Eyes of Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Lt. Lucas Davenport, the heroic detective introduced in Rules of Prey, faces his most terrifying case when a series of gruesome mutilation killings shocks Minneapolis. Davenport's case will either bring him back to life--or send him over the edge. "One of the nastiest villains in recent fiction. . . ."--Publishers Weekly.

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Eyes of Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #3)

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Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Lt. Lucas Davenport, the heroic detective introduced in Rules of Prey, faces his most terrifying case when a series of gruesome mutilation killings shocks Minneapolis. Davenport's case will either bring him back to life--or send him over the edge. "One of the nastiest villains in recent fiction. . . ."--Publishers Weekly.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
Relentlessly swift. Genuinely suspenseful...Excellent.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sandford ( Shadow Prey ) brings back Minneapolis police Lt. Lucas Davenport in this terrific, fast-moving psycho-thriller/procedural featuring one of the nastiest villains in recent fiction. Michael Bekker, a pathologist fixed on his own beauty, various high-powered drugs and hatred of his wife, also is obsessed with the eyes of the dead and dying. He joins forces with Carlo Druze, an actor with a face ruined by fire, to kill Bekker's wife and the theater manager who wants to cashier Druze. Druze kills and mutilates Mrs. Bekker when Bekker's out of town; Bekker returns the favor when Druze has a solid alibi, leading the Minneapolis police to suspect a serial killer. Fighting depression, estranged from his lover and their child, Davenport seeks a frightened mystery witness, Mrs. Bekker's lover, who tries to help while remaining hidden. To cover their tracks Bekker and Cruze go on a murderous, almost random rampage providing many gory scenes, but mercifully none too explicit. Nobody's safe from Bekker's drug-powered cunning, not sick children nor a helpless invalid. The final revelation of the unknown lover is wrenching. Pulitzer-winning journalist ``Sandford'' also writes as John Camp ( The Empress File ). BOMC and Mysterious Book Club alternates. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101146231
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Series: Lucas Davenport Series , #3
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 6,651
  • File size: 519 KB

Meet the Author

"Like the best writers in this genre—Dashiell Hammett, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain among them—John Sandford evokes his netherworld with authentic dialogue and meticulous details."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

John Sandford is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. Camp was born in 1944 and was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He received his B.A. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, and received his first training as a journalist and reporter when he was in Korea for 15 months working for his base paper.



After the army, Camp spent 10 months working for the Cape Girardeau Se Missourian newspaper before returning to the University of Iowa for his Masters in Journalism. From 1971 to 1978, he worked as a general assignment reporter for the Miami Herald, covering killings and drug cases, among other beats, with his colleague, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edna Buchanan.



In 1978, Camp joined the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a features reporter. He became a daily columnist at the newspaper in 1980. In the same year, he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for an article he wrote on the Native American communities in Minnesota and North Dakota and their modern day social problems. In 1986, Camp won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for a series of articles on the farm crisis in the Midwest.



Camp has written fourteen books in the bestselling "Prey" series under the name John Sandford. The titles in this series, which features Lucas Davenport, include Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Silent Prey, Winter Prey, Night Prey, Mind Prey, Sudden Prey, Secret Prey, Certain Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Naked Prey, Broken Prey, Invisible Prey, and now, Phantom Prey.

With the "Prey" series, Sandford has displayed a brilliance of characterization and pace that has earned him wide praise and made the books national bestsellers. He has been hailed as a "born storyteller" (San Diego Tribune), his work as "the kind of trimmed-to-the-bone thriller you can't put down" (Chicago Tribune), and Davenport as "one of the most engaging (and iconoclastic) characters in contemporary fiction." (Detroit News)



Biography

John Camp (better known to readers as thrillmeister John Sandford) began his career as a journalist -- first as a crime reporter for The Miami Herald, then as a general reporter, columnist, and features writer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch. In 1986, he won the Pulitzer Prize for "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family," a five-part series examining the farm crisis in southwest Minnesota.

Camp's interests turned to fiction in the mid-1980s, and he took time off to write two novels which were ultimately accepted for publication: The Fool's Run, a techno-thriller featuring a complex con man known as Kidd, and Rules of Prey, a police procedural starring maverick Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. When both books were scheduled (by different publishers) to be released three months apart in 1989, Camp was persuaded to adopt a pseudonym for one. He chose his paternal grandmother's maiden name, "Sandford" for Rules of Prey, and the nom de plume has remained attached to all the books in the series.

