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Phantom Prey (Lucas Davenport #18)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  11,200 Ratings  ·  653 Reviews
Large Print Edition.
Hardcover, Large Print, 537 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Thorndike Press (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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James Thane
When a widow named Alyssa Austin arrives home one afternoon, she discovers that the home security system has been disarmed. She retrieves her .38 Smith & Wesson from the glove compartment of her Mercedes and gingerly makes her way into the house. Neither her daughter, Frances, nor their housekeeper, Helen, is home, and when Alyssa flips on the lights in the kitchen she discovers blood stains on the wall that someone has tried unsuccessfully to clean away.

Helen, the housekeeper, eventually s
Lucas Davenport goes goth.

Alyssa Austin is a wealthy widow that returns home to find a bloodstain on her wall and that her adult daughter Francis has vanished. With no body and no leads, the police can’t do much with the case. After a friend of Francis is murdered by a mysterious goth woman known only as Fairy, Alyssa turns to her friend Weather for help.

Weather just so happens to be married to Lucas Davenport, one of the top cops with Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as well as bein
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The latest installment in the Lucas Davenport series. Excellent plot and pacing. Sandford just never misses. His writing is sharp and clean and fast-paced. He always has kind of a "double" plot---the main story and then a side story of another case Lucas is working on. In this book, both stories are exciting and interesting.

The main plot has a nice sinister, otherworldly edge to it, which I haven't seen in this series before. Sandford took a little Stephen King and put it in one character's hea
What do a coke dealer named Siggy and a Goth couple called Fairy and Loren have in common……only the fact that they are being pursued by a cop named Lucas Davenport and that they all appear in John Sanford’s novel PHANTOM PREY. I have read many of the prey books and enjoyed them but the entire concept of this book is akin to viewing an episode of the Ghost Whisperer with Melinda visiting SHUTTER ISLAND. On top of that, the secondary story of Siggy and his exhibitionist spouse was dull, dull, dull ...more
Back when I was a little punk rock girl, I used to cringe whenever I saw punk rockers depicted in books or on film, because it was inevitably horrifying and wrong. Maybe that's why I cringed at the whole Goth thing this book had going. It was sort of like listening to your grandparents attempt to be hip by using slang words they read in Time magazine.

Horrifying wrongness aside, I also found the villains to be rather boring, and the book dragged whenever it switched to their POV. A miss for this
Mike Gabor
Apr 13, 2012 Mike Gabor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wealthy widow returns to her large home in an exclusive Minneapolis suburb to find blood everywhere, no body - and her student daughter missing. Instantly, she suspects the involvement of the weird Goth crowd her daughter had been hanging around with. With no sign of the widow's daughter, dead or alive, a second Goth is found slashed to death - but it's only when a third dead Goth turns up that Lucas Davenport gets involved. But the clues don't seem to add up. Then there's the young Goth who k ...more
Kathy Davie
Jul 04, 2015 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eighteenth in the Lucas Davenport mystery detective series and revolving around Lucas, a not-quite-legal, focused-on-true-justice cop.

My Take
I do love the off-the-wall characters, and Sanderson does a lovely job of integrating an "info dump" with Lucas thinking about how to explain his men in their personnel evaluations. I do like it when authors come up with these creative ways of imparting background info, lol. This one gives us insight into Lucas as well in how he reacts to his thoughts.

