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Rules Of Prey
John Sandford
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Rules Of Prey (Lucas Davenport #1)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  53,671 Ratings  ·  1,526 Reviews
This is the breakthrough bestseller that introduced Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport-and John Sandford's deft touch for heartstopping suspense.

Sleek and nasty...A big scary, suspenseful read, and I loved every minute of it." (Stephen King)

The novel that introduced Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport-and John Sandford's deft touch for heartstopping suspense...
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Putnam Publishing Group (first published 1989)
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Andrew Burns You don't have to but the characters do build out as the series progresses. When characters are introduced in each book he makes a brief mention of…moreYou don't have to but the characters do build out as the series progresses. When characters are introduced in each book he makes a brief mention of their backstory but each backstory likely had another book where the details of that event unfolded.

For the Prey and Flower's series I'd read them in order if you can. For the Kidd series you will find the computer terminology very dated now.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 20, 2011 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, here's the deal: I like me some stupid thriller books every once in awhile, and so I thought I would take a chance with Lucas Davenport. He's a gritty rogue cop,'ve heard it all before. But what you haven't heard is this story was so much fun. Granted it has all the cliches imaginable, and once or twice I really had to wince at the writing, but, overall, this story did exactly what it was supposed to do: ENTERTAIN. Lately, I've been reading some pretty heavy stu ...more
James Thane
This is the book that introduced Minneapolis homicide detective Lucas Davenport, a cunning, tough, and intelligent cop who is willing to bend the rules, if necessary, to get a dangerous killer off the streets. Davenport is independently wealthy, thanks to the fact that he writes video games in his off-duty hours. He drives a Porsche, wears Italian suits and reads Emily Dickinson. A former college hockey player, he's a man's man who is also very attractive to women. But he does have his standards ...more
Alex is The Romance Fox
Having just finished reading Gathering Prey, the #25 book in John Sandford’s brilliant Prey Series, I decided to go back memory lane and read the 1st book, Rules of Prey, where we were first introduced to Minneapolis nonconformist police officer, wealthy video games creator, great dresser and ladies man, Lucas Davenport,
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He was slender and dark-complexioned, with straight black hair going gray at the temples and a long nose over a crooked smile. One of his central upper incisors had been ch
A smart and tough cop who drives a Porsche on the job as he hunts a sadistic serial killer in the late ‘80s. Yeah, yeah. I know this book should totally suck, but the amazing thing is that it doesn’t. Neither does the long-running series that followed.

Lieutenant Lucas Davenport is officially the head of the intelligence division of the Minneapolis police force, but his real job title should be Head Rat Catcher. When big cases that get media attention happen, Davenport gets called in because not
Action-packed mystery / thriller that does not disappoint!!

Rules of Prey is a great thriller / detective book that makes me want to read the whole 26 book series!!!

I think that I may have read a couple of this series (out of order) several years ago, but I don't remember which ones. I sure don't remember why I didn't seek out book #1 and read them sequentially!! Will remedy that now!

Lucas Davenport is the main character of the book... he is definitely a ladies man... He is highly intelligent...
Anna S
Jan 22, 2011 Anna S rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Intelligent nemesis and talented investigator - the author claims this many times throughout the book but there is no evidence of intelligence in the story or indeed in the author.

Half of the story is devoted to detailing the serial killers life and killings leaving NO MYSTERY WHATSOEVER, when the reader is aware of the killers identity it only serves to make his adversary look slow. Really, taking pains to avoid leaving physical evidence does not make the serial killer overflowing with intellig
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Another Lucas Davenport weekend. After reading #21 in the series I had a hankerin' to go back to some of the early ones. Sandford has certainly improved his delivery over the years. This first one is heavy on the nonessential narrative summaries, especially in the first 100 pages or so.

Rules of Prey introduces Lucas Davenport, the badass Minneapolis cop who plays by his own rules but gets the job done when no one else can. He goes head to head with a smart lawyer who is also a serial killer.

Mar 22, 2012 Rene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I will never read another John Sanford book. I stopped reading Bad Blood because it was so terrible. Rules of Prey was better, but not by much. I actually finished reading this one. John Sanford can write. I'll give him that, but his writing skills is not why I gave him one star. Many authors err on making their protagonist too perfect. He errs in making them too scummy so that the reader may have trouble identifying with his characters and caring/sympathizing with them. For example, his main ch ...more
Nov 25, 2013 Jax rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, not-mm, 2-star
Nothing about Lucas Davenport was admirable or likeable or realistic. He's a womanizing attention whore with an inflated opinion of himself who doesn't seem to do much detective work what with all the trips up to his cabin (during a case?!) and working on the computer games he creates (what?). We do get lots of exciting phone calls where he uses his awesome skills to manipulate the press. So there's that.

