Hidden Prey Hardcover – May 10 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Det. Lucas Davenport has battled some real demons over the past 15 Prey novels and drifted in and out of lust and love with a host of women. But now he's happily married to the lovely Weather; has a nine-month-old son, Sam; and takes care of his 12-year-old ward, Letty West. Sure, he's got a measure of the old angst, but he's growing accustomed to the good life, spending quality time alone on the couch drinking beer and watching TV golf. His new job is running the Office of Regional Research at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension where he looks into various crimes and "fixes shit" for the governor. So when a dead Russian shows up on the docks in Duluth, Lucas is assigned to shepherd the lady investigator, Nadya Kalin, being sent by the Russian government. From the very first pages, the reader knows it's teenager Carl Walther who has killed the Russian. What makes the book intriguing is the manner in which the sagacious Davenport goes about uncovering the rest of the co-conspirators-a gang of Minnesota-based Communist spies headed by Carl's grandpa, 92-year-old ex-KGB colonel Burt Walther. That Sandford makes this unlikely plot believable is a mark of his mastery of the technical aspects of the mystery form and a testament to his overall writing skills. Readers will be pleased with this relaxed version of the moody Minneapolis investigator. In past novels, the womanizing Davenport would have romanced the good-looking Russian lady, but the new Davenport is content to play the part of friend and protector and go back to his cozy family with an unstained and remarkably contented soul.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A Russian sailor is the victim of a professional assassination on the docks of Duluth. Wary of international implications, the governor of Minnesota asks Lucas Davenport, the chief investigator for the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to investigate. Major Nadezhda Kalin, a representative of Russian law enforcement, assists Davenport. The murder may be linked to the remnants of a dormant Soviet Union network established between the world wars but forgotten by the motherland. The descendants of the original network members have all melded into the American mainstream. Davenport and Kalin pursue the case through the rural mining towns of northern Minnesota even as they become the targets of the shadowy assassin. The sixteenth Prey novel is less harrowing and not as dark as many of its predecessors. It's also more humorous--even the suicide of a key character is accompanied by a sly, graveyard one-liner--with deft Davenport observations on the curious behavior of the opposite sex in general and on Russian women in particular. Similarities to previous Prey thrillers: high entertainment value; deftly rendered characterizations; and clever, believable dialogue. Expect another best-seller and stock up accordingly. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
I finished Hidden Prey by John Sandford a couple of days ago. This is the latest in his Prey series with main character Lucas Davenport. While I enjoyed it, it wasn't as good as some of his previous installments...
A Russian from a docked freighter is murdered on the docks. The killer notices a homeless woman who has witnessed the crime and takes off after her (but doesn't find her). A couple of days later, a homeless lady is found strangled and everyone thinks it's a connection to the first murder. Davenport is called in to help investigate the crime when Russia sends over a female "police chief" to help with the case. She is not who or what she seems to be, and it starts to look more and more like an espionage ring is responsible for the killing. It's up to Davenport to not only figure out who the killer is, but why the killings took place.
I like Sandford's writing and characters, so from that perspective I liked the book. What I didn't care for is how the story is structured. Murder mysteries seem to be written in two main styles. Either you don't have a clue who the killer is (and the story is tracking down who dun it), or you know right up front who the killer is (and you watch the action unfold as s/he is brought to justice). This is a blend of the two. You know who did the killing, and you watch them being tracked down, but there's no clue as to why the Russian was killed or how the espionage angle (which is very big in the story) figures in. Since you don't learn the "why" until very close to the end, I tended to lose some interest in the whole story. I was getting close to a "who cares" point. I'd probably give this a 3.5 stars if I could do half ratings, but since I can't I'll error on the up side.
In Naked Prey, Lucas was a pedal-to-the-metal, adrenaline oozing criminal-seeking missle who, quite frankly, effected me on the lizard brain level. This was a man that you would walk wide of in real life.