Less Dick Tracy than Dirty Harry, hard-boiled, iconoclastic Lucas Davenport is a composite of the cops Camp met while working the crime beat as a reporter. Intelligent and street smart, Davenport is also manipulative and not above bending the rules to get results. And although he has mellowed over time (something of a skirt chaser in his youth, he is now married with children), he remains one of the edgiest and most popular protagonists in detective fiction. Fans keep returning to the Prey books for their intelligently hatched plots, high-octane pacing, and deft, fully human characterizations.

From time to time, Camp strays from his bestselling series for standalone thrillers (The Night Crew, Dead Watch), and in 2007 he introduced a new series hero, Virgil Flowers of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who debuted in Dark of the Moon. Although he is no longer a full-time journalist, Camp contributes occasional articles and book reviews to various publications. He is also a passionate archaeologist and has worked at a number of digs, mainly in Israel.

Good To Know

Don't confuse John Sandford with John Sanford -- it's one of Sandford's pet peeves. Sanford (without the "d") is a Christian philosophy writer.

The Sandford pseudonym has caused a few problems for Camp in the past. At an airport once, his ticket was reserved under Sandford, while all of his identification, of course, had the name Camp. Luckily, he had one of his novels with him, and thanks to the book jacket photo, he was able to convince airport security to let him on the plane.

The books in Camp's less successful Kidd series (The Fool's Run, The Empress File, The Devil's Code, and The Hanged Man's Song) have been re-released under the Sandford pseudonym.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Roswell Camp
    2. Hometown:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 23, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    1. Education:
      State University of Iowa, Iowa City: B.A., American History; M.A., Journalism
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1

Carlo Druze was a stone killer.

He sauntered down the old, gritty sidewalk with its cracked, uneven paving blocks, under the bare- branched oaks. He was acutely aware of his surroundings. Back around the corner, near his car, the odor of cigar smoke hung in the cold night air; a hundred feet farther along, he’d touched a pool of fragrance, deodorant or cheap perfume. A Mötley Crüe song beat down from a second- story bedroom: plainly audible on the sidewalk, it had to be deafening inside.

Two blocks ahead, to the right, a translucent cream-colored shade came down in a lighted window. He watched the window, but nothing else moved. A vagrant snowflake drifted past, then another.

Druze could kill without feeling, but he wasn’t stupid. He took care: he would not spend his life in prison. So he strolled, hands in his pockets, a man at his leisure. Watching. Feeling. The collar of his ski jacket rose to his ears on the sides, to his nose in the front. A watch cap rode low on his forehead. If he met anyone— a dog-walker, a night jogger— they’d get nothing but eyes.

From the mouth of the alley, he could see the target house and the garage behind it. Nobody in the alley, nothing moving. A few garbage cans, like battered plastic toadstools, waited to be taken inside. Four windows were lit on the ground floor of the target house, two more up above. The garage was dark.

Druze didn’t look around; he was too good an actor. It wasn’t likely that a neighbor was watching, but who could know? An old man, lonely, standing at his window, a linen shawl around his narrow shoulders . . . Druze could see him in his mind’s eye, and was wary: the people here had money, and Druze was a stranger in the dark. An out- of- place furtiveness, like a bad line on the stage, would be noticed. The cops were only a minute away.

With a casual step, then, rather than a sudden move, Druze turned into the darker world of the alley and walked down to the garage. It was connected to the house by a glassed- in breezeway. The door at the end of the breezeway would not be locked; it led straight into the kitchen.

“If she’s not in the kitchen, she’ll be in the recreation room, watching television,” Bekker had said. Bekker had been aglow, his face pulsing with the heat of uncontrolled pleasure. He’d drawn the floor plan on a sheet of notebook paper and traced the hallways with the point of his pencil. The pencil had trembled on the paper, leaving a shaky worm trail in graphite. “Christ, I wish I could be there to see it.”

Druze took the key out of his pocket, pulled it out by its string. He’d tied the string to a belt loop, so there’d be no chance he’d lose the key in the house. He reached out to the doorknob with his gloved left hand, tried it. Locked. The key opened it easily. He shut the door behind him and stood in the dark, listening. A scurrying? A mouse in the loft? The sound of the wind brushing over the shingles. He waited, listening.

Druze was a troll. He had been burned as a child. Some nights, bad nights, the memories ran uncontrollably through his head, and he’d doze, wretchedly, twisting in the blankets, knowing what was coming, afraid. He’d wake in his childhood bed, the fire on him. On his hands, his face, running like liquid, in his nose, his hair, his mother screaming, throwing water and milk, his father flapping his arms, shouting, ineffectual . . .