The fun begins as we learn that our "star" has the made-just-for-him title of Office of Spec
Apr 29, 2008 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Okay, I can say that Davenport is not like anything other cop character I've ever read before. He's definitely an original, and I don't know how much I should say for fear of blowing it for those who haven't read it and wish to. Lucas is intelligent and handsome in his own way, has a lot going on, but I found him to be... well, the only word I can think of is insecure when it comes to his personal life (women). He has the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' attitude when it comes to h ...more
Janie Johnson
Jan 09, 2016 Janie Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I read this book as a buddy read with a friend. I have had these books for quite some time, so it was time to read it. I found the book very engaging so it was an easy read for me but I did have a few issues with it as well.

The "maddog" murderer who is terrorizing the Twin Cities is two things: insane and extremely intelligent. He kills for the pleasure of it and thoroughly enjoys placing elaborate obstacles to keep police befuddled. Each clever move he makes is another point of pride. B
May 27, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime, audiobook

This was an enjoyable read even if the main guy is, well, a grade A dickhead. There are a few things from this story that stick out and the fact that Lucas Davenport comes across as likeable at times and then a downright twat the next made it quite an interesting tale in what is a well saturated detective series market. There is a little bit of outdatedness in this one but it's not heavily prevalent and doesn't detract overall.

The serial killer aspect has been done lots of times before and w
Skye Skye
Jan 20, 2015 Skye Skye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jphn Sandford's Rules of Prey is an action-packed, fast moving book about the hunt for a serial killer known as Maddog; it features a brilliant, womanizing and interesting detective, Lucas Davenport as the protagonist, but equally important is the reader gleans an inside glimpse into the mind of the anti-hero who is identified at the onset and a good portion of the novel is conveyed throught the perspective of the killer. The novel also carefully paints a portrait of Davenport's proclivity towar ...more
May 28, 2012 Zaphoddent rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with the opposite of what the summary suggests! No one in the book can be described as half way intelligent and the author repeating continuously that they are doesn't change the fact that they're not. Couldn't take it anymore, had to quit about two thirds of the way through; only reason I lasted that long was the hope that all the characters would be killed off thereby redeeming the blasted book.
5 stars

I really love reading pure suspense books (not romantic suspense), it was my favorite genre before I got sucked in by romance books. So, I decided to try this series, as a change of pace. Good decision.

Right now, I'm up to book seven, and I liked (a lot) every single one of those books.

Lucas Davenport is an incredible hero. A cop and a game designer, he is also wickedly smart, rich (drives a Ferrari around). While his attitude towards relationships is not something I find all that great,
Okay, so this book is a little dated, however, the plot line was fast moving, it had great characters and an interesting, complicated villain. I ended up developing a love/hate relationship with Lucas Davenport, he is an overindulgent, brainy, macho, cad, but I still liked him a lot..Lol.

We started this series as a buddy-read and from all of it's great reviews I am looking forward to it getting better and better. I hope as Lucas's character matures he turns into more of an upstanding individual
aPriL does feral sometimes
! ! ! ! !

Is Lucas Davenport a scumbag or a hero? This is the first in the classic 'Prey' series, and I.dont.know.

Independently wealthy, he doesn't need the job of police lieutenant, detective in the Minneapolis police department. He is also a designer of video games, a gambler and a womanizer. He is willing to marry a woman having his child, and able to drive to his other lover's bed after proposing to the first woman, telling neither about the other. He is a gun nut, and he carries unregistered
Feb 13, 2012 Jonetta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a serial killer at large who calls himself maddog. He preys on attractive women with dark hair and eyes and leaves a note attached, outlining his “rules” for eluding capture when killing someone. Lieutenant Lucas Davenport, a seasoned investigator with unorthodox methods, is asked to work with the homicide cops to find maddog and bring him down. Maddog is actually pleased as he sees Davenport as a worthy adversary.

I enjoyed this case and having the killer’s perspective as the investigati
Dirk Grobbelaar
Serial killer stalks women. Cop stalks serial killer. It’s been done before, sometimes better, sometimes worse. This entry, fortunately, falls in the category of better crime novels. It’s the first in the Lucas Davenport series, which has the distinction of not only providing us with the protagonist’s side of the story, but we also get to follow the killer as he plans and executes his horrendous deeds. The reader is never really in the dark about the serial killer’s identity, but it’s eerily dis ...more
Sep 29, 2016 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars for the book, PLUS an extra half-star because this was the First Book by this author. Well Done!

NOTE: My advice is to skim the first chapter from the viewpoint of the serial killer. It's very unpleasant and detailed stuff, both action and thinking. Brrrrr! There are perhaps 2-3 other short brutal sections from the villain's viewpoint, you can safely skim the brutal plans and actions, they don't really advance the plot.

