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Winter Prey [Hardcover]

John Sandford
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1993 Lucas Davenport Mysteries
Called in to assist the sheriff from a remote, rural area of Wisconsin in his investigation into a brutal triple homicide, Lucas Davenport begins to uncover a shocking series of vicious crimes that stun even Davenport with their evil intent. By the author of Eyes of Prey.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The author of four previous mystery thrillers starring Lucas Davenport ( Rules of Prey , etc.) evokes with precision and clarity two disparate, but equally unsettling types of harshness: the raw power of nature and the pitilessness of certain human beings. In a rural area of northern Wisconsin, a family of three is savagely wiped out by the Iceman, who then torches their house. In pursuit of a damaging photograph--a snapshot of him in a sexual situation with a local boy--this fiend puts no value on human life. Enter Davenport, the laconic, slightly cynical ex-cop from Minneapolis, who uncovers several disturbing truths before determining the Iceman's identity. The wintry climate is practically palpable here; numbing cold and blizzards prove as threatening as the Iceman's malevolence. Despite its chilling moments (literally and figuratively), this forceful narrative is tempered with an unexpected humanity, as evidenced primarily in the mature, slowly blossoming romance between Davenport and a local doctor. The moments of tenderness and humor shared by the rugged detective and this worldlywise Mother Earth figure stand in vigorous counterpoint to the surrounding events. Sandford casts a keen eye, too, on small-town life: he knows that everyone's peccadillos are grist for the rumor mill, and that secrets can quickly sour. A compelling vitality suffuses this novel, arguably the finest in a sterling quintet.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Vastly entertaining fifth entry in Sandford's popular Prey series (Silent Prey, 1992, etc.). This time, ex-cop and master- gamesman Lucas Davenport takes on a crazed killer ravaging a small Wisconsin town. The killer, who calls himself ``the Iceman'' for his sang- froid, debuts in the creepy opening pages by stalking an isolated house, gunning down the woman inside, chopping up her husband, and torturing their daughter--all in a failed attempt to retrieve an incriminating photo that's fallen into the victims' hands. It's a gruesome start, but Sandford splatters the gore mostly off-page, relying on suspense--and there's plenty of it--to jangle readers' nerves. When the bodies are found, the local sheriff calls in Davenport to help. Arriving in town, Davenport, who's at loose ends in his life, finds himself facing two enemies: the Iceman, but also record cold and snow that's frozen the town into a death-trap. His investigation--which hinges on retrieving the photo before the Iceman does--stalls in the face of challenging puzzles centering on time-of-death and a seemingly reluctant witness, but it also butts him up against some marvelous characters, including a female M.D. with whom he falls eagerly in love. Meanwhile, the Iceman slays anyone who might know about the photo--which, it turns out, shows him having sex with a local boy, his first victim: The Iceman heads a child-porn ring. When Davenport--who's been revitalized by the case--at last recovers the photo, the Iceman's surprising identity is revealed, leading to a furious climactic chase on snowmobiles through dark woods and howling wind--and to Davenport and the Iceman each having a tˆte-…-tˆte with death. Crackling action, a clever mystery, and characters who breathe make this great fun: one of the best Preys yet and a must for thriller fans. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good June 4 2004
By Louise
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lucas Davenport is feeling the ice-cold winter in this book in the prey-series. A horrible killer is on the loose, and contrary to many Davnport novels, the reader does not initially know who the killer is. But we are inside his mind all the time, we are inside his house, we listen to his talk, his thoughts and his 'family's' thoughts. And those are chilling thoughts. We know that the killer wants to kill Weather, the small-town doctor, who will later become Davenports girlfriend. The town's sheriff is trying to help as good as he can, but has issues on his own, specially after the town priest become suspect number one. All the evidence points this way, and it is now up to Daenport to sort through what is right and what is wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sandford Novel Ever May 26 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the greatest effort, in my opinion, offered by Sandford's portrayal of tough cop, Lucas Davenport. The setting is in Wisconsin during the winter with temperatures at sub-zero levels. He, along with the Sherrif's department in the county, are on the prowl for a cold-blooded killer nicknamed, "The Iceman."