They hadn’t taken him to the hospital until the next day. His mother had smeared lard on him, hoping not to pay, as Druze howled through the night. But in the morning light, when they’d seen his nose, they took him.

He was four weeks in the county hospital, shrieking with pain as the nurses put him through the baths and the peels, as the doctors did the skin transplants. They’d harvested the skin from his thighs— he remembered the word, all these years later, harvested, it stuck in his mind like a tick— and used it to patch his face.

When they’d finished he looked better, but not good. The features of his face seemed fused together, as though an invisible nylon stocking were pulled over his head. His skin was no better, a patchwork of leather, off- color, pebbled, like a quilted football. His nose had been fixed, as best the doctors could, but it was too short, his nostrils flaring straight out, like black headlights. His lips were stiff and thin, and dried easily. He licked them, unconsciously, his tongue flicking out every few seconds with a lizard’s touch.

The doctors had given him the new face, but his eyes were his own.

His eyes were flat black and opaque, like weathered paint on the eyes of a cigar- store Indian. New acquaintances sometimes thought he was blind, but he was not. His eyes were the mirror of his soul: Druze hadn’t had one since the night of the burning. . . .

The garage was silent. Nobody called out, no telephone rang. Druze tucked the key into his pants pocket and took a black four-inch milled-aluminum penlight out of his jacket. With the light’s narrow beam, he skirted the car and picked his way through the litter of the garage. Bekker had warned him of this: the woman was a gardener. The unused half of the garage was littered with shovels, rakes, hoes, garden trowels, red clay pots, both broken and whole, sacks of fertilizer and partial bales of peat moss. A power cultivator sat next to a lawn mower and a snowblower. The place smelled half of earth and half of gasoline, a pungent, yeasty mixture that pulled him back to his childhood. Druze had grown up on a farm, poor, living in a trailer with a propane tank, closer to the chicken coop than the main house. He knew about kitchen gardens, old, oil- leaking machinery and the stink of manure.

The door between the garage and the breezeway was closed but not locked. The breezeway itself was six feet wide and as cluttered as the garage. “She uses it as a spring greenhouse— watch the tomato flats on the south side, they’ll be all over the place,” Bekker had said. “You’ll need the light, but she won’t be able to see it from either the kitchen or the recreation room. Check the windows on the left. That’s the study, and she could see you from there— but she won’t be in the study. She never is. You’ll be okay.”

Bekker was a meticulous planner, delighted with his own precise work. As he led Druze through the floor plan with his pencil, he’d stopped once to laugh. His laugh was his worst feature, Druze decided. Harsh, scratching, it sounded like the squawk of a crow pursued by owls. . . .

Druze walked easily through the breezeway, stepping precisely toward the lighted window in the door at the end of the passage. He was bulky but not fat. He was, in fact, an athlete: he could juggle, he could dance, he could balance on a rope; he could jump in the air and click his heels and land lightly enough that the audience could hear the click alone, like a spoken word. Midway through, he heard a voice and paused.

A voice, singing. Sweet, naive, like a high- school chorister’s. A woman, the words muffled. He recognized the tune but didn’t know its name. Something from the sixties. A Joan Baez song maybe. The focus was getting tighter. He didn’t doubt that he could do her. Killing Stephanie Bekker would be no more difficult than chopping off a chicken’s head or slitting the throat of a baby pig. Just a shoat, he said to himself. It’s all meat. . . .

Druze had done another murder, years earlier. He’d told Bekker about it, over a beer. It wasn’t a confession, simply a story. And now, so many years later, the killing seemed more like an accident than a murder. Even less than that: like a scene from a half- forgotten drive- in movie, a movie where you couldn’t remember the end. A girl in a New York flophouse. A hooker maybe, a druggie for sure. She gave him some shit. Nobody cared, so he killed her. Almost as an experiment, to see if it would rouse some feeling in him. It hadn’t.

He never knew the hooker’s name, doubted that he could even find the flophouse, if it still existed. At this date, he probably couldn’t figure out what week of the year it had been: the summer, sometime, everything hot and stinking, the smell of spoiled milk and rotting lettuce in sidewalk Dumpsters . . .

“Didn’t bother me,” he had told Bekker, who pressed him. “It wasn’t like . . . Shit, it wasn’t like anything. Shut the bitch up, that’s for sure.”

“Did you hit her? In the face?” Bekker had been intent, the eyes of science. It was, Druze thought, the moment they had become friends. He remembered it with perfect clarity: the bar, the scent of cigarette smoke, four college kids on the other side of the aisle, sitting around a pizza, laughing at inanities . . . Bekker had worn an apricot- colored mohair sweater, a favorite, that framed his face.

