Sudden Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #8)

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Overview

Sudden Prey begins with a death and ends with one. For months, Lucas Davenport's men have been tracking a vicious woman bank robber named Candy, and when they finally catch up with her, she does not go quietly. In the ensuing shoot-out, she dies - and Davenport's nightmare starts. For her associates are even worse than she was, particularly her husband, a deeply violent man who swears an appropriate revenge: first he will find the names of those responsible; then he will kill those will kill those nearest and ...
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Sudden Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #8)

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Overview

Sudden Prey begins with a death and ends with one. For months, Lucas Davenport's men have been tracking a vicious woman bank robber named Candy, and when they finally catch up with her, she does not go quietly. In the ensuing shoot-out, she dies - and Davenport's nightmare starts. For her associates are even worse than she was, particularly her husband, a deeply violent man who swears an appropriate revenge: first he will find the names of those responsible; then he will kill those will kill those nearest and dearest to them, just the way they did Candy. And so it begins. The husband of one officer is shot and killed. The wife of another is ambushed at work. When a third attack is thwarted, the pattern becomes clear to Davenport, and with an urgency born of rage and terror, he presses the hunt, desperately trying to track down the killers before they can strike again, before they can reach out for Davenport's own loved ones. But in this effort, he may already be too late.

Lucas Davenport knows why people kill. Some do it for profit. Some do it because they must. But when his team guns down two bank robbers in the middle of a heist, Davenport falls prey to the purest, simplest criminal motivation--revenge. Television ads. HC: Putnam. (Fiction--Espionage/Thriller)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title tells it true, and applies not only to myriad characters in Sandford's electrifying eighth "Prey" thriller, but also to the novel's readers. From the opening scene, in which series hero, Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport, and his team stalk and kill a female bank robber, the story will clamp down like a bear trap on all who open its covers. That robber is Davenport's prey, but those beloved by the cop and his men become prey in turn when the slain thief's husband, Dick LaChaise, and his two sidekicks, all ex-bikers with militia mentalities, vow revenge unto death. Davenport, who in his spare time designs computer games that have made him wealthy, soon learns two disturbing facts: that suicidal enemies are close to unstoppable, and that his addiction to this real-life "game" is powerful enough to put even his loved ones at risk. Further problems ensue from the dangerous presence of a crooked cop, and from the refusal by Davenport's lover, a dedicated surgeon, to take up Davenport's offer to seclude her safely. The stakes are high, the characters rich, the action relentless-here's a thriller that will make your hair stand on end. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Mystery Guild main selections; author tour. (May)
Library Journal
The eighth Lucas Davenport adventure in John Sandford's "Prey" series (e.g., Mind Prey, Putnam, 1995) opens with the Candy LaChaise gang's robbery of a Minnesota credit union. When Candy is ambushed and killed by Davenport and his men, Candy's husband, Dick LaChaise, swears vengeance on the spouses and families of all officers involved. A series of attacks ensue in which spouses are killed at work. With the lives of Davenport's own daughter and his fiance threatened, he quickly metamorphoses into a hunting machine himself. The reader is privy throughout to the actions and plans of dirty cops and drug dealers, as well as a bumbling and rather endearing side of Dick LaChaise. This tightly wound thriller is action-packed, yet most of the characters are shadowy humans, lacking breath, history, and motivation. Considering the author's popularity, however, most public libraries will want several copies. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/96.]-Susan A. Zappia, Maricopa Cty. Lib. Dist., Phoenix, Ariz.
Wes Lukowsky
When backwoods Wisconsin bank robbers Candy and Georgie LaChaise are gunned down, they leave an intense mourner in Dick LaChaise, husband to Candy and brother to Georgie. On furlough from prison to attend the funeral, LaChaise escapes into the Wisconsin countryside. He doesn't want freedom, he wants revenge against the officers who shot his wife and brother, one of whom is Lucas Davenport, the hero of Sandford's previous "Prey" novels. What could have been a routine psycho-killer-on-the-prowl caper is given a unique twist by the presence of a crooked cop, Stadic, whom LaChaise bribes for information about his prey. Feeding information to both the good guys and the baddies, Stadic jockeys for position, hoping to survive no matter what happens. LaChaise is a memorable villain, a volatile mix of justified grief and madness. And Lucas Davenport? He's the same steely-eyed warrior he's always been, though here we realize that he has more in common with the LaChaises of the world than he's willing to admit. Fans of previous Sandford novels will be thrilled by the clever plotting and fully developed killers, even though they may be disappointed that Davenport plays a relatively minor role. Entertaining reading for thriller fans.
Kirkus Reviews
The fine and chilling eighth in Sandford's series featuring top cop Lucas Davenport (Mind Prey, 1995, etc.), this pitting him against a trio of revenge-minded killers.

