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Issue: Summer 2004

Rules of Prey (1989) audiobook review

A Hard Man is Good to Find

Rules of Prey by John Sandford. cover, Recorded Books, read by Richard Ferrone, 2005. Unabridged

Rules of Prey by John Sandford. Recorded Books, 11 hours and 54 minutes (read by Richard Ferrone), 2005. Unabridged. ISBN 9781436101301

The first book of the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford aka John Roswell Camp.

Lucas Davenport is a hard man. He's the gunslinger of Minneapolis police department, having killed five men in the line of duty. He works alone as the office of intelligence, working the streets in his Porche, tuned into the twin cities with his unrivalled network of information sources.

When the self-styled Mad Dog embarks on his serial kills, Davenport is attached to the case, working independently, but co-operating with the homicide division.

RULES OF PREY is a fascinating variation of the police procedural. Told with a journalist's eye for detail, the novel almost dryly recounts the steps of the investigation, and of Davenport's own life.

It is almost a men's version of a cozy mystery -- full of domestic details and relationships with situational humour and quick thumbnail sketches that add texture to the story. The Porche and expensive clothes are courtesy of the money Davenport makes creating role playing games. Other gamers in his group include his life-long friend and advisor, a nun who is a professor of Psychology.

There are several reasons to embark on reading or listening to RULES OF PREY. It is well-written, well-paced, and keeps the readers' attention. It is also part of a broader tapestry of crime-thriller stories set in Minnesota.

Award-winning Richard Ferrone, the narrator, has a calm, matter-of-fact, gravelly voice. After a succession of female narrators, I found it a bit disconcerting, but he makes an excellent choice for this series.

As this series progresses Sandford's previous series (and characters) about LuEllen and Kidd is interwoven. Virgil Flowers (better known as That F**cking Flowers) spins off with his own series, but Davenport and Flowers appear in one another's stories quite naturally.

A recommended reading order which includes all the books is listed in our Series Series (reading order for the Lucas Davenport 'Prey' series by John Sandford). There is an introduction to the series, a summary of all the titles, followed by a table of all the books, each with a short description and bookshop link. We do our best, but watch for spoilers if you read too far ahead.

Originally published 1989. E-book published 2002. Audiobook published 2005.
Search Festivale for more work by John Sandford.

See also: John Sandford on RULES OF PREY
Reading order for the Lucas Davenport 'Prey' series by John Sandford
Virgil Flowers - That F**cking Flowers reading order

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