones, Dick Chang, Andi, and Shrake and Jenkins. Virgil Flowers is working on the Partridge Plastics thing and will move over onto horse shit. Sandy is Lucas’ talented researcher. Cheryl is Lucas’ secretary. The strait-laced Bob Shaffer is the team coordinator and a BCA supervisor who does not like Lucas. George is one of Bob’s and thinks it’s a cover-up for the bankers. Romeo is a lab tech.

ICE, a.k.a., Ingrid Caroline Eccols, is an independent contractor who can do anything with a computer. Jay Keisler is a defending attorney, and Don Pew is his associate and really good in court. Annie Wolf gives Lucas the low-down on the two of them. Dave Morgan is the prosecuting attorney.

Minneapolis PD
Martin Clark is the head of Homicide.

St. Paul PD
Detective Billy Andrews is with Narcotics/Vice and knows the guy Lucas is looking for: Daniel Castells. Detective Dan Walker is keeping an eye on Castells. Detective Roger Morris is Homicide; Larry is his partner. Del’s brother-in-law, Dominic, works the east side of St. Paul.

Northfield PD
Chuck Waites.

?? PD
Richie Jones is the sheriff. He’s got hisself a .50 cal.

Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles
Agent Tomas O’Brien wants to look at the Sunnie Software books.

The Mexican Federales are represented by…
Inspector David Rivera is a jerk. Sergeant First Class Ana Martínez is his put-upon assistant. Tomas Garza, Miguel, and another gentleman meet with Rivera in Minnesota. Comisario General Jorge Espinoza is David’s supervisor.

In Wayzata,
Dave Merriam and his wife are neighbors of Patrick and Candace Brooks. Jackson and Amelia are, were, the Brooks children. Sunnie Software was their software company. Bell is the vice-president of sales. Barbara Phillips is the office manager. Merit-Champlain is an accounting firm. Bob Farmer is the computer expert. Stan Brooks is Patrick’s brother.

Polaris National Bank
Bois Brule is an account at Polaris that was set up by Sandor Gutierrez. James T. Bone is president of the third-largest bank in Minneapolis and an old friend of Lucas’ (Easy Prey, 11, Hidden Prey, 15, and Buried Prey, 21). Vice-president Richard Pruess is missing. He used to work with Candace Brooks, an assistant VP. Kate is a bank lawyer. Martin Brown is an account manager. Ron Vaughn is a systems manager. Tiger Mann is a vice president in Vaughn’s department. Jon is a computer guy.

Hennepin National Bank
Ivan Turicek, a Lithuanian criminal who specialized in credit-card scams, and Kristina Sanderson, an OCD schizophrenic, work in the systems security area. Jacob Kline works the same department but on a different shift; he’s depressed and loves the idea of mental stimulation. Don is a supervisor. Bob McCollum is the president of Hennepin. Babs is his assistant. Dave Duncan is in HR.

Edie Albertis is busy roaming the countryside and converting cash to bullion. Martha White keeps showing up in the same cities. Mohammed Ibriz is a realtor who rented an office to Carl Schmitz.

Wee Blue Inn, a by-the-hour sort of motel, is owned by John Poe. Flores is the housecleaning guy who took a quick vacation. Bonnie St. Clair discovers a body while out walking her dog, Muffy. John Sappolini owns Zapp’s, a pizza joint. Ricardo Nuñez runs a business named International ReCap, Inc. Ferat Chakkour is working hard to pay for school at Metro State. John Greene is a cardiac surgeon and friend of Weather’s. Pat is the manager at Kristina’s apartment building. Robert Johnson was the truck driver; Betty Johnson is his girlfriend. Ignacio Jimenez is an illegal Mexican carpenter.

Los Criminales del Norte (LCN) is…
…a cross-border gang of nasty, NASTY thugs. Sebastian, a.k.a., Sebas or Big Voice, gives the orders to El Juan Uno, El Juan Dos, and El Juan Tres (he’s the religious one) who are all not-too-smart cousins named Juan. Javier. Cabeza de Madera suggested an undercover position for a bright woman.

Bueno Suerte was a low-level narco who raped a pretty young woman and passed her around. Chanos was a mid-level marijuana exporter.

Terrill Anderson is a thief with a huge imagination. Duane Bird and Bernice Water are thieves with long sheets. Callahan Pitt is a British artist who bought all the bronze. Ralph Richter is a Channel Three reporter.

The Cover and Title

The cover is fronted by a golden lake at night while the shore is the background with a huge one story house all lit up, its reflection brilliant in the water. Behind the house is the forest silhouette, stark against the bright blue of this moonlit night.

The title is the money, the Stolen Prey that too many people believe belongs to them.