At the climax of an afternoon stakeout in a mall crowded with Christmas shoppers, Davenport (deputy chief of the Minneapolis PD) and a handpicked crew of officers gun down Candy LaChaise and her sister-in-law Georgia just after they've robbed a credit union. Candy's hardcase husband Dick, midway through a nine-year jail sentence, is allowed to attend her funeral. With a little help from his friends—Bill Martin, a backwoodsman with a fondness for exotic weaponry, and Ansel Butters, a substance-abusing Tennessean—Dick murders his guard and melts into the countryside. Eager to exact retribution, however, the vindictive Martin and his confederates return to the Twin Cities, where, using IDs supplied by Andy Stadic (a crooked vice cop), they begin liquidating the loved ones of those involved in the credit-union shootout. With the public and press in an uproar, Davenport calls on the considerable resources at his command to stalk the homicidal threesome. Butters goes down, but with Stadic tipping them off via cellular phone, LaChaise and Martin manage to remain at large, albeit at no small cost in blood. Eventually, Sandy Darling (the ex-nurse they've blackmailed into treating their wounds) is able to betray them to the authorities. In near-blizzard conditions, then, a crossbow-wielding Martin is shot on a downtown street while Davenport closes with LaChaise in a hospital he's invaded in search of the doctor who's Davenport's live-in lover. Meanwhile, Darling flees Stadic through the stands of an empty Metrodome.

Complete with gross cop humor and villains who, for all their vicious resolve, have credibly redemptive traits: another winner for the accomplished Sandford and his growing legion of fans.

From Barnes & Noble
Revenge runs deep in this novel about a violent man who tracks down the police officers who were responsible for the death of his bank-robbing wife, then kills those nearest and closet to them. The revenge-crazed killer eludes detection until the pattern of rage and terror finally becomes clear to Lucas Davenport, the leader of the crime unit. Lucas presses the hunt for the killer before his family becomes the next victoms. But it's too late. The killer is now within striking distance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425157534
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Series: Lucas Davenport Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author


John Sandford is the author of twenty-two Prey novels, most recently Stolen Prey; the Virgil Flowers novels, most recently Shock Wave; and six other books. He lives in Minnesota.

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

One

Through the speakers above his head, little children sang in sweet voices, O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior's birth...

The man who might kill Candy LaChaise stood in the cold and watched her through the glass doors. Sometimes he could see only the top of her head, and sometimes not even that, but he never lost track of her.

Candy, unaware, browsed through the lingerie, moving slowly from rack to rack. She wasn’t really interested in underwear: her attention was fixed on the back of the store, the appliance department. She stopped, pulled out a black bustier, held it up, cocked her head like women do. Put it back, turned toward the doors.

The man who might kill her stepped back, out of sight.

A minivan pulled to the curb and a chunky woman in an orange parka hopped out and pushed back the van’s side door. An avalanche of dumpling-like children spilled onto the sidewalk. They were of both sexes, all blond, and of annual sizes: maybe four, five, six, seven, eight and nine years old. The van headed for a parking space, while the woman herded the kids toward the doors.

The man took a bottle from his pocket, stuck his tongue into the neck, tipped it up and faked a swallow or two. The woman hustled the kids past him, shielding them with her body, into the store and out of sight. That was what he wanted; he put the bottle away, and looked back through the doors.

There she was, still in lingerie. He looked around, and cursed the season: the Christmas decorations, the dirty piles of hard, frozen snow along the streets, the wind that cut through his woolen gloves. His face was thin, unshaven, the skin stretched like parchment on a tambourine. Nicotine had stained his teeth as yellow as old ivory. He lit a Camel, and when he put the cigarette to his lips, his hands trembled with the cold. When he exhaled, the wind snatched away the smoke and the steam of his breath, and made him feel even colder than he was.

An oily baritone, a man who’d never be Bing Crosby:...Let nothing you dismaaay, Remember Christ our Sa-ay-vior was born on Christmas Day...

He thought, “Christ, if I could only stop the music...”

