Summary and book reviews of Secret Prey by John Sandford

Secret Prey

By John Sandford

Secret Prey
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 1998,
    392 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 1999,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

Everybody has his secrets. But some of them will get you killed. John Sandford has long been praised as "one of the most gifted thriller writers at work in this country or any other" (Richmond-Times Dispatch)--but this time he surpasses himself.

The company chairman lay on the cold ground of the woods, his eyes unseeing, his orange hunting jacket punctured by a rifle bullet at close range. Around him stood the four executives with whom he had been hunting, each with his or her own complicated agenda, each with a reason not to be sorrowful about the man's death. If he read it in a book, Lucas Davenport thought, it would seem like one of those classic murder mysteries, the kind where the detective gathers everyone together at the end and solves the case with a little speech.

But it wasn't going to be that easy, he knew. There were currents running through this group, hints and whispers of something much greater than the murder of a single man. He had felt this way not long before, sensed the curling of an indefinable evil, and not only had it nearly gotten him killed, it had lost him his fiancée, who'd never been able to recover from the violence of the encounter. Sometime soon, unless he could stop it, there would be another death, and then still another, and Davenport couldn't help but wonder if maybe this time, the final death might not be his own. . . .

John Sandford has written extraordinary thrillers before, but nothing to top the startling twists and unrelenting suspense of Secret Prey.

Chapter One

THE CHAIRMAN 0F the board pulled the door shut behind him, stacked his rifle against the log-sided cabin, and walked down to the end of the porch. The light from the kitchen window punched out into the early-morning darkness and the utter silence of the woods. Two weeks of nightly frost had killed the insects and had driven the amphibians into hibernation: for a few seconds, he was alone.

Then the chairman yawned and unzipped his bib overalls, unbuttoned his pants, shuffled his feet, the porch boards creaking under his insulated hunting boots, Nothing like a good leak to start the day, he thought. As he leaned over the low porch rail, he heard the door opening behind him. He paid no attention.

Three men and a woman filed out of the house, pretended not to notice him.

"Need some snow," the woman said, peering into the dark. Susan O'Dell was a slender forty, with a tanned, dry face, steady brown eyes, and smile lines around her mouth. A headlamp was strapped ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

After his muscle-stretching sidestep in 1997's "The Night Crew", Sandford is back with his ninth Prey novel featuring dapper, dangerous Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport. Fans of the series will be glad to hear that this is the best installment in years; full of smart suspense and deduction as well as explosive action. Newcomers can plunge in without backstory research; all they need to know is that Davenport and his fellow cops are still nursing the wounds they garnered in "Sudden Prey" and that a depressed Lucas has gotten dumped by Weather, his girlfriend in that novel, when he is sent to investigate the murder of banking executive Daniel Kresge in a hunting lodge north of Minneapolis. Any of Kresge's four fellow hunters, all employees at his Polaris Bank could have shot him, and all had motives (as did his "soon-to-be-ex-wife"). We find out about halfway through the book who the real killer is, just a few pages before Lucas does, and that villain is a masterful creation. This is where Sandford's suspense-making skills really kick in, keeping us fascinated as Davenport, revitalized by an affair with a jaunty colleague, tries to turn what we all know into hard evidence.

Booklist - Wes Lukowsky

His ninth prey novel may well be the best, and that's high praise in the context of such a consistently entertaining body of work.

Kirkus Reviews

Events from earlier Prey novels weave intriguingly through this one, inviting the reader to plunge into the entire series. Not a bad idea.

Reader Reviews
Anonymous
Joe A Lopez
The book is good. I enjoyed it and plan to read other books by Sanford in the future.
However, the editing of the "Large Print" edition was very poor, as there is a blatant error in the 4th paragraph of page 144, where the murder ...   Read More

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