Kemper's Reviews > Chosen Prey

Chosen Prey by John Sandford
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Apr 21, 14

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bookshelves: crime-mystery, thriller, 5-0, 2013-reread, serial-killers, lucas-davenport
Read from July 11 to 13, 2013

A long Minnesota winter has left Lucas Davenport in one of his funks, but fortunately there’s a hunt for a new serial killer to put a spring in his step and a song in his heart.

James Qatar is an art history professor who likes luring lonely women into romances and then strangling them. His other hobby is doing explicit pornographic drawings of females he’s angry with and sending them the pictures anonymously or posting them in a public place. So Qatar is a real peach of a guy.

A recently discovered body is linked to complaints about the drawings, and a Wisconsin deputy who has been investigating his missing niece shows up with a pattern of missing women that fits the victim’s profile. Lucas smells a freak and launches a hunt. There’s the usual Sandford cat-and-mouse game with the reader getting Qatar’s psychotic point of view as he engages in increasingly violent efforts to keep from being caught.

It’s a good news/bad news scenario for Lucas on the personal side of things in this one. The good news is that he has reconciled with a former girlfriend and things are going so well that they’re considering having a baby. The bad news is that politics are going to force the current police chief out in a few months and Lucas along with her.

While the personal angles signal that change is on the horizon for Lucas, the rest of this book seems a bit formulaic and repetitive. Qatar is a decent enough villain, but Sandford had leaned a bit too heavily on the crazy serial killer targeting women already so despite some effort to differentiate him from the others, it still seems overly familiar. Plus, there are other elements that reminded me a lot of Night Prey like Lucas working with a cop who has a personal obsession with finding the killer and a woman being used as bait at one point.

There’s an interesting sub-plot about Lucas having to deal with an old foe to get critical information, and also a nice curve ball thrown in at the end. (view spoiler) Still, while it’s another entertaining thriller from Sandford, it’s not one of the most memorable books in the Prey series.

Next: Lucas hunts an old enemy and tries to plan a wedding in Mortal Prey.
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