From where he stood, he could see the golden spire atop the state capitol; under the December overcast it looked like a bad piece of brass. Fucking Minnesota. He put the bottle to his lips, and this time let a little of the wine trickle down his throat. The harsh grape-juice taste cut into his tongue, but there was no warmth in the alcohol.

What in the hell was she doing?

She’d cruised Sears Brand Central, taking her time, looking at refrigerators, buying nothing. Then she strolled through the ladies’ wear department, where she’d looked at blouses. Then she walked back through Brand Central, checking the cellular telephones.

Again she walked away: he’d been inside at the time, and she’d almost trapped him in the television display. He hit the doors, went through, outside into the wind...but she’d swerved toward the lingerie. Had she spotted him? A TV salesman had. Picking up his ragged coat and rotten shoes, the salesman had posted himself near the Toshiba wide-

screens, and was watching him like a hawk. Maybe she...

There. She was on her way out.

When Candy walked out of Sears, he didn’t look at her. He saw her, but he didn’t move his head. He simply stood against the outside wall, rocked on his heels, mumbled into his parka and took another nip of the MD 20-20.

Candy never really saw him, not then. She half-turned in his direction as she left the store, but her eyes skipped over him, like they might skip over a trash barrel or a fire hydrant. She bopped down the parking lot, not quite in a hurry, but not dawdling, either. Her step was light, athletic, confident, the step of a cheerful woman. She was pretty, in a thirty-something high-school cheerleader way, with natural blond hair, a round Wisconsin face and a clear Wisconsin complexion.

She walked halfway down the lot before she spotted the Chevy van and started toward it.

The man who might kill her, who still stood by the doors, said, “She just walked past her car.”

A Republican state legislator in a wool Brooks Brothers overcoat heard the words and hurried into the store. No time for dialogue with a street schizo: you see them everywhere, mumbling into their wine-stained parkas.

“I think she’s going for that van, dude.”

Candy liked country music and shirt pockets that had arrows at the corners. She liked line-dancing and drinking Grain Belt. She liked roadhouses on country blacktop, pickup trucks and cowboy boots and small blue-eyed children and guns. When she got to the Chevy van, she took out a two-inch key ring filled with keys and began running them through the lock. She hit it on the twelfth one, and popped the door.

The van belonged to a slightly ragged Sears washing machine salesman named Larry. The last time she’d seen Larry, he was standing next to a seven-hundred-dollar Kenmore washer with Quiet Pak and Automatic Temperature Control, repinning his name tag. He was about ten minutes late—late enough that she’d started to worry, as she browsed the blouses and underwear. Had the van broken down? That would be a major problem...

But then, there he was, breathing hard, face pink from the cold, leaning against the Kenmore. Larry was a wise guy, she knew, and she didn’t care for wise guys. She knew he was a wise guy because a bumper sticker on the back of his van said, in large letters, AGAINST ABORTION? And below that, in smaller letters, Then Don’t Have One. Abortion was not a topic for bumper-sticker humor.

The man who might kill her mumbled into his parka: “She’s in the van, she’s moving.”

The voice that spoke back to him was not God: “I got her.”

Great thing about parkas: nobody could see the commo gear, the microphones and earplugs. “She’s gonna do it,” Del said. He put the bottle of Mogen David on the ground, carefully, so it wouldn’t spill. He wouldn’t need it again, but somebody might.

“Franklin says LaChaise and Cale just went into that pizza joint behind the parking ramp,” said the voice in his ear. “They went out the back of the ramp, through a hole in a hedge.”

“Scoping it out, one last time. That’s where they’ll dump the van,” Del said. “Get Davenport on the road.”

“Franklin called him. He’s on the way. He’s got Sloan and Sherrill with him.”

“All right,” Del said, noncommittally. Not all right, he thought. Sherrill had been shot a little more than four months earlier. The slug had nicked an artery and she’d almost bled out before they got her to the hospital. Del had pinched the artery so hard that Sherrill had later joked that she felt fine, except for the massive bruise where Del had pinched her leg.

Putting Sherrill’s face into this, so soon, might be too heavy, Del thought. Sometimes Davenport showed all the common sense of a...Del couldn’t think of anything. A trout, maybe.

“There she goes,” said the voice in his ear.

