Eric_W's Reviews > Broken Prey

Broken Prey by John Sandford
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May 22, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: police-procedural
Read in May, 2012

There seems to be a new rule in American crime fiction that all perps have to be really evil, nothing subtle or conflicting. It’s not enough to murder someone, they have to murder in multiples, and if that weren’t enough, they must mutilate the body too, and to top it off, brag about it to the cops. It’s as if we can’t root for the cops if the perp is your ordinary killer. These are the antithesis of Simenon, Mankell, and many other very good writers who display their talent through an examination of the subtleties of crime.

In Broken Prey, another in the Lucas Davenport series, the cop who has millions from designing a computer game but just loves to go after bad guys in his Porsche, there is another portrayal of crime in its most excruciating detail. Is it really necessary that we must participate in the sordid details of the butchery of victims? Frankly, it turns me off and makes me wonder about Mr. Sandford and perhaps those who enjoy reading that stuff. What ever happened to the imagination which can be gory enough.

OK, now that I have that off my chest, the Prey series still remains pretty decent in its investigatory plots if wildly unrealistic. Talk to any cop and see if any of them recognize themselves in these stories. Never happen. Tearing around town in a luxury car and truck and rarely doing any paperwork. The Lone Wolf as superhero while pretending to be sensitive in his girlfriend relationships, one of whom is a nun-psychologist for God’s sake. Hmm, slipped back on my chest, didn’t I.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit I enjoy listening to these books especially when read by Richard Ferrone. They do make satisfying listening while mowing or driving (as long as my wife or anyone under 21 isn’t around.)
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04/15 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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James Thane You're right--the plots are always very unrealistic, but I think a book that depicted a police investigation as it is actually conducted would be pretty boring. But even knowing how unrealistic the plots are, I still really enjoy this series. I once heard Sandford say something to the effect of, if he has to make a choice between making a story technically accurate or entertaining, he will choose entertaining every time. I'm sure that's what his readers would prefer he do.


Eric_W James wrote: "You're right--the plots are always very unrealistic, but I think a book that depicted a police investigation as it is actually conducted would be pretty boring. But even knowing how unrealistic the..."

I'm sure you're right and don't get me wrong: I enjoy the Sanford series. Nevertheless, I think there are others who write really intriguing stories where the procedure may be mundane, but the characters are not, e.g., Simenon, Harvey, Baantjer, Havill, Burke, Connelly to some extent, and several of the Scandanavian writers and I'm sure many others. I became friends with Donald Harstad, the chief deputy for an Iowa county that's not to far away. He has written a marvelous series featuring Carl Houseman that has humor, a good story, and marvelous characters. He said his editor was always pushing toward unrealistic plot events and to make them more salacious. I'm very glad he didn't succumb. On the other hand, his agent has had trouble selling his recent ones.


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