“Bounced her off a wall, swinging her,” Druze had said, wanting to impress. Another new feeling. “When she went down, I got on her back, got an arm around her neck, and jerk . . . that was it. Neck just went pop. Sounded like when you bite into a piece of gristle. I put my pants on, walked but the door. . . .”

“Scared?”

“No. Not after I was out of the place. Something that simple . . . what’re the cops going to do? You walk away. By the time you’re down the block, they got no chance. And in that fuckin’ place, they probably didn’t even find her for two days, and only then ’cause of the heat. I wasn’t scared, I was more like . . . hurried.”

“That’s something.” Bekker’s approval was like the rush Druze got from applause, but better, tighter, more concentrated. Only for him. He had gotten the impression that Bekker had a confession of his own but held it back. Instead the other man had asked, “You never did it again?”

“No. It’s not like . . . I enjoy it.”

Bekker had sat staring at him for a moment, then had smiled. “Hell of a story, Carlo.”

He hadn’t felt much when he’d killed the girl. He didn’t feel much now, ghosting through the darkened breezeway, closing in. Tension, stage fright, but no distaste for the job.

Another door waited at the end of the passage, wooden, with an inset window at eye level. If the woman was at the table, Bekker said, she would most likely be facing away from him. If she was at the sink, the stove or the refrigerator, she wouldn’t be able to see him at all. The door would open quietly enough, but she would feel the cold air if he hesitated.

What was that song? The woman’s voice floated around him, an intriguing whisper in the night air. Moving slowly, Druze peeked through the window. She wasn’t at the table: nothing there but two wooden chairs. He gripped the doorknob solidly, picked up a foot, wiped the sole of his shoe on the opposite pantleg, then repeated the move with the other foot. If the gym shoe treads had picked up any small stones, they would give him away, rattling on the tile floor. Bekker had suggested that he wipe, and Druze was a man who valued rehearsal.

His hand still on the knob, he twisted. The knob turned silently under his glove, as slowly as the second hand on a clock. The door was on a spring, and would ease itself shut. . . . And she sang: Something, Angelina, ta-dum, Angelina. Good- bye, Angelina? She was a true soprano, her voice like bells. . . .

The door was as quiet as Bekker had promised. Warm air pushed into his face like a feather cushion; the sound of a dishwasher, and Druze was inside and moving, the door closed behind him, his shoes silent on the quarry tile. Straight ahead was the breakfast bar, white- speckled Formica with a single short- stemmed rose in a bud vase at the far end, a cup and saucer in the center and, on the near end, a green glass bottle. A souvenir from a trip to Mexico, Bekker had said. Hand- blown, and heavy as stone, with a sturdy neck.

Druze was moving fast now, to the end of the bar, an avalanche in black, the woman suddenly there to his left, standing at the sink, singing, her back to him. Her black hair was brushed out on her shoulders, a sheer silken blue negligee falling gently over her hips. At the last instant she sensed him coming, maybe felt a rush in the air, a coldness, and she turned.

Something’s wrong: Druze was moving on Bekker’s wife, too late to change course, and he knew that something was wrong. . . .

Man in the house. In the shower. On his way.

Stephanie Bekker felt warm, comfortable, still a little damp from her own shower, a bead of water tickling as it sat on her spine between her shoulder blades. . . . Her nipples were sore, but not unpleasantly. He’d shaven, but not recently enough. . . . She smiled. Silly man, must not have nursed enough as a baby . . .

Stephanie Bekker felt the cool air on her back and turned to smile at her lover. Her lover wasn’t there; Death was. She said, “Who?” and it was all there in her mind, like a fistful of crystals: the plans for the business, the good days at the lakes, the cocker spaniel she had had as a girl, her father’s face lined with pain after his heart attack, her inability to have children . . .

And her home: the kitchen tile, the antique flour bins, the wrought- iron pot stands, the single rose in the bud vase, red as a drop of blood . . .

Gone.

Something wrong . . .

“Who?” she said, not loud, half turning, her eyes widening, a smile caught on her face. The bottle whipped around, a Louisville Slugger in green glass. Her hand started up. Too late. Too small. Too delicate.

The heavy bottle smashed into her temple with a wet crack, like a rain- soaked newspaper hitting a porch. Her head snapped back and she fell, straight down, as though her bones had vaporized. The back of her head slammed the edge of the counter, pitching her forward, turning her.

Druze was on her, smashing her flat with his weight, his hand on her chest, feeling her nipple in his palm.