The salesman’s van stank of cigar smoke. Candy’s nose wrinkled at the smell, but she wouldn’t have to tolerate it for long. She eased the van out of the parking space, and checked the gas: half a tank, more than enough. She drove slowly up the block, to Dale, down Dale and onto I-94 toward Minneapolis. Georgie and Duane would be waiting at Ham’s Pizza.

She looked at the speedometer: fifty-four. Perfect. Crooks mostly drove too fast. Dick said they didn’t give a shit about the traffic laws or the other small stuff, and half the time they’d hit a bank, get away clean, then get caught because they were doing sixty-five in a fifty-five. She wouldn’t make that mistake.

She tried to relax, checked all the mirrors. Nothing unusual. She took the P7 out of her coat pocket, slipped the magazine, pushed on the top shell with her thumb. She could tell by the pressure that she had a full clip.

Dick always made fun of the little bitty nine-millimeter shells, but she’d stick with them. The small gun felt right in her hand and the muzzle blast was easy to manage. The P7 held thirteen rounds. She could put nine or ten of the thirteen shots into the top of a Campbell’s soup can at twenty-five feet, in less than seven seconds. A couple of times, she’d put all thirteen in.

Good shooting. Of course, soup-can lids didn’t move. But on the two occasions when she’d been shooting for real, she felt no more pressure than when she’d been outside Dick’s double-wide, banging away at soup-can lids. You didn’t really line anything up, you kept both eyes open and looked across the front sights, tracking, and just at that little corner of time when the sight crossed a shirt pocket or a button or another good aim point, you’d take up the last sixteenth of an inch and...

Pop. Pop, pop.

Candy got a little hot just thinking about it.

Danny Kupicek had long black hair that his wife cut at home, and it fell over his eyes and his oversized glasses so that he looked like a confused shoe clerk. That helped when he was working the dopers: dopers were afraid of anyone too hip. They trusted shoe clerks and insurance salesmen and guys wearing McDonald’s hats. Danny looked like all of those. He pulled the city Dodge to the curb and Del climbed in and Kupicek took off, three hundred yards behind the Chevy van. Del put his hands over the heat vent.

“I gotta come up with a new persona for the wintertime,” Del said. “Somebody who’s got a warm coat.”

“State legislator,” Kupicek said. He’d been sitting in the car off the capitol grounds, keeping an eye on Candy’s car. He’d watched the politicians coming and going, and noticed how prosperous they seemed.

“Nah,” Del said, shaking his head. “I wanna try somebody legit.”

“Whatever, you gotta keep your head covered,” said Kupicek. He wore heavy corduroy pants, a sweater over a button-down shirt, a wool watch cap and an open parka. “Fifty percent of all heat loss comes from the head.”

“What do you think the hood is for?” Del asked, pointing over his shoulder.

“Too loose,” Kupicek said, like he knew what he was talking about. He was nine cars behind Candy when they entered I-94, in the slow lane and two lanes to the right. “You need a stocking cap under there.”

“Fuck a bunch of stocking caps. I need a desk job is what I need. Maybe I’ll apply for a grant.”

Kupicek looked at him, the yellow teeth and two-day stubble. “You ain’t grant material,” he said, frankly. “I’m grant material. Sherrill’s grant material. Even Franklin is grant material. You, you ain’t grant material.”

“Fuck you and your wife and all your little children,” Del said. He picked up Kupicek’s handset. “Lucas, you there?”

Davenport came back instantly: “We’re setting up in the Swann parking lot. Where is she?”

“Just passing Lexington,” Del said.

“Stay with her. When she gets off at 280, let me know as soon as she’s at the top of the ramp.”

“Do that,” Del said.

Kupicek was watching the van: “She’s got some discipline. I don’t think we touched fifty-six since we got on the road.”

“She’s a pro,” Dell said.

“If it was me, I’d be so freaked, I’d be doing ninety. Course, maybe they’re not gonna do it.”

“They’re gonna do it,” Del said. He could feel it: they were gonna do it.

Georgie LaChaise was a dark woman with blue eyes that looked out from under too-long, too-thick eyebrows. She had a fleshy French nose, full lips with the corners downturned. She locked Duane Cale’s eyes across the table and said, “Duane, you motherfucker, if you drive off, I’ll find you and I’ll shoot you in the fuckin’ back. I promise you.”

