A few years ago, I asked the owner of a bookstore to recommend some books for me. She said that she had been home sick for the past week and spent the time reading all of the "prey" books. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about and thought they might have something to do with religion as in "pray" books. After some further discussion, I realized I had stumbled upon a great series by John Sandford. I started to buy the books then and it's taken me this long to finally read the first one. Since I read a lot of mysteries, many of which are part of a series, I'm pretty savvy when it comes to the most popular male protagonists out there at the moment. Now that I've been introduced to Lucas Davenport, my only regret is that I waited this long to begin my relationship with a now favorite character.
The story is a good one and involves a serial killer whose identity is introduced to the reader at the beginning of the book. I like when an author does this as it enables me to get inside the killer's head and follow him around from place to place -- not only to the scene of his crimes but in his everyday life at work and home as well. I also love it when the moment arrives and I realize what the title of the book means. In Rules of Prey, the killer, referred to as "maddog", has certain rules that he follows so as not to get caught. For example, he never kills anyone he knows, he never uses the same weapon twice and he never has a motive. He always leaves a note at each crime scene communicating one of his rules. Not only does this serve as a challenge to our main character, Lucas Davenport, it is also the killer's "in your face" way of letting Lucas know that he is someone to be reckoned with.
As a lead character, Lieutenant Davenport is a dream. He drives around in a Porsche, which was purchased with money he earns not only from gambling but also from a side job he has creating intense, strategic video games. He's smooth, good-looking and a real lady killer (no pun intended). I enjoyed the way he tracked down the clues, which will eventually lead to the killer. He also has no problem working around the "rules" set up by his own police department and I found this flagrant use or "misuse" of his own form of justice a bit ingratiating. But this particular case will prove not to be an easy chase as his sometimes-inept Minneapolis police department is foiled by the "maddog" on more than one occasion.
I understand from other readers that these books just get better and better. That's a real incentive for any mystery reader and is an added bonus just knowing that I get to spend some more quality time with Lucas. This is certainly a series for the ladies as well as the guys. "Shadow Prey" here I come.