Field of Prey (Lucas Davenport) by John Sandford

KK Conley Review

JS Field of Prey

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This is the single Prey book where at the climax I said, “Huh?” John Sandford writes excellent thrillers, but this is one where I did not see what was coming, and, when revealed, made sense. All I could think was “Why didn’t I see that before?”

A teenager boy plans to lose his virginity in the back seat of a van parked on an old abandoned farm. Everything goes as planned, in fact, goes three times as planned. Then the girl needs to pee, mentions a bad smell to the boy, but it’s not enough to deter a fourth round. Then the boy looks for the source of the overwhelming stench. He follows it to a cistern and the next day calls a friend’s older brother who is a county deputy.

They find fifteen bodies in various stages of decomposition in the cistern, and Lucas Davenport is called in.

This is a well written and superb suspense novel told both from Davanport’s and the criminal’s point of view. This is the book that made me love the Prey series again, and it is Sandford’s best since Certain Prey.

Booklist Online Review

A couple of high-school lovers conclude an evening of passion in rural Minnesota by noticing a really bad smell. They inform the local cops, who find an underground cistern filled with God knows how many bodies and body parts. It’s obviously not a job for local cops, so Lucas Davenport and his Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are called in. There are 15 skulls and counting when Lucas arrives. The early forensic examinations reveal the killings have been going on for years. How did someone not notice? Davenport’s usual partners are engaged in other investigations, so he teams up with Catrin Mattsson, a detective with the county sheriff’s office. They seem a mismatched pair at first. She resents his wealth, and he sees her as a bit of a confrontational smart-ass. They wade through a couple of false leads, one supplied by an eight-year-old beauty pageanteer whose parents view the ensuing publicity as a “big break.” There are a couple other investigatory sidebars, but when the killer decides Mattsson should be his next victim, the case escalates quickly. Sandford writes best-sellers more often than most of us take vacations. This is as engaging and thrilling as any of them, even with a subplot that feels unnecessary. But that’s like whining about Willie Mays striking out once while hitting four home runs in a game. As always, Sandford and Lucas are superb.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: You could say “same old, same old,” but in Sandford’s case, you’d mean another top-notch thriller destined for best-seller lists. That’s the good kind of “same old, same old.”

— Wes Lukowsky

© Booklist Online

Amazon Description

#1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford continues his phenomenal Prey series—and “for those who think they know everything they need to know about Lucas Davenport, [Field of Prey] proves them wrong…” (Huffington Post)

On the night of the fifth of July, in Red Wing, Minnesota, a boy smelled death in a cornfield off an abandoned farm. When the county deputy took a look, he found a body stuffed in a cistern. Then another. And another. By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, it was fifteen and counting, the victims killed over just as many summers, regular as clockwork.

How could this happen in a town so small without anyone noticing? And with the latest victim only two weeks dead, Davenport knows the killer is still at work, still close by. Most likely someone the folks of Red Wing see every day. Won’t they be surprised.

4.5 stars out of 5, 4,000+ reviews


4.2 stars out of 11,000 ratings

John Sandford’s Description

The night after the fourth of July, Layton Carlson Jr., of Red Wing, Minnesota, finally got lucky. And unlucky.
He’d picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, an abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields: nice, private, and quiet. The only problem was… something smelled bad —like, really bad. He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when the cop took a look, he found a body stuffed down a cistern. And then another, and another.
By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies and counting. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when Lucas began to investigate, he made some disturbing discoveries of his own. The victims had been killed over a great many years, one every summer, regular as clockwork. How could this have happened without anybody noticing?
Because one thing was for sure: the killer had to live close by. He was probably even someone they saw every day….