Duane leaned forward over the yellow Formica table, both hands wrapped around an oversized cup of Coke Classic. He had an unformed face, and hair that had never picked a color: one eyewitness might say he was blond, another would swear that he had brown hair. One would say apple-cheeked, another would say fox-faced. He seemed to change, even as you looked at him. He wore a camouflage army jacket over jeans and boots, with the collar turned up, and a Saints baseball hat.

“Oh, I’ll do it,” he said, “but it don’t feel right. It just don’t feel right. I mean, we did that one in Rice Lake, I was good there.”

“You were perfect in Rice Lake,” Georgie said. She thought, You were so scared I thought we’d have to carry you out. “This time, all you gotta do is drive.”

“Okay, you see right there?” asked Duane, tapping the tabletop with the cup. “You said it your own self: I was perfect. This don’t feel perfect, today. No sir. I mean, I’ll do it if you say so, but I...”

Georgie cut him off. “I say so,” she said bluntly. She glanced at her watch. “Candy’ll be here in a minute. You get your asshole puckered up and get behind the wheel and everything’ll go smooth. You know what to do. You only gotta drive two blocks. You’ll be perfect.”

“Well, okay...” His Adam’s apple bobbed. Duane Cale was too scared to spit and the Coca-Cola didn’t seem to make a difference.

Lucas Davenport peeled off his topcoat and the gray Icelandic sweater. Sloan handed him the vest and Lucas shrugged into it, slapping the Velcro tabs into place, everything nice and snug, except if you took a shot in the armpit it’d go right through your heart and both lungs on the way out the opposite ‘pit...Never turn sideways.

“Fuckin’ cold,” Sloan said. He was a narrow, sideways-looking man who today wore a rabbit-fur hat. “We live in fuckin’ Russia. The Soviet fuckin’ Union.”

“Is no Soviet Union,” Lucas said. They were in a drugstore parking lot, Lucas and Sloan and Sherrill, and had gotten out of the slightly warm car to put on the vests. A loitering civilian watched them as his dog, wearing a blue jacket, sniffed up an ice-bound curb.

“I know,” Sloan said. “It moved here.”

Lucas pulled the sweater back over his head, then slipped back into his topcoat. He was a tall man, dark-haired, dark-complected with ice-blue eyes. A scar trailed through one brow ridge and expired on his cheek, a white line like a scratch across his face. As his head popped through the sweater’s neck hole, he was grinning at Sloan, an old friend: “Who was trying to start a departmental ski team?”

“Hey, you gotta do something in the middle of the...”

The radio broke in: “Lucas?”

Lucas picked up the handset: “Yeah.”

“On the 280 ramp,” Del said.

“Got it...you get that, Franklin?”

Franklin came back, his voice chilled. “I got it. I can see LaChaise and Cale, they’re still sitting there. They look like they’re arguing.”

“Keep moving,” Lucas said.

“I’m moving. I’m so fuckin’ cold I’m afraid to stop.”

“On University...” Del said.

“We better go,” Sherrill said. Her face was pink with the cold, and nicely framed by her kinky black hair. She wore a black leather jacket with tight jeans and gym shoes, and furry white mittens that she’d bought in a sale from a cop catalog. The mittens were something a high school kid might wear, but had a trigger-finger slit, like hunting gloves. “She’ll be picking them up.”

“Yeah.” Lucas nodded, and they climbed into the city car, Sloan in the driver’s seat, Sherrill next to him, Lucas sprawled in the back.

“Here she comes,” said Franklin, calling on the radio.

“Check your piece,” Lucas said over the seat to Sherrill. He wasn’t quite sure of her, what she’d do. He wanted to see. He slipped his own .45 out of his coat pocket, punched out the magazine, racked the shell out of the chamber, then went through the ritual of reloading. In the front seat, Sherrill was spinning the wheel on her .357.

As Sloan took the car through an easy U-turn and the three blocks toward the Midland Steel Federal Credit Union, Lucas looked out the window at the street, and felt the world begin to shift.

The shift always happened before a fight, a suddenly needle-sharp appreciation of image and texture, of the smell of other bodies, of cigarette tar and Juicy Fruit, gun oil, wet leather. If your mind could always work like this, he thought, if it could always operate on this level of realization, you would be a genius. Or mad. Or both.

Lucas remembered a stray thought from earlier in the day, picked up the handset and called dispatch.

“We need two squads on University,” he said. “We’re tracking a stolen Chevy van and we want a uniform stop as soon as possible.”

He recited the tag number and license and the dispatcher confirmed it. “We’ve got a car on Riverside,” the dispatcher said. “We’ll start them that way.”