What separated this book from the others was that the ending was very much a surprise. Unlike other Davenport novels, we usually know the killer in the beginning but in this one, we can only guess until he is revealed at the very end. A great nail-biting thriller.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best of Prey May 6 2003
By 1
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a huge fan of the Prey series and perhaps after reading too much of any series, one may tire a bit of the formula. I don't know but I found this installment to be uninspired and a tad tedious.
The subject of child porn should be a truly galvanizing and disturbing thing - simply because it is a hrrific thing - but the treatment by Sandford left me infifferent to the fate of just about everyone.
Sandford's better than this.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story begins with the actions of a serial killer who is attempting to cover his involvement in a sexploitation ring in Minnesota by killing the members of a family. When he is unable to recover an incriminating photograph by torturing the teenage girl, he sets fire to the house in an attempt to destroy the picture. The killer is referred to as the Ice Man, due to the detached and brutal manner he carries out his attempts to avoid being discovered.
Due to the nature of the murders and others that may be related, Lucas Davenport, a tough detective renowned for catching serial killers and recently ï¿retiredï¿ to the area is asked by the local sheriff to help with catching the killer. Davenport takes on the case and for some time remains a step behind the killer as he tries to determine what the real motives are. Finally, he recovers the photo, only to learn it is of such poor quality that there is nothing of value. However, he does get a break, obtaining a copy of an enhanced original, and the evidence is immediate and clearly identifies the killer.
The story is intense and it was difficult to pull myself away towards the end. I listen to books on tape in my car as I commute to work and several times I sat in my car for several minutes listening until a break point was reached. Like all good mysteries, there was a clue very early in the book that strongly pointed to the killer, but it was subtle enough so that it was not obvious.
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1.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE!! March 11 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A sad mess. Stilted dialogue. Awkward sentence structure. Predictable piece of junk.
Not a nuance from beginning to end. Not a suggestion of humor. No insights into motivation,or character development.
How can this be published when there are great books out there by Ruth Rendel, PD James, and even Robert Parker who can make you laugh and think?
I am amazed that other reviews on this page say that this is Sandford's best. Maybe it is; but I will never know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucas Davenport Rules! Jan. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is my favorite of all the "Prey" books although Rules of Prey is really close. John Sandford spoils you for reading anything else. Wish he could write faster. Lucas Davenport is a great person to live through vicariously!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner for John Sanford Oct. 14 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
This is the story where Lucas finally meets Weather for the first time. After a long hard case in NY Lucas has decided to take some R&R in his cabin in upper WI, and then doesn't return for months.... While his gaming company is doing well he has become a recluse and lost/lonely person.
The Iceman is what will bring Lucas back to life. A brutal killing happens during a snowstorm (3 dead and a horrific fire also)not far from Lucas's cabin. Lucas is called in to see if he will help to determine the killer. Intrigued from the start he becomes part of the team instantally. Directing how the investigation is going...
See if you can figure out who the killer is before Lucas does...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Winter Prey - Sandford Sept. 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lucas Davenport is back and better than ever. With Winter Prey, Sandford relocates Davenport yet again, this time to the frozen countryside of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sandford's last Prey novel, Silent Prey, tried something similar, moving Davenport to NYC but it was, unfortunately, not at all successful. Luckily Winter Prey proves to be a much better installment in the series.
Much of the action and plot of the book follows Sandford's "prey format" and Sandford doesn't disappoint in Winter Prey. Quite a bit of the appeal in these stories is derived from the evolving back-story and the development of Davenport. And while Winter Prey largely ignored recurring characters seen in previous novels, Sandford's characters were likable and I can only hope that some of them return.
Overall, if you felt burned by Silent Prey, you'll feel much better after Winter Prey. A real page-turner.
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