Winter Prey Hardcover – Mar 1993
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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 tte- -tte 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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¿½retiredï¿½ 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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on June 4 2004 by Louise
This was the greatest effort, in my opinion, offered by Sandford's portrayal of tough cop, Lucas Davenport. Read morePublished on May 26 2004 by J. Lewis
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 morePublished on May 6 2003 by Heisenberg
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
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 morePublished on Jan. 14 2003 by Mary Aubuchon
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 morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by TSchlaack
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 morePublished on Sept. 17 2002 by Chris MB
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 morePublished on March 20 2002