After chapter 3 or so, the book picks up speed. The police and peri
Nov 04, 2012 Keifario rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally lost it for this book when the police officers murder an innocent man who was protecting his property. I'm pretty sure the cops weren't uniformed because they were undercover at the time. So the man didn't know they were cops when he shot at them in self defense.

The cops flippant attitude about it annoyed me. They murdered a civilian and left his wife a widow. The cops only cared about how it looked and how the media would react to it, not that they ended a man's life because of their
Nov 20, 2015 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook: Rules of Prey is the first in a long series of Lucas Davenport police procedurals set in Minneapolis. I’ve read about ten of them, not in order and for some reason never got around to the first, an oversight I have now remedied. The Sandford Davenport books are all quite good, although Lucas’s relationships with women I sometimes find superficial and irritating.

Lucas is independently wealthy having sold the rights to a software game he had developed and he drives around in a red Pors
Sonia Cristina
Jun 25, 2015 Sonia Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: português, 2015
Assim que li a sinopse de "Sem Regras" quis lê-lo e ainda bem que o fiz. Foi refrescante e muito interessante ler um policial "à antiga" (mais ou menos). Escrito no final da década de 1980, em "Sem Regras" acompanhamos Lucas Davenport e uma equipa de polícias e detetives na busca por "cão raivoso", o nome dado a um assassino em série, isto numa altura em que não existiam telemóveis, Internet, bases de dados policiais, análises de ADN...

Lucas revelou-se um personagem original, no mínimo, que atu
Maria Espadinha
Aug 21, 2015 Maria Espadinha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Este género de literatura proporciona-nos um retrato psicológico credível do serial killer. Essa é a principal razão que me leva a ler estórias deste tipo!
Kathy Davie
Apr 17, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
First in the Lucas Davenport suspense series and revolving around a slightly crooked cop, Lucas Davenport, who is based in Minneapolis.

My Take
Wow, truly excellent. Davenport is a slightly crooked cop but he does it to protect, to take out the bad guy. He writes games and makes a really good living from their sales, so why he stays a cop I don't know. But Sandford makes it really real with a protagonist you love. He is at least honest in his way and provides excellent insight into how police real
Scott Rhee
Aug 19, 2012 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Sandford is one of those best-selling authors whose name appears on his book covers in bigger letters than the title. I have always been leery of writers like that. It's usually because they are ridiculously prolific and popular, two qualities that don't necessarily equate with "good". After reading "Rules of Prey", though, I can say with certainty that Sandford is good. "Rules" was published in 1989. It does what "CSI" and "Criminal Minds" does just about every week. I have seen "Criminal ...more
Eve Nolon
Unlike 70% of crime novels written in the 1980s, this one still works, mostly. There were a few things that were so awful that I almost laughed, specifically that anyone in law enforcement really thought that a-mostly-open gay man would be raping and murdering women. I mean, these crimes were more akin to Bundy than Dahmer. Then there was the referring to a victim as a "cripple," and honestly I am glad I don't remember the 1980s all that much - a rural childhood will do that.

The stuff I thought
This is one of those books that entraps you -- it has a great lead character, a great adversary for the lead, action, humor and keeps you engaged throughout the book.

Lucas Davenport is a good guy not a great guy but his flaws are endearing in a way which I think is a credit to Sandford's writing of this character. The character can be simple and complex at the same time and his value of other lives is fantastic -- he has enough experience to know the world isn't a peach but he isn't too jaded ye
Apr 07, 2017 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My first "Prey" book. I love the Virgil Flowers series. I enjoyed this one, although it was a little "grittier" than I expected. It also seemed strange that this did not feel like the first one in the series, although I'm sure that was John Sandford's intention. Recommended.
Feb 07, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Years before reading this I had received Shadow Prey as a gift. It was a pretty good read but nothing really special.
In fact, when I first started my website I didn't even bother reviewing it with the first batch of books since I had no real strong feelings about it one way or another. I just remembered it as OK
but forgettable.
Now when Jason, who's been a visitor to my site, sent me a few emails imploring me to read Sandford's Prey series, I had told him I had read Shadow Prey but wasn't really
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See also John Camp

John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of
More about John Sandford...

Other Books in the Series

Lucas Davenport (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Shadow Prey (Lucas Davenport, #2)
  • Eyes of Prey (Lucas Davenport, #3)
  • Silent Prey (Lucas Davenport #4)
  • Winter Prey (Lucas Davenport, #5)
  • Night Prey (Lucas Davenport, #6)
  • Mind Prey (Lucas Davenport, #7)
  • Sudden Prey (Lucas Davenport, #8)
  • Secret Prey (Lucas Davenport, #9)
  • Certain Prey (Lucas Davenport, #10)
  • Easy Prey (Lucas Davenport, #11)

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