Jun 03, 2012 Monnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still movin' through Sanford's "Prey" series with this one, No. 18 - and I'm still saying they keep getting better even though (or rather because) some things stay the same. Like many of the others, for instance, this one has Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport assigned to work two cases simultaneously, with the possibility that they'll overlap at some point (or not). And like the others, readers learn who the culprits are before Davenport "gets it," so there's the fun of watching him unravel ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Sandford is one of the few writers I read – and enjoy – against my better judgment. His Prey series is remarkably good, so even though it's all a little formulaic and he's written a bajillion of these books I try not to feel too guilty. I started reading these in the late 90's, and to be honest I've lost track of much of the series' history, but Phantom Prey shares the strengths of the other Prey books I've read: a compelling protagonist (Lucas Davenport, detective and – hey, why not? – for ...more
Jun 07, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: action novel fans
Finally a great Sandford "Prey" book. The last couple weren't that interesting. This one keeps you tied into several stories, not all related, but still lots of fun. Some surprise twists and an occult theme that is new. Almost 5 stars except the end was kind of lame, almost like he had a suspense date hanging over his head and had to just finish it. Having family in the Twin Cities and just across the river in Wisconsin, it is fun to read about places you've seen and visited.
I gave up half way through this one. Same old stuff, with little new character development. I just didn't care how he managed to solve the mystery. I must be really impatient, as I usually fall into familiar characters and books, but not this one.
Leon Aldrich
What can I say, "I'm hooked on Sanford!" And after years of reading this series, I've made it a 2014 goal to finish, not only his Prey series, but all of his other series as well. And read some Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson and more James Lee Burke (burp -- but his novels are so filling).
May 20, 2008 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
John Sandford keeps cranking out great dialogue, credible story lines, convincing characters. Lucas still has plenty of testosterone in his tank at his advanced age.
Jun 20, 2017 Eddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mys-series
Another great adventure. I like the way if he is a super cop, which Lucas is, there should be more than one case he is working on and should not connect in the end. Well done.
Mal Warwick
Jun 10, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phantom Prey is #18 in John Sandford’s best-selling Prey series, the latest of which is #21. It’s one of a total of 33 novels Sandford has published since 1989, all of which seem to be set in his home state of Minnesota.

An innocent reader might wonder how Sandford finds so many clever plots involving the life of law enforcement officers in Minnesota, which is after all a state with a population of little more than five million people. That same reader might also wonder how Sandford can do such a
I’m making good on a promise to myself to read all the Prey books. I am sort of fascinating with Lucas Davenport and I enjoy the plots the author, John Sandford, creates. I enjoy his writing style too. I don’t necessary read all the books in chronological order, as I have a few unread Prey-books lying around the house. Might as well try those first.
I have been researching and gathering information on all the published books in the Prey series, and I have a pretty good understanding of
Dotti Elrick
Jun 07, 2012 Dotti Elrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucas Davenport, a detective with Minnesota's BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), is asked by his wife, Weather to look into the disappearance of a friends daughter.
When Alyssa Austin comes home one night, something feels "off" to her. She checks her home and finds nothing out of place. She starts to relax and then notices the blood on the kitchen wall. The cops have run through everything they have and have come up empty. That's when she asks Weather if Lucas could take a look at the case.
Jan 14, 2016 Elinor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deciding that I needed a little Lucas in my life, I sat down to read one of the excellent Prey books featuring Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. Before I proceed, let me say that I hate it that all the books in the series have two-word titles, one of which is the word "Prey." It is almost impossible to remember which titles I have read without thumbing through the book. (My father was a big Louis L'Amour fan, and he took them out from the public library by the bushel -- inside each cover, h ...more
Brent Soderstrum
Jun 01, 2015 Brent Soderstrum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Sandford's 18th book from his Lucas Davenport series that I have enjoyed so much.

This isn't my favorite from the series but Sandford doesn't write any bad books does he? This one takes me into, for me, the unexplored goth world. I have noticed the young people dressed in all black with the heavy makeup but I have never really explored what they thought and why they did what they did. Davenport too is confronted with the gothic world when Alyssa Austin comes home to find blood all over he
Mar 13, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Prey" and crime fiction/police procedural fans.
I lost track of Sandford's "Prey" series for a couple years. I'm glad I'm back.

In this episode, Lucas Davenport, is more or less nagged into looking into the disappearance of the daughter of a friend of his wife, Weather. The mother, Alyssa Austin, is a bit of an eccentric but a competent business woman. He gets hooked more deeply when three of the daughter, Frances' "Gothic" acquaintances are brutally murdered. Evidently Frances was dabbling in the Goth scene in the Twin Cities and Davenport sp
Mar 14, 2013 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-books
Davenport's starting to realize that it isn't all fun and games chasing the criminals after he is shot in an ambush outside a bar while trying to find a young missing woman. The thought that he might not be there to jump Weather's bones or watch Sam and Letty grow up, gives our detective pause for thought in an unusual insightful moment.