In Hidden Prey, he is more controlled, more cerebral, more unremarkable. Weather has won the battle to change him and, down deep, he doesn't really like it and neither do I. In fact, I get the clear impression of Ward Cleaver with a gun. Pity.
As for the story itself, it is the tried-and-true multi-layered, looking out through the eyes of the killer style that makes the Prey series the hit that it has been. It is just as solid as any in the series. Unfortunately, the guy behind the wheel isn't Mario Andretti anymore.
It's interesting that John Sandford has admitted that he is considering getting rid of Weather and the family for Lucas' last Prey adventure. If it returns him one last time to the ragged-edge cop of the earlier books, it's worth the sacrifice.
There's little rest for popular protagonist Lucas Davenport in this one. With the discovery of a dead Russian on the shores of Lake Superior Davenport feels like it's deja vu the Cold War in today's Minnesota.
Before long the FBI discovers that the murdered man had KGB connections. Was he a Russian intelligence agent? Everyone has both questions and theories - Davenport arrives on the scene, a Russian policeman jets in from Moscow, law enforcement officers investigate, and reporters of every ilk converge.
A barrage of violent events cloud the original crime: a homeless woman is garroted, a bar owner is attacked, and a police officer is shot. Despite the confusion Davenport finds out a few things he didn't want to know - this part of his home state once sheltered a bunch of Communist sympathizers, and there's every indication that this cell is alive and well once again.
There's much for Davenport to retrace - another place, another time - all of which puts him in peril. Yet, this must be done before he can begin to unravel this many layered mystery.
If you liked "Naked Prey" you'll be delighted WIth "Hidden Prey." Or, if you haven't read any of the Prey series - treat yourself.
It is in this capacity that he is sent to Duluth to investigate the murder of a Russian sailor. A Russian police officer named Nadya Kalin joins him there. He suspects she's really an intelligence officer.
Sanford also gives us a first-hand look at the murderer, a fourth generation member of a Communist sleeper cell who's still in high school. Another pivotal character is a homeless person who witnesses the crime and decides to keep the money she finds in the victim's money belt and to lay low. Assorted FBI agents and Iron Range police officers meander in and out of the plot. The leader of the sleeper cell is a ninety-two year old great-grandfather who had been a member of the Cheka, forerunner of the KGB.
I've read most of the "prey" novels and have always been most impressed by the banter going on between the principals. In this one it starts with Lucas's home life. Weather, a surgeon with little patience for garage-door-openers, crashes into the garage. Lucas's first thought is that his Porsche may have been damaged. He then goes on to sooth her feelings, knowing better than to say what he really thinks. The same kind of teasing happens with Nadya. During some down time, she's watching "Legally Blonde" and is puzzled by the impractical plot. Lucas convinces her that it's a true story. She says, "You're joking me, right?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I loved this entire series and still do, I keep waiting for the newest one to come out. this one did not disappointPublished 4 months ago by West Coast Mom
This might not be one of Johm Sandford's best books, but I still found it entertaining. He has a great imagination and uses it very well. Read morePublished on April 26 2013 by Linda J. Leclair
This was my first eBook, the process was fast and easy and the actual product was great. John Sandford is awesome as always!Published on Jan. 12 2013 by Amazon Customer
According to the critics this thriller is not Sandfords best. I must say I found it most enjoyable and very entertaining, in my opinion; it is a dynamic and satisfying read.Published on July 5 2007 by Toni Osborne
One of my favorite summer reads. There is plenty of action, several more brutal murders, and lots of interesting obsrvations regarding police work, but this is much more in the... Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2004
This is worse than Easy Prey. And not because Lucas is an old married man but because he seems to have lost all of his detecting ability. Read morePublished on July 19 2004 by Soyini
John Sandford has done well in keeping Lucas Sanderson such an interesting and complex character. In HIDDEN PREY, Lucas pairs up with a Russian agent, Nadya, in the search for the... Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by Michael Butts
I enjoy John Sandford's books, especially the Prey novels. But in 'Hidden Prey' the plot centers around a spy ring, instead of Davenport chasing down a killer. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by John Daley