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Certain Prey by John Sandford

Certain Prey (1999)

by John Sandford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lucas Davenport (10)

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Of all the criminals that Lucas Davenport has hunted, none has been as frighteningly intelligent as the woman who's hunting him...

In what may be his most intriguing Prey book in years, John Sandford delivers a brutal, witty, at times even gruesomely funny, but always entertaining, chase. The vivid and complex Clara and Carmel are worthy adversaries for Lucas' hard-earned crime solving skills – skills that, at times, seem almost too magical....The... ( )
  Tutter | Mar 1, 2015 |
I grabbed this particular book off the leasing shelf on a whim, began it in the station waiting for the train and could not put it down. Apparently, Sandford writes a series of novels that would be difficult to classify as either mysteries or thrillers. They all have the word “prey” in the title, and Lucas Davenport as protagonist. In this latest work, Davenport is a deputy chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Clara Rinker is a hitwoman. Raped after working one evening as a stripper at a nudie bar, she arranges with her bosses to have the man who raped her brought back to the bar so she can his hands. Deciding that wasn’t enough, she kills him, and the bar owners, impressed by her passion and lack of remorse, enlist her as a part-time hitperson for the St. Louis mob. She’s also very smart, but lonely, a fact that leads to some difficulties when she is hired by Carmel Loan, a successful lawyer in Minneapolis, to kill the wife of the man Carmel has the lust for. The killing succeeds but everything gets really complicated when she also has to shoot a policeman surreptitiously on his way for a hamburger. The cop is not killed and the complication arises that he might be able to identify her. Then Carmel learns that the love of her life has been having an affair with a secretary, and to make things worse, the drug dealer she hired to put her in contact with the hitman — notice how I’ve cleverly used all the appropriate endings to satisfy everyone – has sent a blackmail note revealing he kept a videotape of their conversation that recorded Loan requesting the hit. The denouement is quite satisfying. Lucas is an interesting character, albeit not as well developed perhaps as one would like, perhaps because he has been explained more in previous novels. He makes some very funny comments about a six-hundred-page report he has to read entitled “The Mayor’s Select Commission on Cultural Diversity, Alternative Lifestyles, and Other Ableness in the Minneapolis Police Department: A Preliminary Approach to Divergent Modalities” [Executive Summary] — otherwise known as the Perfection Report, or The Wellness Thing, or the Wholeness Report or the Otherness Report. It’s a very thick report that literally saves Lucas’s bacon — well, maybe not his bacon. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
A somewhat likeable assassin and a very unlikeable lawyer present Minneapolis deputy police chief Lucas Davenport with an tough challenge. Clara Rinker is a pretty, athletic, highly skilled assassin. Carmel Loan is a highly polished, highly talented, highly priced criminal defense attorney. Barbara Allen is a somewhat stout, very wealthy woman with the misfortune of possessing something Carmel wants - her husband.

Highly entertaining. ( )
  SunnySD | Mar 26, 2013 |
This is my first book by John Sandford and I loved it. I decided to read it because I saw that a movie was coming out on USA and I wanted to read it before I watched the movie. I just hope the movie is just as good as the book.

Lucas Davenport is a detective in Minnesota and is after a murderer. You follow Detective Davenport as he tries to unravel not just one murder but 3 murders that look like they were committed by a professional. Lucas also has it in for a lawyer, Carmel Loan. The twists and turns that this story takes kept me reading until my eyes were closing due to lack of sleep.

Need a little excitement in your reading than I suggest you give Certain Prey a try. ( )
  crazy4reading | Nov 5, 2011 |
I have a rule of thumb for watching television - no doctors, no lawyers, no cops. It's different with books. I was given a copy of "Certain Prey," and decided to give it a shot. There's a lot to like in this book - the protagonist, Lucas Davenport, is a well-regarded cop. Attractive, but not too attractive; smart, but not too smart; determined, but willing to take time off to go fishing. There's a streak of independence that befits his status as a deputy chief, but he's not a Dirty Harry flouter of the rules. You can't help but like Davenport and his fellow cops. I also liked the assassin, Clara Rinker, he and the FBI are chasing. She's not a stock character - for one thing, she's a woman. On one hand, she's reacting to a traumatic past; on the other, she's a shrewd businesswoman, doing very well what she does best.

