Broken Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #16)

Broken Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #16)

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by John Sandford
     
 

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The first body is of a young woman, found on a Minneapolis riverbank, her throat cut, her body scourged and put on display. Whoever did this, Lucas Davenport knows, is pushed by brain chemistry. There is something wrong with him. This isn’t a bad love affair.

The second body is found three weeks later, in a farmhouse six miles south. Same condition, same

Overview

The first body is of a young woman, found on a Minneapolis riverbank, her throat cut, her body scourged and put on display. Whoever did this, Lucas Davenport knows, is pushed by brain chemistry. There is something wrong with him. This isn’t a bad love affair.

The second body is found three weeks later, in a farmhouse six miles south. Same condition, same display—except this time it is a man. Nothing to link the two victims, nothing to indicate that the killings end here.

“This guy…” Lucas said. He took a deep breath, let it out as a sigh. “This guy is going to bust our chops.” 

And soon he is going to do far, far worse than that…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“John Sandford delivers yet another blistering tale from the life of Lucas Davenport, surely one of the most attractive cops on the crime-fiction beat today…The plot is complex and full of red herrings.”—The Associated Press

“Sandford ratchets up the tension and suspense in tough, spare prose that shows us rather than tells us what is going on…Broken Prey more than lives up to its predecessors in what has become a bestselling franchise in the mystery/thriller genre.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Nonstop tension.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The plotline twists (just when you think you have everything figured out, you don’t) will surprise even the most jaded reader of thrillers…Broken Prey is taut and tangy. A reader who expects to read half one night and half the next may find his or her light on well into the small hours, unable to stop till the final page. That’s Sandford’s trademark, and a fine one at that.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Sandford is probably the best thriller writer working today, and his ‘Prey’ series is proof. In this one, Lucas Davenport tracks a particularly disturbing serial killer.”—San Antonio Express-News

“A real whodunit…it contains supersized servings of all the elements readers have come to treasure in the series: Davenport’s quirky, self-deprecating, and ironic worldview; plenty of graveyard humor; and a dynamic sense of place, from the Minnesota countryside to the foreboding gothic architecture of the asylum. An extra treat is Davenport’s ongoing mental gyrations as he compiles a list of rock’s 100 greatest tunes for his new iPod. His musical critiques are pure rock-fan, and the final list is a hoot. Byzantine plot, memorable characters, and a subliminal soundtrack of classic rock ’n’ roll. What’s not to like?”—Booklist (starred review)

“A tale so fast-moving you won’t even notice the unobtrusively expert detective work till the second time around.”—Kirkus Reviews

For years, a trio of vicious serial murderers has been locked behind bars in Minnesota Security Hospital. But a new killer is on the loose, and his bloody handiwork manifests disturbing similarities to the techniques of the "Big Three." Are these monsters outsourcing terror? Only Lucas Davenport can face down this living nightmare.
Publishers Weekly
Sandford sends series hero Lucas Davenport's family off to London to ensure that domestic concerns never slow the action in this sexy, bloody thriller. Davenport, a Minnesota State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator, had lately been doing political fix-it jobs for the governor, but this time he's got a psychopathic serial killer on his hands. ("All major metro areas had them, sometimes two and three at a time. The public had the impression that they were rare. They weren't.") The first victim, a young woman, was "scourged" with a wire whip; number two, a young man, had his penis cut off. Evidence first points to recently released sex offender Charlie Pope. Though Charlie is pretty dumb and the killer is extremely smart, it takes Davenport and his series partner, Detective Sloan, a while to realize they're chasing the wrong guy. Sandford introduces some lighter moments, the most entertaining about Davenport's new iPod and his quest to compile a list of the 100 best rock songs ever recorded, which every cop on the force gives him suggestions for. These moments allow readers to catch their breath amid the otherwise nonstop tension as the killer taunts the authorities while snaring more victims, and the cops race around the countryside always just a few minutes too late. For those who thought Davenport (and Sandford) were slowing down and showing signs of age and prosperity, this superlative entry will dispel all such notions. This is tough, unstoppable, white-knuckle fiction. Agent, Esther Newberg. 500,000 first printing; main selections of the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild and BOMC. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Lucas Davenport is back, and, yes, this is billed as his scariest adventure yet. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Now that Lucas Davenport's gone up against a Russian spy ring (Hidden Prey, 2004), it's almost anticlimactic to ask him to catch a mere serial killer. But that's the only anticlimax here. What are the odds that the M.O. behind Angela Larson's murder-she was bound, scourged with a wire whip, and repeatedly raped before her throat was cut and her body laid out in a ritualistic display-would be repeated with a male victim? But Adam Rice, an old acquaintance of Blue Earth County sheriff Gene Nordwall's, presents the same grisly picture. Was their killer gay or bisexual? How did he find his victims? And what do they have in common? Lucas, who runs the Office of Regional Research for the Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is all over the case, amassing evidence against Charlie Pope, a sex offender just released from St. John's Security Hospital with a few months to run on his sentence but his attitude still intact. Charlie has celebrated his freedom by sawing off his ankle monitor and vanishing-except for the trace evidence he's left at the crime scenes and the phone calls he makes, first to ambitious Star-Tribune reporter Ruffe Ignace, then to Lucas himself. The only trouble is that Charlie's clearly not smart enough to be the murderer. He must be getting help from somebody-maybe from one of the habitual Big Three offenders he spent time with at St. John's. Wondering whether anybody not named Hannibal Lecter can be issuing murderous instructions from inside a prison, Lucas and Co. hunker down to take a long hard look at the hospital just as things start to get really interesting. A tale so fast-moving you won't even notice the unobtrusively expert detective work till the second timearound. First printing of 500,000; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; Literary Guild main selection; author tour