Hitting her face and her face and her face . . .

The heavy bottle broke, and he paused, sucking air, his head turned up, his jaws wide, changed his grip and smashed the broken edges down through her eyes. . . .

“Do it too much,” Bekker had urged. He’d been like a jock, talking about a three- four defense or a halfback option, his arm pumping as though he was about to holler “Awright!” . . . “Do it like a junkie would do it. Christ, I wish I could be there. And get the eyes. Be sure you get the eyes.”

“I know how to do it,” Druze had said.

“But you must get the eyes. . . .” Bekker had had a little white dot of drying spittle at the corner of his mouth. That happened when he got excited. “Get the eyes for me. . . .”

Something wrong.

There’d been another sound here, and it had stopped. Even as he beat her, even as he pounded the razor- edged bottle down through her eyes, Druze registered the negligee. She wouldn’t be wearing this on a cold, windy night in April, alone in the house. Women were natural actors, with an instinct for the appropriate that went past simple comfort. She wouldn’t be wearing this if she were alone. . . .

He hit her face and heard the thumping on the stairs, and half turned, half stood, startled, hunched like a golem, the bottle in his gloved hand. The man came around the corner at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped in a towel. Taller than average, too heavy but not actually fat. Balding, fair wet hair at his temples, uncombed. Pale skin, rarely touched by sunlight, chest hair gone gray, pink spots on his shoulders from the shower.

There was a frozen instant, then the man blurted “Jesus” and bolted. Druze took a step after him, quickly, off balance. The blood on the kitchen tile was almost invisible, red on red, and he slipped, his feet flying from beneath him. He landed back- down on the woman’s head, her pulped features imprinting themselves on his black jacket. The man, Stephanie Bekker’s lover, was up the stairs. It was an old house and the doors were oak. If he locked himself in a bedroom, Druze would not get through the door in a hurry. The man might already be dialing 911. . . .

Druze dropped the bottle, as planned, and turned and trotted out the door. He was halfway down the length of the breezeway when it slammed behind him, a report like a gunshot, startling him. Door, his mind said, but he was running now, scattering the tomato plants. His hand found the penlight as he cleared the breezeway. With the light, he was through the garage in two more seconds, into the alley, slowing himself. Walk. WALK.

In another ten seconds he was on the sidewalk, thick, hunched, his coat collar up. He got to his car without seeing another soul. A minute after he left Stephanie Bekker, the car was moving....

Keep your head out of it.

Druze did not allow himself to think. Everything was rehearsed, it was all very clean. Follow the script. Stay on schedule. Around the lake, out to France Avenue to Highway 12, back toward the loop to I-94, down 94 to St. Paul.

Then he thought:

He saw my face. And who the fuck was he? So round, so pink, so startled. Druze smacked the steering wheel once in frustration. How could this happen? Bekker so smart . . .

There was no way for Druze to know who the lover was, but Bekker might know. He should have some ideas, at least. Druze glanced at the car clock: 10:40. Ten minutes before the first scheduled call.

He took the next exit, stopped at a Super America store and picked up the plastic baggie of quarters he’d left on the floor of the car: he hadn’t wanted them to clink when he went into Bekker’s house. A public phone hung on an exterior wall, and Druze, his index finger in one ear to block the street noise, dialed another public phone, in San Francisco. A recording asked for quarters and Druze dropped them in. A second later, the phone rang on the West Coast. Bekker was there.

“Yes?”

Druze was supposed to say one of two words, “Yes” or “No,” and hang up. Instead he said, “There was a guy there.”

“What?” He’d never heard Bekker surprised, before this night.

“She was fuckin’ some guy,” Druze said. “I came in and did her and the guy came right down the stairs on top of me. He was wearing a towel.”

“What?” More than surprised. He was stunned.

“Wake up, for Christ’s fuckin’ sake. Stop saying ‘What?’ We got a problem.”

“What about . . . the woman?” Recovering now. Mentioning no names.

“She’s a big fuckin’ Yes. But the guy saw me. Just for a second. I was wearing the ski jacket and the hat, but with my face . . . I don’t know how much was showing. . . .”

There was a long moment of silence; then Bekker said, “We can’t talk about it. I’ll call you tonight or tomorrow, depending on what happens. Are you sure about . . . the woman?”

“Yeah, yeah, she’s a Yes.”

“Then we’ve done that much,” Bekker said, with satisfaction. “Let me go think about the other.”

And he was gone.

