Chosen Prey by John Sandford

kathydavie's review

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Twelfth in the Lucas Davenport thriller series and revolving around an unorthodox cop in Minneapolis. It's been a year since Easy Prey, 11.

My Take
What I like about this series is that it's standard mystery/thriller reading, but Sandford's characters come out so real. That encounter between Lucas and Jeff Baxter was great. They could be talking about golf or tennis, but they're batting around ideas for a deal for a scumbag that Baxter is representing. There are the political issues when Rose Marie warns Lucas they'll probably lose their jobs with the new mayor coming in; she doesn't think any of the potential appointees would keep him. The media issues as we read how the police are manipulating the press. The cops and how they interact, and Lucas and Weather.

Oh, yeah, baby…Lucas and Weather. I gotta say, I can understand Weather having insecurity issues about the women in Lucas' life, but she's the one who left. I dunno, though. I do like Lucas. I like that it's important to him to get the right bad guy. I like that he develops role-playing games. But the boy needs to learn how to make a proposal, lol. This sure ain't what I'd be mooning about or sighing over as I remembered that "magic" moment years later, *more laughter*. It only gets better when you read how Whitcomb decorates his house. Oh. My. God.

Poor Ellen. She's had a very disappointing love life, and meeting James Qatar is simply another disappointment. Until she decides to put herself first. Women do need to be more open to saying what they want in bed, although Ellen takes it too far, to her regret.

Now, James is like too many men. Thinking they're studs and that if they could just meet the right woman, sigh. He will definitely give you a few laughs. I do wish that he could hear the laughter — I'd love to see the look on his face. There's also his obsession with how good he looks, and then Ellen provides her viewpoint on how beauteous James is, lol. Then it gets even better when Kidd does his assessment of the quality of the artist *see me grinning like a mad fool*.

Seriously though, Qatar is a piece of work. I couldn't believe that anyone can be that delusional. Does make me feel better about myself, lol! Some of his self-pitying moments…I wanted to smack him upside the head. With a crowbar. He really believes he's so smart, so talented, so handsome, so put-upon poor baby, then Sandford lets everyone else get their chance to dig away at him and show him up. For all the "whining" he does about his mother's sexual history, there are just a few too many off words that make me doubt most of what he says. Well, and the fact that he is so delusional at the best of times.

LOL, good advice from Del:
"'It just occurred to me that there've only been two women on the newscast,' Marcy said. "And you've slept with both of them, Lucas. Was Carey better than me, or was I better?'Del looked at Lucas and said, 'Run.'"

More good advice for the budding serial killer. There's also good advice victims never take: call the cops as soon as you suspect something. Never hang on to it to think or thinking you should mention it to the "bad guy" and get his take on it. I mean, duh…haven't they been doing any reading or watching any movies??

And then there are the people who should not be allowed outside the house until they've taken an IQ test, oh brother. And the mothers who should get their kids some HELP!

Wow. Kidd's analysis of the photo-porn was impressive as he pointed out all the obvious (once he made me aware of the) markers that will provide a ton more clues. It's simply a matter of applying that artist's eye as opposed to the pervy one.

I gotta say, I can't believe the cops didn't think about protecting Ellen.

Omigod, I thought as Lucas did, and then Weather finishes out her thought. I'm definitely with her. It's a righteous ending. It's also the saddest ending, and I cried.

Chosen Prey is a rather shocking mix of horrific and hilarious. What Qatar does, how he thinks will make you wonder what's wrong with our world that someone like him can go undetected for so long, and then more real life inserts itself with that snark that helps cops cope with what they see. And yes, I'm prejudiced. I enjoy that snark, lol.

The Story
The grave was too shallow and those autumn rains reveal her to a hunter. It's just the start of what they'll find. But not before he kills again.

The Characters
Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport is a cop who gets the job done all while keeping the press happy. He's friends with Julie Aronson's parents, Dolly and her husband. Weather Karkinnen is a surgeon who was once engaged to Lucas until events in Sudden Prey, 8, a couple years ago. Catrin (the "Photo Queen") is an old college girlfriend whose marriage broke up; she and Lucas are friends. Still.

Minneapolis PD
Lucas has formed his Strategic Studies and Planning Group, and it includes Del Capslock, an undercover cop (Cheryl is his wife); Lane; and, Tom Black, Marcy's former partner will join them temporarily. Homicide includes Marcy Sherrill (Weather calls her "Titsy"; Marcy is desperate to get back to work even though she's still recovering from injuries in Easy Prey). Detective Swanson prefers the nightshift. Other cops helping are McGrady, Gibson, and Barnes. Detective Sloan is one of Lucas' best friends. Harmon Anderson is their computer geek. Greg Webster and Sandy MacMillan are crime-scene specialists. Craig Bowden and Marc White are assigned to follow Qatar. Carolyn Rie is a detective with sex crimes. Deputy Chief of Investigations Frank Lester supervises all investigative units. Rose Marie Roux is the chief of police. Randall Towson is the county attorney; Donald Dunn is his chief deputy; and, Richard Kirk is head of the criminal division. Larsen is an assistant county attorney. Harry Page is at the Ramsey Public Defender's Office. Rob Lansing is the officious little prick more interested in status games. J.B. Glass is another defense attorney.

St. Paul PD
John Davis is a patrol sergeant, and Lieutenant Allport.

Goodhue County PD
Carl Boone is the medical examiner.

South Dakota County PD
Don Hammond is its chief deputy. Rick and Dave are part of his team.

Ramsay County PD
Flanagan is an investigator who dealt with the bridge death.

Dunn County PD in Wisconsin
Sheriff Deputy Terry Marshall is hot on the case of his missing niece, Laura Winton.