Candy pulled the van to the curb outside Ham’s Pizza. Georgie and Duane were waiting, and she slid over to the passenger seat, and popped the back door for Georgie as Duane got in the driver’s seat.

“Everything okay?” Duane asked.

“Great, Duane,” Candy said. She gave him her cheerleader smile.

Duane hungered for her, in his Duane-like way. They’d gone to school together, elementary through high school. They’d played on a jungle gym, smart Candy and not-so-

smart Duane. She’d let him see her tits a couple of times—once down by Meyer’s Creek, skinny-dipping with Dick, when Dick hadn’t seen Duane coming, but Candy had. She was Dick’s woman, all right, but wasn’t above building extracurricular loyalty for a time when it might be needed.

“Drive,” Georgie said from the back. And to Candy: “You set?”

“I’m set.”

“This should be a good one,” Georgie said.

“Should be great,” Candy said. Ten o’clock on a payday morning. The paychecks were issued at eleven. The first employees would be sneaking out to cash their checks by eleven-oh-one. That’d be an hour too late.

“There’s the nigger again,” Duane said, distractedly.

A giant black man had come into Ham’s before Candy had gotten there, ordered a slice, asked if he could pay with food stamps. When told that he couldn’t, he’d reluctantly taken two crumpled dollar bills out of his pocket and pushed them across the counter.

“Food stamps,” Georgia said in disgust. “He’s one of those screwballs. Look at him talk to himself.”

Franklin, shambling along the street, said, “One block, fifteen seconds.”

Duane said, “There it is,” and his voice may have trembled when he said it. Georgie and Candy turned away from the black man and looked down the street at the yellow brick building with the plastic sign, and the short stoop out front.

“Remember what I said, Duane. We’ll be in there for one minute,” Georgie said. She leaned forward and spoke softly into his ear, and when Duane tried to turn his head away, she caught his earlobe and tugged it back, pinched it between her nails. Duane flinched, and she said, “If you drive away, one of us will hunt you down and kill you. If you drive, Duane, you’re dead. Isn’t that right, Candy?”

“That’s right,” Candy said, looking at him. She let some ice show, then switched to her God-Duane-I’d-Love-to-Fuck-You-But-I-Gotta-Be-True-to-Dickie look. “But he won’t drive. Duane’s okay.” She patted his thigh.

“Oh, I’ll do it,” Duane said. He looked like a trapped rat. “I mean, I’ll do it. I did it in Rice Lake, didn’t I?”

He pulled the van to the curb and Georgie gave him a look, then the two women pulled nude nylon stockings over their faces and took the pistols out of their coat pockets.

“Let’s go,” Georgie said. She climbed out, and Candy followed a step behind; it passed through Georgie’s mind that Candy looked radiant.

“I feel like I might pop one,” Candy said to Georgie, as they climbed the four steps to the Credit Union door.

Franklin was halfway down the block when they went inside and he said, “The two women are inside. Pulled the nylons over their heads. It’s going down.”

Five seconds later, Del and Kupicek stopped at the corner behind him, then eased forward so they could see the back of the Chevy van and Cale’s head. They were forty yards away.

Sloan stopped at the next corner up, and eased forward until he could see the front of the truck. “You set?” Lucas asked. He cracked the back door.

“Yeah.” Sloan nodded, looked almost sleepy and yawned. Tension.

“Let’s go,” Lucas said. And in the handset he said, “Go.”

Georgie and Candy went in hard, very large, very loud, screaming, masks, guns, Georgie first:

“On the wall,” she screamed, “on the wall,” and Candy behind her, vaulting to the top of the cash counter, screaming, the gun big in her hand, the hole at the muzzle looking for eyes. “On the wall...”

Four women employees and a single customer, a man in a black ski jacket and tinted eyeglasses, were inside the credit union. The woman closest to Candy looked like a carp, her mouth opening and closing, opening and closing, hands coming up, then waving, as though she could wave away a bullet. She wore a pink sweater with hand-darned blue flax blossoms in a line across the chest. Another woman curled up and turned away, looking back at them over her shoulder, and stepped against the back wall, next to a filing cabinet. She wouldn’t look at Candy. A younger woman, a cashier, jumped back, yelped once, put her hands over her mouth, backed away, knocked a phone off a table, jumped again, froze. The fourth woman simply backed away, her hands at her shoulders.

