Rules of Prey by John Sandford

I recently read Rules of Prey by John Sandford, and I am officially now hooked and trying to track down the rest of the 23 books about Lucas Davenport. I currently have #17, so I hope they don’t have to be read in order.prey01splash

Lucas Davenport is a Minneapolis cop who gets put on a case to track down a serial killer who identifies himself as the maddog. From the start, the reader is thrown into the maddog’s head and experiences the stalk and attack, and the panic the maddog has when he makes a mistake and fails to kill one of his victims. Davenport enters the scene after the mistake, trying to catch the killer based off of this one slip-up. The maddog is cunning, calculating, and efficient, which makes it hard for Davenport to collect any clues, let alone discover his identity. Davenport realizes that the maddog is playing a game and tries to bend the rules so the maddog will make another mistake, hopefully leading to his capture. This book is fast-paced and intricate, and reveals just enough clues so that while I was reading, I wanted to tell Davenport what I was learning through the chapters so he could catch the psychopath sooner!

My only critique about this novel is that while some chapters are told from the maddog’s perspective, we never really learn about his background. Occasionally when he’s attacking the women he seems to have flashbacks to a ranch and to another woman – his mother? A sister? The reason behind his hatred for women was never explained, and these flashbacks were never truly developed. But, as this is the first book in a long series, maybe the maddog will resurface at some point and my questions will be answered.

I equally loved and was creeped out by scenes which were situated in familiar places to me. Growing up in Minnesota, I could relate to retreating up to the north woods for a break from it all, and I could picture the landmarks and neighborhoods Sandford described. I haven’t read a mystery in a very long time, and this was a great way to get back into it. I think back in junior high I read almost all of Mary Higgens Clark’s novels, a good chunk of Agatha Christie, and a lot of Harlen Coben…and then I had just had enough of mysteries. Apparently my obsessions come and go in cycles because I’m hooked on this police procedural series. If you’re easily scared and have a hard time sleeping after hearing about crime – I dare you to read this book.