Outside of these intimate thoughts, this was an intriguing novel. The plot twisted and turned in interesting ways, keeping my attention fully engaged. The reader
Mar 22, 2013 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cop turned investigator, Lucas Davenport, is back in his 18th novel. This time he’s investigating the Goth scene after a wealthy young woman who fancies herself Goth goes missing. The mother of the missing girl is friends with Weather, Lucas’s wife, and she leans on Lucas to find her daughter.

Almost as soon as Lucas begins, three more Goths are killed with little time between. And when Lucas is shot, he knows that he is onto something big. There was also a secondary investigation involving a ba
Sep 27, 2008 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well Lucas Davenport is back. John Sandford's main character in his Prey series is just as good as the beginning books again. I was worried after reading his last two books and then Mr. Sandford started writing the Virgil Flowers series that we had lost Lucas forever, but thankfully he's back. This murder mystery is a good one. There's a lot of twists and turns. Del is also back in this book helping with the secondary mystery of the book. Mr. Sandford is a master of getting the reader involved i ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Sandford's "Prey" series started off as a Thomas Harris-influenced crime series with a detective hero only slightly less demented and violent than his quarry. Over the years, Sandford has tempered his hero's extreme behavior and turned the "Prey" books into the most reliably entertaining police procedurals now on the market. This is an okay entry. It starts out promisingly, then starts losing steam as the murderer's identity comes into focus. The identity, when revealed, has an element of p ...more
May 10, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm completely addicted to the Prey series. The last one slightly disappointed me so I was tempted to not buy the hardback to this one.

But I did.

And it was great! This involves Lucas Davenport, as per usual, working a couple of cases. The cases for this round involve the death of a "Goth" girl and a mobster type person.

Weather is friends with the Goth girl's mother, who implores Lucas to take the case. He does, out of kindness and the promise of kinky sex with Weather. While he's working the cas
Aug 22, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is schizophrenic. The first half of the story is gripping. Suspense builds, and the plot is fully believable. Then, a little more than half-way through the book, the plot takes a sharp left turn into fantasy-land, and the reader is left wondering what kind of novel this is really supposed to be. The story drags for a bit, then picks up again to reveal a very complex plot and multiple killers. A lot of it seemed improbable to me, but the author managed to pull it off, resulting in a pr ...more
I love this series, but didn't care for this book all that much. The best scenes in the book weren't about the main mystery / crime, but the secondary one. Watching Del and Lucas watch the girl in the apartment was funny, but in the end she was the one laughing. For some reason I kind of admire her for it. The main mystery / crime was odd. Once you figured out what was going on it was still odd. I didn't have any sympathy for the main character involed and really didn't care what happened to her ...more
Jun 10, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sandford fans and crime novel fans.
Another good one in the "Prey" series by Sandford. Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a Goth killer this time. As usual, the reader discovers the identity of the killer before Davenport and it's interesting to see how he discovers the truth after myriad distractions and diversions. A subplot includes the stakeout of a Lithuanian gangster pad - doesn't really add anything to the story except for Lucas and Del to bounce ideas off each other. No real personal additions to Lucas' background this tim ...more
Linda K. Melzer
Aug 08, 2016 Linda K. Melzer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner by John Sanford.

Every novel in the Prey Series is excellent. As it turns out I had read this one when I was first published and it was equally entertaining the second time around. I had completely forgotten the surprise ending. I don't know how Sanford comes up with so many unique storylines without being repetitious but he does. I highly recommend all of the Prey novels.
Jan 12, 2015 Elisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3.5.

Davenport is such a perv/borderline pedophile! What was the comment about needing a teenager to suck his leg? Bleh. Asshat.

Fun, creepy idea about dissociative identity disorder, though no clues were really given on what caused Austin's split. Overly-competitive, pushy parents hardly seems like enough.
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Mansfield Public ...: Phantom Prey Review by Ann Marie Orza 1 3 Aug 09, 2013 08:35AM  
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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)
  • Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport, #1)
  • 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)

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