Mallard is an FBI agent Lucas knows who is based in Washington D.C. Baily is the agent-in-charge in Minneapolis.
The Media
Channel 3's Jennifer Carey is the mother of Lucas' only child, Sarah, who lives with Carey and her husband.

St. Patrick's University
James Qatar is an art history professor, writer, and killer with an ego bigger than a Boeing jet. Helen Qatar is his mother and the director for the Wells Museum at the college. For such a smart woman, she's pretty stupid. Denise Thompson is her very observant secretary. Burns Goodwin is the college president. Charlotte Neumann is the art department's chairperson, an ordained Episcopalian priest, and a writer. Elene is the inept department secretary.

Kidd is an artist doing really well who lends a hand (to the cops) and a good bit more (to Marcy). Larry Lake is an engineering consultant with ground-penetrating radar. Megan Earle is a neighbor of Whitcomb's. George is one of the people at Christmas Ink, and he doesn't want to say anything, see anything.

The film warehouse is…
…where videos are shot; Morris likes to photograph little girls having sex. Donald Henrey has a big camera while Anthony Carr maintains his website. Sylvia Berne is some of the talent. Jeff Baxter is a lawyer.

Ellen Barstad is a fabric artist and a teacher with her own quilting business. Emily Patton recognized one victim. Beverly Wood is one of the women who got a nude drawing of herself. Linda Kyle is an art student who disappeared. Nancy Vanderpost disappeared, a performance artist. Jim Wise is one of the partners in Wise-Hammersmith American Loft furniture who needed some ads. Brenda is from Lino Lakes. Ellice Hampton is from Clear Lake, Iowa, and she did advertising layouts.

Tom Lang is a possible suspect in the serial killings. Harold Brown hired Langhorn to find Lynette Brown's body, although he is a high-priority suspect in her disappearance. Into egg cartons. Randy Whitcomb is a jerk of a pimp we first met in Eyes of Prey, 3, and has been Qatar's fence and drug dealer. Suzanne Brister is his latest. Lo Andrews is the guy he parties with later. Now, DDT, a.k.a., Dangerous Darrel Thomas (should'a been "Terrible Darrell Thompson", those journalists…*eye roll*), is another kinda pimp entirely. And a professional house sitter, lol. Charmin' are Melissa are some of his, um, ladies.

Part of Lucas' network
Susan Kelly is a dancer; Lori is her assistant. Ben Lincoln works at Ben's Darts & Cues. Larry Hammet is at Trax Freight. Lannie Harrison is at Tulip's Hose Couplings and Fittings. Jan Murphy works at a sweatshop. Sandy Hue is at The Diamond Collective. Svege Tanner is at Strength and Beauty and finks on that jerk, Alex Truant. Coin is in the hospital and sober for the first time in decades. Elliot runs a metal-fabrication shop. Half-Moon Towing's owner is declaring bankruptcy. Gerry Haack was a lawn care guy who had some, um, problems. Now he's working at the Cobra Lounge, where it seems he still has some problems. Larry Lapp hangs at the Cobra; his wife, Marcella, would be really ticked off. Bob Brown deals in estate jewelry. Frank Stans is a bartender at the Bolo Lounge.

The Cover and Title
The cover is a blur of browns with an image of a woman's face. She's lying down, and if her face is anything to go by, she's screaming as a man's hands hold her in place. The author's name and the title are an embossed gold.

The title is all about this killer's Chosen Prey.

r_lind's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


thecurseofchris's review

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Just about the only good thing about this Prey book was that the audiobook had an interview with the author at the end of it. Otherwise, it was a slog to get through, especially given some of the gross subject matter. The closer this series gets to some of the titles I am already familiar with, the more anxious I am about arriving there.

kiminindy's review against another edition

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these are always good! i am working my way through the series

posies23's review against another edition

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Another strong entry in the long-running series. This one requires a stronger stomach than most of the previous ones, but it also contains some of Sandford's strongest writing.

duparker's review

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Other than the bit overdone sexual perversion the book was well done and followed the formula of the past successes with some changes (bit of the office politics etc). The story was enjoyable and it is fun to see Lucas evolve and change. The talk of the potential pregnancy makes me wonder about the child I believe had at the onset of the series.

arthur_pendrgn's review

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 I'm glad Weather and Lucas are back together finally. Beauty taming the Beast is a cliche as old as time, but Lucas does indeed settle down under her influence*, which makes him more palatable in the later books (Virgil Flowers taking up the mantle of wild playboy with less violence).

The body count is pretty low in this book once the crime has been discovered. I prefer that to what happened in Easy Prey.

Ellen was underutilized as was Mrs. Qatar. Why didn't Lucas investigate the son she had mentioned?

*Although perhaps he settles down and that's why they marry. Perhaps the events of Sudden Prey taught him that he makes mistakes, that actions have consequences that directly affect him, that hellbent-for-leather isn't always the best choice. His moral indecisiveness/dilemma at the end is new for him. Previously he would have made a decision according to his own idea of "justice;" now he was concerned about legal justice as well. Even the question of what to do with the computer or whether they had arrested Qatar too early shows a burgeoning awareness of considerations beyond his typical alpha male (or sociopathic) narrow-mindedness. 

ajg022's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


lcoverosey's review against another edition

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Predictable ending. However it had to happen to such a vile killer.

stevem0214's review against another edition

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Great the second (or maybe the third) time around. This bad guys is most of the bad guys in the series. This one is the artist who is killing women. I like the way that you know who the bad guy is in most of Sandford's novels, but you have to go along for the ride to see when Lucas and company is going to figure it out.