Book Report: Chosen Prey by John Sandford (2001)

This bookis the second of the three that I have inherited from my aunt and all three are well along in the series. I’m glad I read the preceding book, Easy Prey, since that book begins with some characterization of the main character and his relationship with his team.

Chosen Prey jumps right into the chaotic world of Lucas Davenport and his special Minneapolis police team. Well, no, it starts with a quick insight into the mind of the named criminal, a sex fiend academic (do I repeat myself?) named James Qatar who likes to do kinky things to artsy blondes and then kill them. We know this in the first chapter, because the semi-omniscient narrator follows Qatar to a tryst.

So the book is a race between Qatar and the police, who must track him down before he kills again. Or at least must stop him before he depopulates Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The book’s pace captures the nature of the frantic team investigation captained by Davenport. His personal life interrupts, as his True Love and recently (Easy Prey) returned Weather wants to have a child and marry Lucas. The sub plotline would detract had I not read the preceding book and known who she was and why this was different or difficult for Davenport.

It’s an okay turn for a series book, but I’d hardly recommend it as the first in the series, as the author expects the reader to be familiar with the characters. Heck, I probably missed most of the inside humor. On his worst day, McBain does a better police procedural and characterizes the familiar so even the uninitiated can pick up on them. Sandford doesn’t, and he doesn’t seem to try. Of course, this isn’t much of a police procedural, either, since the main character is at a high level and although he does do some interrogation himself, he’s also a millionaire zipping around in a Porsche (when the weather’s good) and a deputy chief with all the resources of the police department at his disposal. So it’s not so much a police procedural as as a simple suspense page turner.

So Sandford’s no Ed McBain, but no one really can hold a candle to that. He’s no Randisi either, and he actually suffers from that particular comparison. Unless he really is Randisi in a different pseudonym.

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