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Winter Prey Hardcover – Mar 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T); 1st Edition edition (March 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399138153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399138157
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #503,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

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 �retired� 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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He calls himself the Iceman, and he runs a child porn ring in a tiny community in northern Wisconsin. In the depths of a bitter winter, he realizes that someone has a photo that can identify him and concludes it's the young daughter of a local family. In a grisly scene, he kills the father and mother, then tortures the daughter horribly before he decides that she doesn't have the photo. To make sure, he kills her and burns the house. The sheriff has never faced a crime of this magnitude, but Lucas Davenport, famed for his crime-solving with the Minneapolis police, is vacationing in a nearby cabin and joins the search for the killer. The hunt become more pressing as the Iceman continues to kill in search of the photo. The pace becomes steadily more frantic and ends in a terrific chase. The author throws you several red herrings, but you should figure out the Iceman's identity about halfway through the book. This doesn't detract from the suspense. I had trouble putting the book down. The characters are great, and icy, bitter cold is a main factor in the snowbound countryside. It's a great thriler - well worth reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Winter Prey maintains the standard of excellence established by Sandford in the previous volumes of the Prey series. In this work, he's able to knit together multiple themes into a coherent work. Among these themes is one with which, perhaps surprisingly, he hasn't really dealt in the preceding four books -- the extreme cold of the North. The cultural and natural effects of this are both memorably represented. But perhaps the strongest theme of the book is that of the manipulation of young minds. It's noteworthy that in the preview of this book at the end of Silent Prey, the Iceman was instead called the Teacher. The name is tragically appropriate.
Maybe the least strong feature of Sandford's writing is the depth with which he represents his characters. Yet by reading the series in order, this isn't as much as a problem as it would be for a standalone work. From book to book, characters, especially Lucas, become more familiar as they develop and progress. For this reason and others I strongly recommend these books be read in sequence.
Still, this book, more than Silent Prey, works on its own. While I give it the highest rating, five stars, as part of the series, by itself it's still worth four.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed the book. The Iceman was a scary character, and I enjoyed the other characters in the book, with a good plot. It turned out to be a whodunit. An earlier reviewer made some comments about the author not distinguishing homosexulality and pedophilia in the book. I didn't get that. There were some characters accused of homosexuality, and there were some characters involved in pedophilia. I don't think he blurred the lines at all. He didn't specifically define homosexuality and pedophilia in the book, but I assume he figured he didn't need to with an adult audience.
My beef with the book was his treatment of the man in the wheelchair and the teacher at the vocational school. Davenport and a Milwaulkee cop enter the home of the wheelchair man, and he admits to producing the child porn magazine, and sending it to a printing teacher at the vocational school. He then shows them a closet stacked full of each issue he's produced. Where I'm from (a few hours drive from wisconsin), that is a serious felonly, with serious penalties, and the cops would jack the jail up and throw these guys underneath it in real life. Sanford portrays the cops as semi-tolerant of this activity, similiar to the way a cop may question a prostitute, and threaten to take her in, but really doesn't want to because it's not that major a crime. That doesn't seem true to life at all. In most or all areas of the US, mere posession of child porn is very serious, and manufacture and distribution is treated even more harshly. These guys would have been charged with several felony counts right away.
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