Georgie said, rapid-fire, a vocal machine gun: “Easy, easy, everybody take it easy. Everybody shut up, shut up, shut up, and stand still. Stand still, everybody shut up...This is a holdup, shut up.”

They’d been inside for ten seconds. Candy dropped behind the counter and pulled a pillowcase out of her waistband and started dumping cash drawers.

“Not enough,” she shouted over Georgie’s chant. "Not enough, there’s more somewhere.”

Georgie picked out the woman with the best clothes, the woman with the flax blossoms, pointed her finger at her and shouted, “Where is it, where’s the rest of it?”

The woman said, “No-no-no...”

Georgie pointed her pistol at the man in the ski jacket and said, “If you don’t say, in one second I’m gonna blow his fuckin’ head off, his fuckin’ head.”

Georgie was posed in a two-handed TV-cop position, the pistol pointing at jacket-man’s head, never wavering. The flax-blossom woman looked around for somebody to help her, somebody to direct her, but there wasn’t anybody. She sagged and said, “There’s a box in the office.”

Candy grabbed her, roughed her, shoved her toward the tiny cubicle in the back. The woman, scuttling ahead, pointed at a box on the floor in the footwell of the desk. Candy shoved her back toward the door, picked up the box, put it on the desk, and popped the top: stacks of currency, tens, twenties, fifties, hundreds.

“Got it,” she shouted. She dumped it in the pillowcase.

“Let’s go,” Georgie shouted. “Let’s go...”

Candy twisted the top of the pillowcase and threw it over her shoulder, like Santa Claus, and hustled around the cash counter toward the door. The man in the ski jacket had backed against the wall at a check-writing desk, his hands over his head, a twisted, trying-to-please smile on his face, his eyes frightened white spots behind the amber-tinted specs.

“What are you laughing at?” Candy screamed at him. “Are you laughing at us?”

The smile got broader, but he waved his fingers and said, “No, no, I’m not laughing...”

“Fuck you,” she said, and she shot him in the face.

The blast in the small office was a bomb: the four women shrieked and went down. The man simply dropped, a spray of blood on the tan wall behind his head, and Georgie spun and said, “Go.”

They were out the door in seconds...

“Do it,” Del said, and Kupicek floored it.

Sloan was coming in from the front. Duane saw him coming, had no time to wonder. The car swerved and screeched to a stop three inches from the van's front bumper, wedging him to the curb. From behind, in a flash in his rearview mirror, he saw another car wedge in behind him. In the next half-second, the passenger door flew open and the big black pizza guy was there, and a gun pointed at the bridge of Duane’s nose.

“Don’t even fuckin’ scratch,” Franklin said, in his pleasant voice, which wasn’t very pleasant. “Just sit tight.” He reached across, flipped the shift lever into park, killed the engine, pulled the keys from the ignition and let them fall on the floor. "”Just sit.”

And then there were more guys, all on the passenger side of the car. But Duane, as interested as he was in the muzzle of Franklin’s gun, turned to look at the door of the credit union.

He’d heard the shot: the sound was muffled, but there wasn’t any doubt.

“Shit,” said the black man. He said, loudly, “Watch it, watch it, we got a shot.”

“Go,” screamed Georgie. She was smiling, like a South American revolutionary poster-girl, her dark hair whipping back, and she covered the inner door while Candy exploded through the outer door onto the stoop and then Georgie was through behind her and the van was right there.

And the cops.

They heard the shouting, though Candy never could isolate a word. She was aware of Georgie’s gun coming up behind her and she felt her hand loosen on the bag and the bag falling off to the left, and her own gun coming up. She started squeezing the trigger before the gun was all the way up and she saw the thin slat-faced man, and his nose might have been about the size of a Campbell’s soup-can lid and her pistol came up, came up...

Lucas heard the shot inside and he went sideways and saw Franklin reflexively crouch. Off to the left, Sherrill was propped over the top of Kupicek’s car, her pistol leveled at the door and Lucas thought, Hope they don’t look out the window...

Then the door flew open and the two LaChaise women were on the stoop and their guns were coming up and he shouted, “No, don’t, no, don’t,” and he heard Del yelling, and Candy LaChaise started firing and he saw Sherrill’s gun bucking in her hand...

Candy saw the man with the yellow teeth and the black hole at the end of his pistol and the woman with the dark hair and maybe—if she had time—she thought, Too late...