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425204306
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/02/2006
Series:
Lucas Davenport Series, #16
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
84,263
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 4.58(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

1

CHARLIE POPE TRUDGED down the alley with the empty garbage can on his back, soaked in the stench of rancid meat and rotten bananas and curdled blood and God knew what else, a man whose life had collapsed into a trash pit—and still he could feel the eyes falling on him.

The secret glances and veiled gazes spattered him like sleet from a winter thunderstorm. Everyone in town knew Charlie Pope, and they all watched him.

He’d been on the front page of the newspaper a half dozen times, his worried pig-eyed face peering out from the drop boxes and the shelves of the supermarkets. They got him when he registered as a sex offender, they got him outside his trailer, they got him carrying his can.

Pervert Among Us, the papers said, Sex Maniac Stalks Our Daughters, How Long Will He Contain Himself Before Something Goes Terribly Wrong? Well—they didn’t really say that, but that’s exactly what they meant.

Charlie tossed the empty garbage can to the side, stooped over the next one, lifted, staggered, and headed for the street. Heavy motherfucker. What’d they put in there, fuckin’ typewriters? How can they expect a white man to keep up with these fuckin’ Mexicans?

All the other garbagemen were Mexicans, small guys from some obscure village down in the mountains. They worked incessantly, chattering in Spanish to isolate him, curling their lips at the American pervert who was made to work among them.

CHARLIE WAS A LARGE MAN, more fat than muscle, with a football-shaped head, sloping shoulders, and short, thick legs. He was bald, but his ears were hairy; he had a diminutive chin, tiny lips, and deep-set, dime-sized eyes that glistened with fluid. Noticeable and not attractive. He looked like a maniac, a newspaper columnist said.

He was a maniac. The electronic bracelet on his ankle testified to the fact. The cops had busted him and put him away for rape and aggravated assault, and suspected him in three other assaults and two murders. He’d done them, all right, and had gotten away with it, all but the one rape and ag assault. For that, they’d sent him to the hospital for eight years.

Hospital. The thought made his lips crook up in a cynical smile.

St. John’s was to hospitals what a meat hook was to a hog.

CHARLIE PUSHED BACK the thought of St. John’s and wiped the sweat out of his eyebrows, wrestled the garbage cans out to the truck, lifting, throwing, then dragging and sometimes kicking the cans back to the customers’ doors. He could smell himself in the sunshine: he smelled like sweat and spoiled cheese and rotten pork, like sour milk and curdled fat, like life gone bad.

He’d thought he’d get used to it, but he never had. He smelled garbage every morning when he got to work, smelled it on himself all day, smelled it in his sweat, smelled it on his pillow in that hot, miserable trailer.

Hot and miserable, but better than St. John’s.

EARLY MORNING.

Charlie was across the park from the famous Sullivan Bank when the chick in the raspberry-colored pants went by. The last straw? The straw that broke the camel’s back?

Her brown eyes struck Charlie as cold raindrops, then flicked away when he turned at the impact; he was left with the impression of soft brown eyebrows, fine skin, and raspberry lipstick.

She had a heart-shaped ass.

She was wearing a cream-colored silk blouse, hip-clinging slacks, and low heels that lengthened her legs and tightened her ass at the same. She walked with that long busy confident stride seen on young businesswomen, full of themselves and still strangers to hard decision and failure.

And honest to God, her ass was heart shaped. Charlie felt a catch of desire in his throat.

Her hips twitched sideways with each of her steps: like two bobcats fighting in a gunny sack, somebody had once said, one of the other perverts at St. John’s, trying to be funny. But it wasn’t like that at all. It was a soft move, it was the motion of the world, right there in the raspberry slacks, with the slender back tapering down to her waist, her heels clicking on the sidewalk, her shoulder-length hair swinging in a backbeat to the rhythm of her legs.

Jesus God, he needed one. He’d been eight and a half years without real sex.

