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Rules of Prey

(Lucas Davenport #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  67,152 ratings  ·  1,985 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 G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1989)
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Popular Answered Questions
Penny Ok, I just finished this book and went back to see what you were talking about: what WERE you talking about? Not in this book, nope.
Helga Voller Richard Ferrone has a great voice and John Sandford writes better than Patterson, and does not write creepy novels. His detective Lucas Davenport is…moreRichard Ferrone has a great voice and John Sandford writes better than Patterson, and does not write creepy novels. His detective Lucas Davenport is worth getting to know!!(less)

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  67,152 ratings  ·  1,985 reviews


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TK421
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
carol.
Read only if:

1. You're John Sandford's A+ Number One Fan
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2. You are a completionist and must read every book in the Lucas Davenport series
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3. You're secretly in love with/wish you were Sonny Crockett, a spiffy dressed Extra Special Maverick Detective who loves clothes and women in equal proportions, with fast cars a close third
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4. You never tire of the serial killer character and their 'games' with the police
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5. You have no problem with detectives sexing the recent victim of an attempted rape/homic
...more
Kemper
This features 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
...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,
 photo 8781379_zpsouiasmze.jpg
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
...more
Tim
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
MadDog. Prey number 1 and like the others, well done. 8 of 10 stars

Relistened a second time and 30 years after publication, still excellent! 9 of 10 stars
Phrynne
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-books
I am giving five stars to the book and six stars to my quick run through of every one else's reviews which was hilarious. Poor Lucas rates from 5 stars for being brilliant and intelligent to 1 star for being a complete "scumbag". Only the best books get such diversity of opinion:)

I liked Lucas myself although only on paper. In real life yes he would be obnoxious but as the principal character in my detective novel he was great. At least the women in his life knew how to treat him. The story was
...more
Anna S
Jan 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jax
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, 2-star, not-mm
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
Kathleen
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Goodreads friends convinced me that I should include Sandford’s excellent crime thriller series featuring Lt. Lucas Davenport in my reading AND they recommended that I start at the beginning. It IS a tautly plotted story with a despicable villain and plenty of twists and turns. However, Davenport is a ‘bad boy’ cop that would certainly be fired from any good police department—even if he does ‘get his man’. Lucas’ relationships with women are reprehensible—he has the morals of an alley cat and ...more
Lauren
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
Though his eyes were warm, his smile betrayed him.

Lucas Davenport is smart, good-looking, rich, and so obviously effective a cop that he transcends departments and has his own Office of Special Intelligence, an acknowledgment both of his well-tended network of informants and his well-documented tendency to go off and do his own thing. He's destined to be assigned to every high-profile case the Twin Cities have to offer. Oh, and he drives a Porsche.

A character this cool shouldn't work as anythi
...more
Rene
Mar 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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
Richard
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime, audiobook
8/10

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
...more
Gina
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Zaphoddent
May 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Janie Johnson
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.

Synopsis
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
...more
William
Sep 29, 2016 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
...more
Rob
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-thrillers
It’s taken me awhile to get around to John Sandford’s work, Rules of Prey being first published in 1987.
No idea why it’s taken me so long but I did.
If the rest of the books are as good as this one I’m in for a real treat.

Being a cop for Lucas Davenport is a hobby. His real wealth is generated by the computer games he writes. Lucas is a womanising show pony. He drives a Porsche, wear expensive clothes but he has a passion for, and is very good at, catching really bad people.

On this occasion the
...more
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
...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ana
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
✨Susan✨
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
...more
Mark
This book is the first of series that has been recommended to me quite a few times here on GR so when I found a copy I decided to give it a go and I was not disappointing at all.

The Main character Police Lieutenant Lucas Davenport he is an very unconventional person. He sleeps easily around with women, to prove he has some standard he does not sleep with dumb ones how gorgeous they are. He does not mind circumventing the law at his own behest and framing somebody if it suits the case. And he do
...more
Skye
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Gary
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have had this book on my to read list for such a long time and I have now finally read it. I found it slow at the start and struggled to get into it but the more I got used to the main character Lucas Davenport the more I enjoyed it. By halfway through it I was already thinking I will have to read more of this series by John Sandford. At the moment there are 24 books in the series so I certainly have a few to enjoy. If you like characters with an edge then I suggest you try this book and serie ...more
Jonetta
Feb 13, 2012 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
...more
Dree
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Fairly unremarkable crime drama about a serial murderer & the police officer assigned to catch him. Book is decently written & is compelling & easy to read, but it is a little dated and a few things bothered me.

1) Making the perpetrator a lawyer, just seemed a little off to me. I just don't think somebody with such poor social skills would cut it in the world of law. I get that it was attempt to portray him as being smart - but, there's another thing... not sure why a suspect is dee
...more
Keifario
Nov 04, 2012 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
...more
Eric_W
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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See also John Camp

John Sandford was born John Roswell 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 Univer
...more

Other books in the series

Lucas Davenport (1 - 10 of 31 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)
“Her Pan-Cake makeup was cracking like a dried-out Dakota lake bed.” 11 likes
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