She felt the bullets go through, several of them, was aware of the noise, of the flash, of the faces like wanted posters, all straining toward her, but no pain, just a jostling feel, like rays of light pushing through her chest...then her vision went, and she felt Georgie falling beside her. She was upside down, her feet on the stoop, her head on the sidewalk, and she waited for the light. The light would come, and behind it...

She was gone.

Lucas was shouting, “Hold it, hold it,” and five seconds after the two women burst from the credit union, there was no reason to fire his own weapon.

In the sudden silence, through the stink of the smokeless powder, somebody said, “Jesus H. Christ.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(5)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not the Usual 5-Star Davenport Book

    This is #8 in the series and I've read them in order. This was very good, but not on the same level as the others. The plot here is excellent and Sandford does his usual job of developing strong characters - both the villains in this book and the main characters who we see from one novel to the next. By now we're really starting to understand Lucas Davenport, the variety of cops surrounding him, and his girlfriend Weather. As good as all of this is, the story itself started to go from break neck pace to a slow plodding for just a little while. It then jumped back to fast action, making the story seem choppy at times. Overall, though, still a great read and definitely should not be missed if you are enjoying all of the other Davenport books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 8, 2014

    Alpha's Den

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

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Sudden prey

    Revenge is sweet

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

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Highly recommended

    You really can't beat John Sandford for wonderful entertainment reading. It's hard to put his books down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    I really enjoyed this book. One of my favorites in the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 5, 2008

    Oh man this could have been.......

    Oh man this could have been great, as a matter of fact the book started out fast paced and thrilling but then it died a slow death as I turned each page. The characters were a bit to over the top and how Weather reacted near the end was a total destruction of this book. The end of this book was hard to get through. There was nothing exciting about it at all. I once read a book that had the last 19 pages missing, completely missing, its ending was better than this completed book. Sad, just sad. I am not sure if it was Weathers super woman ideation or if I was just ready for it to be over with. I give it a two. The rest of his books I have read have all scored 4-5 from me so far but J.Sandford in my opinion is a very non descript author. Its all left up to your imagination, nothing is procedural at all. No crime scene info, ballistics - Nothing! Of course this is his intention but its a bit boring reading stories that are all about who did it, lets go get em and thats it. Nothing but filler in between.

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

    Posted September 10, 2004

    Not the best Davenport

    I've been reading the Lucas Davenport novels in order and I love them. However, this one had trouble holding my interest. There were a few too many characters and side kicks, and most of them weren't developed. I still don't feel like I know why all these villans were working together and why the betrayer turned against Lucas and the others. Hopefully the next installment will come closer to my very high expectations.

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

    Posted August 11, 2004

    Not worth it.

    After reading several chapters, I just gave up. I found the numerous characters very flat and lifeless. There were far too many characters thrown at the reader at once and after developing a tension headache trying to keep them all straight, I put the book down for good.

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

    Posted September 19, 2003

    What an Adrenaline Rush!!!

    What can I say except, John Sanford is a master at telling a story. The characters are so real. They are no longer fictional but real life people. This is my second 'Prey' novel and I can't wait to start on my third. It's impossible to put this book down. My heart was pounding with each turn of the page. The action just never stopped. Lucas Davenport, is the tough, rugged, sexy hero. This is a definate must read!! Loved it, loved it, loved it!

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

    Posted August 19, 2002

    Muy Bien!

    I really really really liked this book. It had a lot of action and real life characters. It was confusing in some parts but it still was great! This is my first Prey novel and it certainly won't be my last!

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

    Posted April 4, 2001

    SANDFORD IS GREAT!!!

    I have read many of the Prey books and thought Winter Prey was the best until this one. Sudden Prey will grab you on the first page and hold you until it is over. I did not want to put the book down and if I did I could not wait to start again. I like the characters of Lucus, Del, Franklin and Sloan. The 'bad guys and women' in this one were very good characters. I thought the ending was a little anti-climatic but the book is great. Will not go into detail as that has been done above. I would recommend this book if you like fast moving action and no down time.

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

    Posted January 11, 2000

    Confusing

    Perhaps you have to have read the other 'Prey' novels to get into them. This was my first and I was lost from the beginning. There's lots of constant action and it is fairly 'edge of your seat' but there is little, if any character development and I spent the whole novel confused between who was who simply because they were just names to me, not real characters.

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

    Posted July 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

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