Driving away from the store, Druze hummed, harshly, the few bars of the song: Ta-dum, Angelina, good- bye, Angelina . . . That wasn’t right, and the goddamned song would be going through his head forever until he got it. Ta-dum, Angelina. Maybe he could call a radio station and they’d play it or something. The melody was driving him nuts.

He put the car on I-94, took it to Highway 280, to I-35W, to I-694, and began driving west, fast, too fast, enjoying the speed, running the loop around the cities. He did it, now and then, to cool out. He liked the wind whistling through a crack in the window, the oldie-goldies on the radio. Ta-dum . . .

The blood- mask dried on the back of his jacket, invisible now. He never knew it was there.

Stephanie Bekker’s lover heard the strange thumping as he toweled himself after his shower. The sound was unnatural, violent, arrhythmic, but it never crossed his mind that Stephanie had been attacked, was dying there on the kitchen floor. She might be moving something, one of her heavy antique chairs maybe, or perhaps she couldn’t get a jar open and was rapping the lid on a kitchen counter— he really didn’t know what he thought.

He wrapped a towel around his waist and went to look. He walked straight into the nightmare: A man with a beast’s face, hovering over Stephanie, the broken bottle in his hand like a dagger, rimed with blood. Stephanie’s face . . . What had he told her, there in bed, an hour before? You’re a beautiful woman, he’d said, awkward at this, touching her lips with his fingertip, so beautiful. . . .

He’d seen her on the floor and he’d turned and run. What else could he do? one part of his mind asked. The lower part, the lizard part that went back to the caves, said: Coward.

He’d run up the stairs, flying with fear, reaching to slam the bedroom door behind him, to lock himself away from the horror, when he heard the troll slam out through the breezeway door. He snatched up the phone, punched numbers, a 9, a 1. But even as he punched the 1, his quick mind was turning. He stopped. Listened. No neighbors, no calls in the night. No sirens. Nothing. Looked at the phone, then finally set it back down. Maybe . . .

He pulled on his pants.

He cracked the door, tense, waiting for attack. Nothing. Down the stairs, moving quietly in his bare feet. Nothing. Wary, moving slowly, into the kitchen. Stephanie sprawled there, on her back, beyond help: her face pulped, her whole head misshapen from the beating. Blood pooled on the tile around her; the killer had stepped in it, and he’d left tracks, one edge of a gym shoe and a heel, back toward the door.

Stephanie Bekker’s lover reached down to touch her neck, to feel for a pulse, but at the last minute, repelled, he pulled his hand back. She was dead. He stood for a moment, swept by a premonition that the cops were on the sidewalk, were coming up the sidewalk, were reaching toward the front door. . . . They would find him here, standing over the body like the innocent man in a Perry Mason television show, point a finger at him, accuse him of murder.

He turned his head toward the front door. Nothing. Not a sound.

He went back up the stairs, his mind working furiously. Stephanie had sworn she’d told nobody about their affair. Her close friends were with the university, in the art world or in the neighborhood: confiding details of an affair in any of those places would set off a tidal wave of gossip. They both knew that and knew it would be ruinous.

He would lose his position in a scandal. Stephanie, for her part, was deathly afraid of her husband: what he would do, she couldn’t begin to predict. The affair had been stupid, but neither had been able to resist it. His marriage was dying, hers was long dead.

He choked, controlled it, choked again. He hadn’t wept since childhood, couldn’t weep now, but spasms of grief, anger and fear squeezed his chest. Control. He started dressing, was buttoning his shirt when his stomach rebelled, and he dashed to the bathroom and vomited. He knelt in front of the toilet for several minutes, dry heaves tearing at his stomach muscles until tears came to his eyes. Finally, the spasms subsiding, he stood up and finished dressing, except for his shoes. He must be quiet, he thought.

He did a careful inventory: billfold, keys, handkerchief, coins. Necktie, jacket. Coat and gloves. He forced himself to sit on the bed and mentally retrace his steps through the house. What had he touched? The front doorknob. The table in the kitchen, the spoon and bowl he’d used to eat her cherry cobbler. The knobs on the bedroom and bathroom doors, the water faucets, the toilet seat . . .

He got a pair of Stephanie’s cotton underpants from her bureau, went down the stairs again, started with the front door and worked methodically through the house. In the kitchen, he didn’t look at the body. He couldn’t look at it, but he was always aware of it at the edge of his vision, a leg, an arm . . . enough to step carefully around the blood.

