Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport, #1)” as Want to Read:
Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport #1)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  40,887 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews
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. But when the brilliant Lieutenant Lucas Davenport--a dedicated cop and a serial killer's worst nightmare--is ...more
Paperback, 479 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by Berkley (first published 1989)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rules of Prey, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Cat it is closer to James Patterson than Evanovich. Have you tried JA Jance? they are still mysteries, detectives, but not as 'creepy' …moreit is closer to James Patterson than Evanovich. Have you tried JA Jance? they are still mysteries, detectives, but not as 'creepy' (less)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
80th out of 4,899 books — 10,916 voters
The Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAngels & Demons by Dan BrownThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Thrillers
35th out of 2,097 books — 2,752 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
TK421
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, yadda...yadda...yadda...you'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
Kemper
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
...more
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.

Th
...more
Anna Wells
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
...more
Gina
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
Rene
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
Skye Skye
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
aPriL eVoLvEs
! ! ! ! !

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
...more
Jax
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
...more
Ana
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,
...more
Zaphoddent
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.
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
Keifario
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
...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
...more
Michelle
The main character is Lucas Davenport, who is a detective and casual playboy. The book hints that there are not many women in town that he hasn't slept with. His relationships with women are confusing, because he really doesn't seem to have much feeling for them. He reads very wooden unless he's talking about work. He is a Jack Reacher type in that he's sort-of brutish and operates secretly outside of the rules, without remorse, to catch his man. Unlike Reacher, he owns a home, clothes and works ...more
Jonetta
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
...more
Scott Rhee
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
Bill
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
...more
Monnie
I became a big John Sanford fan after reading just one of his series featuring Virgil Flowers (by now I've read all five and recommend them highly). I'd noticed his earlier "Prey" series that centers on another character, Lucas Davenport - who, for the record, also appears in the Flowers books. Then, I watched "John Sandford's Certain Prey" made-for-TV movie starring Mark Harmon, who plays Davenport. It wasn't at all bad (well heck, if nothing else, what's not to like about looking at Harmon?), ...more
Mary  Hoyle
This book should come with a warning:
Lucas Davenport, along with the other main characters, is highly intelligent, highly flawed, unabashedly quirky, and relentlessly addictive.

Good news? There's 23 books in the series, so settle in and enjoy.
Bad news? You may miss some sleep.

List of books by publication date per author's website:
http://www.johnsandford.org/listofboo...
The Prey Series:
1. Rules of Prey (1989)
2. Shadow Prey (1990)
3. Eyes of Prey (1991)
4. Silent Prey (1992)
5. Winter Prey (19
...more
Bill
This is my first experience with John Sandford's Prey series. I quite enjoyed it. It's an easy read and Lucas Davenport is an interesting character. He isn't a super-human like many thriller protagonists. He definitely has many strengths, his love of firearms, his way with women, his game playing skills, but at the same time he has many doubts and flaws that make him a more rounded character. This first story was an excellent introduction to the series; the 'villain', a serial killer dubbed madd ...more
Marleen
Over the many years I’ve read only a few Prey books, mostly from various local libraries and I’ve always enjoyed them. Captivating detective/mystery stories are hard to find, and Lucas Davenport is certainly an intriguing protagonist, so I thought it would be interesting to read all the Prey books in order, starting at the beginning. I’ve listened to Rules of Prey (book 1) on audio, introducing detective Lucas Davenport and his background, his entourage and network, his thought process. Lucas is ...more
Rade
3.5 stars

If this was Sandford's first novel, I got to say that he did a solid job. I enjoyed it yet felt disappointed at the same time. The killer is one of those people who gets off sexually by performing acts of violence/sadism. I have seen this concept so many time just about everywhere. From other books, to movies, to TV shows, to even real life killers. Nothing new was presented here. The police as expected track down suspects, gather clues, draw conclusions. Same old cop formula we have se
...more
Kathy Davie
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
...more
Brian DiMattia
Usually, I avoid detective stories featuring a "name" detective. As in "The Lucas Davenport series," and many others. Whether it's always true or not, I usually just assume they are going to be cliched, paint-by-the-numbers storytelling. Like they'll never really develop the character but just rely on ongoing character traits to add some character into each story.

But in "Rules of Prey," John Sandford was just beginning a character that's since become long-running. And it was all new and interest
...more
Art
Rules of Prey by John Sandford is the first Lucas Davenport novel. Sandford's novel started off a little bit slow for me. I even at first hated Davenport. The story is so well crafted that I kept going. I'm glad I did. I realized somewhere about a third to a halfway through that you don't have to like Davenport that's not Sandford's goal his goal is to make Davenport feel real. This he does like no other author I've read. During the case you get as close to a birds eye view of what police invest ...more
Jane Stewart
Weak 3 stars. Nothing surprising, but I was curious enough to keep reading. This will probably appeal to guys, not female readers.

STORY BRIEF:
Lucas Davenport is a police detective who creates computer video games in his spare time. He makes a lot of money. He drives a Porche. He dresses well. The ladies like him. His childhood friend is a psychologist nun who provides profiling information.

Louis Vullion is a serial killer attorney referred to as maddog. He kills women. He stalks, plans, attacks,
...more
Daryl
Feb 20, 2013 Daryl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
Since I opened my used bookstore four months ago, I've sold more Sandford books than any other author, so thought I'd check him out. This is the first novel in a 20+ book series starring Lucas Davenport. Here he investigates and tracks down a serial killer on the Twin Cities. The book also delves into the killer's mind and devotes occasional chapters to his motivations and actions, generally unknown to Davenport. Somehow Sandford manages to make an insane killer, the antagonist here, vaguely sym ...more
Robin
Continuing along my NPR Top 100 Killer Thrillers journey, I went ahead and picked this one up (#60). Many years ago, I listened to Mortal Prey and really enjoyed it, and since then I've been meaning to go back and start at the first in the series. Lucas Davenport is a fascinating character-- dark, interesting, and definitely one who follows his own moral compass. And I'm always up for a good serial killer yarn. The pacing was great and I enjoyed the various turns throughout. Definitely a fun rea ...more
Patricia
This was my first Lucas Davenport book but I now know it won't be my last. What a ride! There were a couple of times I thought Lucas was a little bit of a "dog" because of his relationships....sexual ones, I mean...with the women in his life. He's a little promiscuous, to say the least. But I think the bottom line with him is he wants justice, he wants to see the bad guys suffer, he wants them to pay for the evil they do, and even though he is a officer of the law, the way he manages to get thin ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Lost Light (Harry Bosch, #9)
  • Indigo Slam (Elvis Cole, #7)
  • The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1)
  • The Ritual Bath (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #1)
  • The Tin Collectors (Shane Scully, #1)
  • The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux, #1)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • The Coffin Dancer (Lincoln Rhyme, #2)
  • Time Bomb (Alex Delaware, #5)
  • Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker, #1)
  • Undercurrents (Boldt/Matthews, #1)
4610
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 Iowa. He was in th ...more
More about John Sandford...

Other Books in the Series

Lucas Davenport (1 - 10 of 25 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)
Winter Prey (Lucas Davenport, #5) Buried Prey (Lucas Davenport, #21) Chosen Prey (Lucas Davenport, #12) Bad Blood (Virgil Flowers, #4) Secret Prey (Lucas Davenport, #9)

Share This Book

“Her Pan-Cake makeup was cracking like a dried-out Dakota lake bed.” 3 likes
More quotes…