Charlie’s tongue flicked out like a lizard’s as he looked after her, and he could taste the garbage on his lips, could feel—even if they weren’t there at this minute, he could feel them—the flies buzzing around his head.

Charlie Pope, thirty-four, a maniac, smelling like old banana peels and spoiled coffee grounds, standing on the street in Owatonna, passing eyes like icy raindrops, looking at a girl with a heart-shaped ass in raspberry slacks, and telling himself,

“I gotta get me some of that. I just gotta...”

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“John Sandford delivers yet another blistering tale from the life of Lucas Davenport, surely one of the most attractive cops on the crime-fiction beat today…The plot is complex and full of red herrings.”—The Associated Press

“Sandford ratchets up the tension and suspense in tough, spare prose that shows us rather than tells us what is going on…Broken Prey more than lives up to its predecessors in what has become a bestselling franchise in the mystery/thriller genre.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Nonstop tension.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The plotline twists (just when you think you have everything figured out, you don’t) will surprise even the most jaded reader of thrillers…Broken Prey is taut and tangy. A reader who expects to read half one night and half the next may find his or her light on well into the small hours, unable to stop till the final page. That’s Sandford’s trademark, and a fine one at that.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Sandford is probably the best thriller writer working today, and his ‘Prey’ series is proof. In this one, Lucas Davenport tracks a particularly disturbing serial killer.”—San Antonio Express-News

“A real whodunit…it contains supersized servings of all the elements readers have come to treasure in the series: Davenport’s quirky, self-deprecating, and ironic worldview; plenty of graveyard humor; and a dynamic sense of place, from the Minnesota countryside to the foreboding gothic architecture of the asylum. An extra treat is Davenport’s ongoing mental gyrations as he compiles a list of rock’s 100 greatest tunes for his new iPod. His musical critiques are pure rock-fan, and the final list is a hoot. Byzantine plot, memorable characters, and a subliminal soundtrack of classic rock ’n’ roll. What’s not to like?”—Booklist (starred review)

“A tale so fast-moving you won’t even notice the unobtrusively expert detective work till the second time around.”—Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author

John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist John Camp. He is the author of the Prey novels, the Kidd novels, the Virgil Flowers novels, The Night Crew, and Dead Watch. He lives in New Mexico.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
St. Paul, Minnesota
Date of Birth:
February 23, 1944
Place of Birth:
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Education:
State University of Iowa, Iowa City: B.A., American History; M.A., Journalism
Website:
http://www.johnsandford.org

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Broken Prey 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The first body that of Angela Larson was found in a posed position, her body scourged, her neck sliced open, and ligature marks on her hands. The second corpse Adam Rice is found in the same manner with his young son killed as an afterthought. Lucas Davenport, who was at both crime scenes, concludes that the same person did the killings. When the news leaks to the media, parole officer Mark Fox Calls Davenport and tells him he thinks his parolee Charlie Pope, who was just released from St. John¿s mental institution for raping and strangling a woman was the perpetrator....................... Charlie is nowhere to be found. His trailer is deserted, he failed to show up for his job and the electronic surveillance bracelet he was forced to wear was cut open. He gets in contact with newspaper reporter Russell Ignace of the Star Tribune and tells him that he has a third victim that he will kill next. When Lucas learns of this, he leads a massive search to find the perpetrator but he is too late. Now Lucas really is determined to do whatever it takes to find and cage the killer...................... John Sandford writes the best police procedurals on the market today. The killer is playing a diabolical game, constantly shifting the evidence so it falls on the wrong person and Lucas doesn¿t catch on to the scheme until three innocent lives are lost. Even when he figured out what is happening, there is so many viable suspects that he and the readers will find it near impossible to identify of the killer. This who-done-it is one of the best Lucas Davenport tales in this long running series.................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always enjoyed this Prey novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandford wrote another winner. The hero's are always believable and the villains are always nasty. Loved it.
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Birdiemom More than 1 year ago
You see, I love Lucas Davenport, and John Sandford's development of this character over time has given the Davenport Books a richness not often found in plain old mystery novels. And the plot is great - lots of twists and turns and OMG! moments. Great read. And he doesn't short you for pages as do some authors.
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Great read!
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I'm making my way thru the J.S. "Prey Series" from start-to-finish & this is my favorite of the 16 I have read to-date. It's such a well-crafted story, told in a breathtaking way. There's not a single wasted word in this showcase of his writing style. I know this borders on cliche, but I literally couldn't put it down.
seldombites More than 1 year ago
I found the beginning of this book a little disconcerting as it chopped and changed a fair bit. However, once I got into the story, I was hooked. The author maintains a good level of suspense throughout and the plot has more twists and turns than you would find in a maze. Interestingly, I was completely unable to pick the culprit until the author was ready for me to do so, which is fairly rare these days. If you like murder mysteries, you will love this book.
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