NAKED PREY by John Sandford
Kirkus Star

NAKED PREY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

By the time a series gets appreciably past its salad days, the signs of writer fatigue are usually unmistakable. Which is what makes this 14th outing from Sandford so remarkable: the brilliant Prey series goes bopping along, taking steps two at a time, acting like your basic spring chicken.

Series hero Lucas Davenport (Mortal Prey, 2002, etc.), self-styled “richest cop in Minnesota”—with a fortune derived from the design of beautifully complex computer games—has a new job, crime-solving for Governor Elmer Henderson: that is, taking on those hot-potato assignments deemed political dynamite. When Deon Cash, a black man, and Jane Warr, a white woman, are found naked and dead, dangling from a tree in backwater Broderick, the Governor’s men hurriedly summon Lucas, the word “lynching” much in the air. But it’s not a lynching. To begin with, Broderick, a six-hour drive from St. Paul, simply doesn’t have that kind of problem. Moreover, it doesn’t take long for the real motive to surface: vengeance. Cash and Warr, it turns out, kidnapped and killed the young daughter of prominent Minnesota businessman Hale Sorrell. Acting as judge, jury, and hangman, Sorell has meted out vigilante justice, and savvy Lucas nails him for it—but before Sorrell can be arrested, he, too, is gunned down. Now Lucas surmises that more than Cash and Warr were involved in the kidnap plot. Back to Broderick he goes, where the evidence leads in an unforeseen direction. And where 12-year-old Letty West, freckled and gritty (“she might have been a female Huckleberry Finn”) does a lot to capture a sociopathic killer—as well as Lucas’s unexpectedly susceptible heart.

Nonstop drive, dialogue that amuses and surprises, deft characterizations. But most notable of what Sandford continues to do—better, perhaps, than anyone in crime fiction—is humanize his monsters: that makes for a special kind of creepiness.

Pub Date: May 12th, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-15043-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2003




Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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