Lucas Davenport is an interesting cop. He’s labeled by some as a “killer cop”, since he’s killed five people. This is his second entry into the “Prey” series. I got into the series by reading book 21, Buried Prey, which I happened to download as an eBook from my library. I guess the cover caught my eye, since I had no idea it was a series? I liked the characters (Lucas, the police force, the head honchos, and the Twin Cities) so much, that I decided to start from the beginning with book 1, Rules of Prey. I wish I could review that one (maddog killer – really messed up), but unfortunately I read it in December.
John Sandford is already up to book 24, Field of Prey, which came out in 2013. I’m guessing he’s due for a new one any day now. I can see how this series has the potential to get redundant after so many books. However, Lucas isn’t just a regular cop. He also designs elaborate video games, which he gets together and tries out with his nun friend and some other motley folks. Some of his games are war games, others are fantasy role play games. He’s independently wealthy from the sales of the games, so he drives a Porsche. Lucas is one of those cops who isn’t always on the right side of the law, but he justifies his actions. He’s not dirty, but also not entirely clean either. He’s also an unabashed ladies man. By his own admission, he loves women. Although he has a daughter with his on-again off-again girlfriend, he starts having sex with the married female cop assigned as his partner. He’s kind of a mess.
Shadow Prey gets its name from a Native American named Shadow Love. He’s part of a family of mystics / healers / activists. His two fathers (cousins who aren’t sure which one is the biological father) plan and oversee a killing spree of people who’ve done harm to the Native Americans. Of course this was 1990, so “Native American” isn’t used. They’re all just “Indians”. I have a hard time typing that, so I’ll stick with Native Americans. A slumlord, a drug dealer, and another bad guy (who I can’t remember) are killed. Lucas and company connect the dots that they’re related, but don’t know that they were carried out by different killers. Shadow Love’s dads (the Crows) don’t trust him to pull off any of the killings because he wouldn’t feel anything. He’s a bit of a psychopath. The Crows want each murder to mean something in order for it to further their cause. Shadow Love kills a few people anyway, due to the aforementioned psychopathy. The police eventually piece together the clues and get most of the bad guys, but not before Shadow Love breaks into Lucas’ house and tries to kill him. Obviously Lucas survives, but his daughter gets hurt, and his girlfriend gets pissed off.
Besides the liberal usage of “Indians”, and occasional public telephone calls (are there even any booths left standing?) it didn’t feel like I was reading a book that was written 25 years ago. The motivation behind the crimes seemed believable, and is probably still relatable to Native Americans today. I’m sure they’re still underrepresented and exploited, just like in 1990. The police work used to follow the clues and find the bad guys probably would’ve involved more tablets and internet searches in place of libraries, but the flipping of bad guys to get information remains the same. I read this book in 2 days, and although it helped that I was still on holiday break from work, I just couldn’t put it down. Everyone kept me engaged, and I couldn’t wait to get to the next book. I’ve also finished the third book (review to come), and I still recommend the series if you like crime/cop dramas with some interesting personal details mixed in.