The plot revolves around Rinker being hired to kill the wife of Minneapolis attorney Hale Allen. Why? Seems the woman who hired Rinker, high-powered Minneapolis attorney Carmen Loan, is fatally infatuated with Allen and hopes, with his wife out of the way, to become the second Mrs. Allen. The character of Carmen Loan is clearly the weakest element of the book - a highly intelligent, successful, ruthless nutjob in the mode of "Fatal Attraction"'s Alex Forrest. She has better taste in clothes than in men, attracted to Allen for the shallowest reasons and willing to engage in many more murders to cover her tracks. By contrast, Clara Rinker, while generally dispassionate about her job (though she will not murder a child witness), is generally clear-headed and highly professional. Her loneliness as a free-lance executioner with mob ties, causes her to bond with Carmen as a BFF, and that throws a serious kink into her business model.

This book really is a procedural - how and why do Rinker and Loan plan their murders and subsequent actions to deflect the police and FBI away from them; and do how the cops, led by Davenport, track them down. In the end, Carmen follows her lunatic plans right down the line; Clara Rinker, not so much, and that's another good thing about "Certain Prey."

I wonder whether the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce has a love/hate relationship with John Sandford. He brings attention to the city and shines a glowing light on its law enforcement professionals. He also avoids the "Fargo" cliches about Minnesotans (yes, I loved the movie). But he also amps up the murder rate in Minneapolis beyond what would seem believable. If you can suspend reality on that, and if you can swallow Carmen Loan as a character, this is a book to enjoy. I did. ( )
  fromkin | Sep 29, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Sandfordprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferrone, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansen in de Wal, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Clara Rinker. Of the three unluckiest day in Barbara Allen's life, the first was the day Clara Rinker was raped behind a St. Louis nudie bar called Zanadu,which was located west of the city in a dusty checkerboard of truck terminals, warehouses and light assembly plants.
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Book description
Clara Rinker is a southerner, trim, pleasant, attractive – and the best hit woman in the business. She isn't showy, not like one of those movie killers; she just goes quietly about her business, collects her money, and goes home.
It's when she's hired for a job in Minnesota that things become complicated for her. A defense attorney wants a rival eliminated, and that's fine. But then a witness survives, the attorney starts acting weird, this big cop Davenport gets on her case, and loose ends begin popping up faster than a sweater unraveling. Clara hates loose ends, and knows of only one way to deal with them: You start cutting them off, one after another, until they're all gone.
Lucas thinks the case is worrisome enough, but he has no idea of the toll it is about to take on him. For of the many criminals he has hunted during his life, none has been as efficient or as ferociously intelligent as the one who is about to start hunting him – and none knows so well what his weak spots are... and how to penetrate them.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425174271, Mass Market Paperback)

In the 10th installment of his popular Prey series, John Sandford (a.k.a. John Camp) pits his popular antihero, Lucas Davenport, against a pair of cunning killers unlike any he has encountered before.

Attorney Carmel Loan is preternaturally beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious. When she becomes infatuated with fellow barrister Hale Allen, she isn't going to let a little thing like his being married get in her way. A quick meeting with an ex-client sets up the hit on Hale's wife, Barbara. The professional killer, Clara Rinker, is one of the best in the business. Smart, attractive, with a gentle Southern drawl, no one would suspect her of being a top Mafia hit man... er, hit person. When she takes the Allen assignment, she figures it will be easy money for a day's work. But things go wrong from the beginning. Loan's ex-client made a tape of the meeting, and is shaking her down for money. Worse, the shooting of a witness--a cop--brings deputy inspector Lucas Davenport into the case. Somehow Davenport has not only linked Loan to the killing, but seems to have a lead on Rinker as well. Carmel and Clara team up to clean up the loose ends, which includes getting Davenport off their back by whatever means necessary.

Like all of Sandford's books, Certain Prey is a fast and furious ride. Fans of previous Prey books will find Davenport a little older, a little more wary, but no less sharp-witted and determined. Though parts of the plot may stretch the limits of credulity and the dialogue falls a little flat in places, this is still a wonderfully crafted thriller, possibly one of the best of 1999. Certain Prey cements Sandford's standing among such luminaries as James Lee Burke, Lawrence Block, and Thomas Harris. --Perry Atterberry

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:05 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"To whom does a beautiful and ambitious attorney turn when she needs a romantic rival eliminated? Nowhere better than a beautiful and equally ambitious hit woman. Trouble is, Lucas Davenport is on to both of them - and now it's his turn to be they prey."--P.[4] of cover.… (more)

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