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Rules of Prey [Paperback]

John Sandford
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 April 1994
In this novel an intelligent serial killer is at large, a member of the bar who has derived rules for his murders based on professional examination of actual cases. His opponent is Lucas Davenport, a policeman, who quickly realizes that this is no ordinary killer.

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (11 April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586208801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586208809
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer prize-winning journalist John Camp. He is the author of seventeen PREY novels, four KIDD novels and the stand-alone thriller, DEAD WATCH. He lives in Minnesota. Visit

Product Description

From the Back Cover


For the killer who had Minneapolis in a grip of chilled terror, satisfaction came from the thrill of the contest. After each grisly murder he would leave behind one of the rules he had devised:

Never kill anyone you know.
Never have a motive
Never follow a discernible pattern.

He was no textbook psychopath, but Lieutenant Lucas Davenport was no ordinary detective. To bring an end to the maddog's trail of death he would have to play by his own rules.

‘With the first scene, John Sandford grabs you by the throat and never lets go. 'Rules of Prey' is tough, gritty, genuinely scary, with a cop and a killer you will remember for a long, long time’

‘A pulse-quickening, irresistibly readable thriller…as effective as it is brutal’

‘A disquieting thriller…brilliant’

About the Author

John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. His eight novels featuring Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport have all been top-ten bestsellers in the USA.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RULE #1 -- START A SERIES WITH A "GREAT" BOOK 20 Oct 2002
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.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rules To Be Read 22 Oct 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the one that started it all - the first book in the 'prey' series.
In his initial outing Minneapolis cop, Lucas Davenport, is up against the Mad Dog killer.
From the first page till the last the story grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go.
Lucas is a wonderfully developed character and in the beginning we see his rough edges and the win at all costs mentality.
If Stephen King thought it was a 'big, scary, suspenseful read and loved every minute of it'.....thats good enough for me.
If you haven't got it - get it - read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First of a brilliant series by John Sandford 16 Mar 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love these books and their characters especially the lead detective Lucas Davenport. Such detail on the characters, great storylines. Not for the fainthearted.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rules of Prey is a thoroughly enjoyable book created of cliches that were all surprisingly free of cliches.

I know, that doesn't make much sense but bear with me.

On the surface there is no bigger cliche than the lone wolf cop who breaks all the rules, drives around in a beautiful car no honest cop should be able to afford and has women coming at him in the kind of way that would put an advert for Lynx deodorant to shame. This book is one giant cliche from the blurb straight through to the final page.

However, there was a freshness to this novel that was truly surprising.

Yes, Davenport was the infamous lone wolf cop who breaks all the rules. However, the way in which he does this is always logical and well thought through to the extent that it becomes obvious that it is more than just dumb luck and people looking the other way that allows him to get away with it.

Yes, he has a really fast and expensive car, wears great clothes and lives in a house that goes far beyond what he can earn as a cop. However, this was really well explained by his second career as a game designer and the way his character was written made this feel like a good fit for him and not some unnatural excuse for him to have a lot of money.

Yes, he has multiple relationships with many beautiful women in this book. However, there is something different than the stereotypical guy who only cares about sex. He is honest with the women he is with to the point where it almost feels as though it is the women who are in the wrong for having a problem with him sleeping around as he has been upfront with them from the start.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rules Of Prey by John Sandford 1 Jun 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I know it's quite old now but I had the opportunity to collect a few books later in the series. As I like to read any series cronologically I had to get the first book and this was it! Took about 100 pages to get into it but then plot was good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Review 14 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It dawned on me years later, that Rules of Prey has the greatest chase scene ever. I don't know if the writer wittingly keeps phrases alive (linguistic antropology?), but it seems that way- in the last five years, one can be reminded of phrases, that may not be in use much anymore- or so it seems to me, in Ireland, where language, English etc, may be disappearing in warp speed time.
Books are indeed, going out like the dodo.
Looking back, I am amazed and very glad, to have read Eyes of Prey as well, along with all others.
John Sandford is a credit to America.
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