In the bedroom again, and the bathroom. As he was wiping the shower, he thought about the drain. Body hair. He listened again. Silence. Take the time. The drain was fastened down by a single brass screw. He removed it with a dime, wiped the drain as far as he could reach with toilet paper, then rinsed it with a direct flow of water. The paper he threw into the toilet, and flushed once, twice. Body hair: the bed. He went into the bedroom, another surge of despair shaking his body. He would forget something. . . . He pulled the sheets from the bed, threw them on the floor, found another set and spent five minutes putting them on the bed and rearranging the blankets and the coverlet. He wiped the nightstand and the headboard, stopped, looked around.

Enough.

He rolled the underpants in the dirty sheets, put on his shoes and went downstairs, carrying the bundle of linen. He scanned the living room, the parlor and the kitchen one last time. His eyes skipped over Stephanie. . . .

There was nothing more to do. He put on his coat and stuffed the bundle of sheets in the belly. He was already heavy, but the sheets made him gross: good. If anybody saw him . . .

He walked out the front door, down the four concrete steps to the street and around the long block to his car. They’d been discreet, and their discretion might now save him. The night was cold, spitting snow, and he met nobody.

He drove down off the hill, around the lake, out to Hennepin Avenue, and spotted a pay telephone. He stopped, pinched a quarter in the underpants and dialed 911. Feeling both furtive and foolish, he put the pants over the mouthpiece of the telephone before he spoke:

“A woman’s been murdered . . .” he told the operator.

He gave Stephanie’s name and address. With the operator pleading with him to stay on the line, he hung up, carefully wiped the receiver and walked back to his car. No. Sneaked back to his car, he thought. Like a rat. They would never believe, he thought. Never. He put his head on the steering wheel. Closed his eyes. Despite himself, his mind was calculating.

The killer had seen him. And the killer hadn’t looked like a junkie or a small- time rip- off artist killing on impulse. He’d looked strong, well fed, purposeful. The killer could be coming after him. . . .

He’d have to give more information to the investigators, he decided, or they’d focus on him, her lover. He’d have to point them at the killer. They’d know that Stephanie had had intercourse, the county pathologists would be able to tell that. . . .

God, had she washed? Of course she had, but how well? Would there be enough semen for a DNA- type?

No help for that. But he could give the police information they’d need to track the killer. Print out a statement, Xerox it through several generations, with different darkness settings, to obscure any peculiarities of the printer . . .

Stephanie’s face came out of nowhere.

At one moment, he was planning. The next, she was there, her eyes closed, her head turned away, asleep. He was seized with the thought that he could go back, find her standing in the doorway, find that it had all been a nightmare. . . .

He began to choke again, his chest heaving.

And Stephanie’s lover thought, as he sat in the car: Bekker? Had he done this? He started the car.

Bekker.

It wasn’t quite human, the thing that pulled itself across the kitchen floor. Not quite human—eyes gone, brain damaged, bleeding—but it was alive and it had a purpose: the telephone. There was no attacker, there was no lover, there was no time. There was only pain, the tile and, somewhere, the telephone.

The thing on the floor pulled itself to the wall where the telephone was, reached, reached . . . and failed. The thing was dying when the paramedics came, when the glass in the window broke and the firemen came through the door.

The thing called Stephanie Bekker heard the words “Jesus Christ,” and then it was gone forever, leaving a single bloody handprint six inches below the Princess phone.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 114 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(49)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 115 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Thrilling Yet Gruesome Lucas Davenport Novel!!

    I was very curious to see how events from the previous book in this series, Shadow Prey, would be touched on and they impact this book huge. Definitely should read that book first. Regardless, the third installment of the Lucas Davenport series has the hard as nails cop at rock bottom after his girlfriend left him taking his daughter with her. This is a new approach to see the normally together Davenport a wreck, saddled with doubts and depression. The killers were horrific and their crimes terrible. The somewhat "shock" ending was done really well. I really enjoyed seeing another side of the hero. Overall, a really good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    The best of John Sandford

    The Prey series is an outstanding one, but this title (early in the series) has to be the cream of the crop. Having just finished 'Eyes' (out of order in the series) I have to say that I think this is the best John Sandford I have read so far. There are several sub-plots that come together in a startling and impressive finish, and the dialogue is fluid, smart and highly readable. We also learn a lot more about Lucas and Del in 'Eyes' - both grow significantly over the course of the story as it unfolds. You'll just have trouble putting it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2001

    Lucas Davenport is one bad ass muther...

    Another in the prey series that has gripped my attention. Sanford is amazing with description, I can picture the characters clearly and yet Sanford doesn't bore you with countless descriptive words to describe, it just a vibe and 'better' use of words... Bekker will make you skin crawl...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2001

    Another 5 stars for Sandford!!!

