Summary: Average Sandford
Comment: John Sandford is a quality writer who produces books that are solid if unspectacular reads. I have read all of his Lucas Davenport series and they have been generally excellent.
With Invisible Prey, I felt that the author mailed the book in, so to speak. It was readable and not boring, but it did not enhance the writers reputation at all. It was the kind of novel that you will read and once it is finished, you won't touch again.
Having a pair of characters called Widdler makes one think that the author is not writing a serious novel rather playing for laughs. The main character Lucas Davenport is a person who could be used so well, he has the killer in him and I wonder if the author is toying with the idea of making Davenport a darker character than he is.
Summary: Unbelievable Prey
Comment: I have been a fan of Lucas Davenport for years and i have read each and every one of the novels in the series. I fell in love with Clara Rinkley and was going to quit out of sheer disappointment when Sandford killed her, but then more books came out and I just couldn't pass. Which turned out to be a good decision because Broken Prey was so deliciously good ("But there are no Beatles").
But now he comes up with this; a contrived and unbelievable plot. A couple who kill to cover up, and the more people they kill, the closer they move toward getting caught.
I could not stop feeling that the only reason they were killing was not to cover up, but so that there would be a plot for the novel.
Quitting the Prey series cold turkey after so many years is going to be difficult. What I am doing is reading other police novels. I recommend Joseph Wambaugh's police thrillers. The best one is, IMHO, "Delta Star" which by the way has a rare, perfect five-stars-only rating on Amazon.
Comment: Too boring to finish. A first for me for one of the Prey books. Hope the next one is better.
Summary: Creepy couple
Comment: A demented married couple is going around the upper midwest in order to murder old people for their antiques. This twist on what constitutes the "usual" serial killer in mystery novels, made this book stand out, for more reasons than just the excellent writing.
Davenport has quickly become one of my favorite American fictional police officers.
Summary: Very very good
Comment: I've loved John Sandford's Prey series ever since the first book of the series, "Rules of Prey" just blew me away with its very unusual ending. Sandford has been, since then, one of the most reliable detective novelists in the genre, with a marvelous cast of supporting characters and a particularly nasty series of villains for Lucas Davenport--the main character--to hunt down. This latest book shows that Sandford hasn't lost his creative touch.
There's never any real confusion about who the killer is, here, though the author does make a feeble attempt to conceal their identities by referring to them as "Big" and "Little" in the opening sequence. The Widdlers are antiques dealers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and a good portion of their success stems from the fact that they're frauds and criminals. As the book opens, they break into a house, murder the elderly occupants, and then steal some antiques. When the bodies are discovered, Lucas Davenport is brought in to investigate.
This is an especially good book from Sandford. Several of the supporting characters are very well-done, and interesting. Most amusing is a supporting cop named Virgil Flowers, who's constantly referred to in the book as "that f---ing flowers". There's also a brief cameo with Kidd, the main character from Sandford's other series.
I enjoyed this book a great deal, and the ending again was very satisfying. Highly recommended.