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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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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
By Charles Ashbacher TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter Cold Murders April 26 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable new chapter of Prey Aug. 19 2000
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, with a questionable plot point. Aug. 15 2000
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
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... Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sandford Novel Ever
This was the greatest effort, in my opinion, offered by Sandford's portrayal of tough cop, Lucas Davenport. Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by J. Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best of Prey
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. Read more
Published on May 6 2003 by 1
1.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE!!
A sad mess. Stilted dialogue. Awkward sentence structure. Predictable piece of junk.
Not a nuance from beginning to end. Not a suggestion of humor. Read more
Published on March 11 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucas Davenport Rules!
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2003 by Mary Aubuchon
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner for John Sanford
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... Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2002 by Tanya L. Schaub
4.0 out of 5 stars Winter Prey - Sandford
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. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2002 by Chris MB
3.0 out of 5 stars I love John Sanford.
This is another scary tale by Sanford.
Published on March 31 2002 by Joyce Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars Conjures Up A B-rated Movie
A friend suggested reading Sandford and so I did with this particular story. It develops suspense and I did want to know who the terrible villain was, but as it turned out the perp... Read more
Published on March 20 2002 by "dukerman1"
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
This is the one book that Mr. (Camp) Sandford has written that you actually feel the cold. Any time an author can make you experience the climate he/she is doing their best. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2002 by John B. Drew
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