    I can almost assure you that this book will scare your pants off. Lucus Davenport is again a hard nosed cop who appears to have met his match in Dr. Bekker. Murders are happening done by two different men but appear to have all been done in the same manner. Lucus finally gets it figured out. This book will grab you on the first page and never let you go. If you live by your self and the floors squeek in your place this is not a book to read at night. If you have looked out your window and seen somebody strange, this is not the book for you. If you ever think you have been followed by someone strange,this is not the book for you. It ia a great thriller and is hard to get out of you mind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    Good book

    Sandford does it again. A good book indeed. Davenport is still a little overboard with his tactics as a cop but hey who cares...... Book is well written, has a nice flow to it and its hard to put down. I think this series is pretty good. Very glad I started reading him. While Davenport seems to lose control a lot for being a cop I guess its still in the realm of possibilities, sadly. Give it a shot. Its good stuff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    WHOA & WHAT??????!!!!!!!! Never...and I repeat, never did I

    WHOA & WHAT??????!!!!!!!! Never...and I repeat, never did I see that ending coming. Mr. Sandford never gave us a single hint, just..."BAM". Hits you right between the eyes. I am loving this series and loving Lucas Davenport. Thank you, Mr Sandford, for sharing your talents.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2013

    recommended

    Overall good plot. Another overly macho cop. Is there any other kind?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Great Read

    Excellent book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Action packed and chilling!!!!

    John Sanford knocks one out of the park again on this one. I throughly enjoyed this book, think it deserves every star I gave it. Was certainly another page turner and I could not wait to get back to it whenever I had to put it down.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    Thrilling!

    This is one of the best in the series!

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    a good read, as are all of Sanfords boks

    Lucas Davenport is right up there, as usual, however I do need to read the one before this one to understand some of the references of his past problems.
    Thanks John Sanford

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  • Posted March 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Lucas Davenport MUST READ!!!

    John Sandford has just got to write more Davenport novels a year!! I have become a Davenport junkie plain and simple. What is worse I got my ex room mate hooked. This novel really was a blaster for the junkies out there as a main character is a junkie (no surprise in a Davenport novel) but should advise you strongly DON'T DO DRUGS!!!! They really are bad for you and the people around you! There are so many issues going on in this novel it would be good for a book club with so much to discuss; child abuse, disfigurement, drug abuse, abuse in many forms and do not want to spoil it so READ IT!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Back to Basics of the Thriller Genre & More

    After the stellar start to this series in RULES OF PREY & then a somewhat disappointing 2nd effort in SHADOW PREY, EYES OF PREY got the reader back on track with a thrilling story driven by an unpredictable villian who ... caught in the end, delivers a promise of more to come when he says "You should have killed me." You almost look forward to seeing his promise fulfilled. The end also gives us our 1st glimpse of a more down-to-earth & likeable side of Lucas Davenport. The whole supporting cast of characters is also being well-developed & you get a strong sense that the series is moving in the right direction from a reader point of view.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    Kept me interested, never saw the ending coming.

    After reading a review that said to skip this one, that's what I almost did. I can only imagine the reviewer was not a Sandford fan. I loved this book! It appeared that everything was clear, cut and dried, and Mr. Sandford was merely telling the story. As usual, he told it in such a way as to compel me to read on. Doing what he does so well, he held my interest the entire book. Then at the end, WHAM!, he revealed a mystery I'd not even thought of! I thought the book was really good until the end, and then I thought it was great!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Davenport Book!!

    Great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    Good book to read, it was hard for me to put down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    Unbelievable

    Bekker is a character that i loved to hate in this book. It was so exciting from begining to end. It is hard to figure how they are going to get his guy and he made you hate him. One of the best endings in any book i have ever read if you see it before the very last page i will be suprised

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2004

    Enjoy Mystery Novels

    Just like Mary Higgins Clark and Elieen Dreyer, John Sandford has beginning his written in 1989 book called Rules of Prey. But sudden his loves mystery, thrillers, and suspense. He was read whole book for John Sandford.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2004

    Where It All Began.... (& become hooked)

    This first of the 'prey' series is a page turner. I read it and was hooked on the series. I highly recommend any of the 'prey' series books (although I didn't care for Winter Prey too much. This book does end somewhat abrudtly, but never a dull moment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2003

    You must read ALL THE PREY NOVELS.

    A friend suggested one book, and I have them all. Can hardly wait until the next one comes out. I stay up all night reading, as I CAN NOT put any 'Prey' Novel down.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 115 Customer Reviews

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