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Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Chosen Prey (edition 2002)

by John Sandford

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1,635174,433 (3.93)8
Title:Chosen Prey
Authors:John Sandford
Info:Simon & Schuster Ltd (2002), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Mystery, Thriller, Lucas Davenport, TBR

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Chosen Prey by John Sandford



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There is one drawback to being a master of your craft, of having the ability to create fascinating characters and situations, and build suspense, and make the routine seem interesting. What happens when you don’t carry it all the way through to the conclusion of the book? What happens when the last fifty pages read as if they’d been plotted by someone else? Those superior skills turn against you. Disappointment is magnified because enhanced expectations are not met.

There are two major problems with the ending to Chosen Prey. The more important one involves the woman intended to be his final victim, whom we meet at the same time as the killer, early in the novel. James Qatar has already decided to kill her when a chance remark intrigues him enough to spare her. She continues to play a significant role throughout the story and yet, as events wind down and Qatar slips his surveillance with the intention of killing her, their confrontation happens “off-screen.” We’ve already witnessed him kill twice, one of whom was his mother; in neither case is the reader as intimately connected as we are to this character. We have to know what both killer and victim are thinking and feeling. Nothing is gained in terms of suspense or drama by withholding this scene. A lot is lost in terms of satisfaction.

The second problem is lessened because it is preceded by the breach of faith recounted above. It still stands out. Essentially, the surprise twist is not much of a surprise. The character in questions was always going to do something. Initial speculation included blowing the arrest or killing the suspect whether he surrenders or not--something along those lines. So once the “something” actually does happen, there is no other candidate. That Sanford can draw a character so deftly that his mild instability is obvious to us but not to those around him is, I repeat, a considerable skill.

Skill is a double-edged sword in Chosen Prey. I enjoyed most of the trip, I always enjoy the company, but disappointment remains. Rare disappointment; say one--maybe two--out of the twelve Davenport novels I’ve read to date. Not disappointment enough to keep me from recommending the novel based on its other strengths. But bear in mind that I’m a big fan and I fully expect a return to form next time out. ( )
  JohnWCuluris | Oct 7, 2016 |
He is a prestegious history professor at St. Patrick University in Minneapolis. He has a very secretive life on the side. He enjoys playing kinky sex games with women he barely knows and ends up killing them for pleasure. He also enjoys taking pictures of women and distorting their figures to look like they are participating in grotesque sexual activities. His method of murder: a rope. The killer is a very sick individual that has killed over eight women in three states. None of the cops have been able to link him to the murder. When a murdered women turns up in the barren woods, close to home to Lucas Davenport, he vows to find this killer who killed this beautiful woman. After an intense investigation, and with the assistance of an aout of state officer, Davenport discovers that three other women have mysteriously disappeared in Wisconsin. All these murders/ disappearances are connected. Can Davenport and the gang get the killer before he claims his next victim?

The suspense is in watching Davenport hunt down this very clever murderer. Davenport is not a super-cop. He works hard, thinks hard, is sometimes lucky, sometimes not. He is doggedly persistent and was quite the womanizer as well in the earlier "Prey" novels. All in all, Lucas Davenport is a constantly evolving character. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Chosen Prey is the twelfth novel by John Sanford that features Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Lucas Davenport. Although it is the first that I have read, I didn’t feel that I needed to have read any others to understand the characters. Here Davenport is chasing a serial killer who likes to photograph young blonde women, render the photographs as a tracing or drawing, then, where possible, strangle and bury the women.

In some of the chapters, including the first, the narrator is the deranged killer. Thus the reader gets a direct insight into the mind of a psychopath.

Sanford is adept at describing the interplay among the various policemen and detectives working on the case as they try to identify the killer. Somewhat surprisingly, they focus on the actual killer as a suspect about two-thirds through the book, and then the rest of the book deals with their building the evidence for a compelling criminal prosecution. I was a little disappointed in the structure of the plot in that the final “smoking gun” of evidence is found in a manner reminiscent of a deus ex machina. This is particularly annoying in that we are often allowed into the mind of the killer, but not when he hides the key evidence.

I would characterize the book as more of a police procedure story and character study than a thriller, but Sanford does interject a bit of suspense at the end. Over all, I rate this a pretty decent read, but not the kind you just can’t put down.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | May 3, 2016 |
A killer has some serious cleaning up to do to keep from getting caught—and Davenport's detection skills make him number one on his hit list. ( )
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  Tutter | Mar 1, 2015 |
An art history professor with a taste for fine clothes and naive but curvy Scandinavian blondes, James Quatar might be just another pretentious, over-sensitive twit with tenure. Except he's a killer. His calling card, Photoshopped erotic drawings of his victims, has finally been spotted. Now, as Davenport and company close in, Quatar attempts to clean up. And the body count rises...

Sandford paints great characters, then weaves a heck of a story around them. ( )
  SunnySD | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Een seriemoordenaar fotografeert zijn slachtoffers.
Hierna monteert hij hun gezichten in pornografische

foto's die hij van internet haalt.
For Beryl Weekley
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James Qatar dropped his feet over the edge of the bed and rubbed the back of his neck, a momentary veil of depression falling upon him.
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Book description
Lucas Davenport returns in the most harrowing and unexpected Prey novel yet -- the story of a congenial man, and his most uncongenial obsession...

Art history professor James Qatar's hobby was taking secret photographs of women. At night when he was all alone he'd dream about them and indulge his fantasies. Then one day his fantasy went too far. Now it's Qatar's turn to become an obsession -- of Davenport's. And for both men there's no turning back.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425182878, Mass Market Paperback)

When a spring thaw disinters the body of a young woman who's been missing for over a year, Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport doesn't have much to go on except the victim's rumored connection with an unnamed man, who may be an artist and also, perhaps, a priest. But then the deserted property where her body was discovered turns out to be a killing field full of other young blondes last seen in the company of a man with a nasty habit of superimposing their faces on pornographic drawings. Davenport begins to close in on a serial killer whose perverted hobby provides the clues Davenport needs to stop him in his bloody tracks. James Qatar isn't a priest, and he's not really an artist, but he's definitely a monster, one who's met his match in Davenport.

Davenport is a smart, thoughtful cop whose girlfriend is pressuring him to make a commitment to parenthood and whose boss is about to lose her job in a political turnover. While the search for the killer is handled in author John Sandford's usual, crisp, procedural style, it almost seems to be a pretext for exploring the evolution of Davenport's relationship with Dr. Weather Karkinnen. This 12th adventure in the author's popular Prey series will undoubtedly rocket to the top of the bestseller list, though it's not a standout. The novel displays the solid craftsmanship and narrative drive Sandford's known for, but his hero seems a little dispirited and out of sorts. Perhaps fatherhood will give Davenport a new lease on life. In the meantime, check out Sandford's backlist featuring his other hero, Kidd (The Fool's Run, The Empress File, The Devil's Code), who has a nice little walk-on here in which he begins a romance with Davenport's partner Marcy Sherrill. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:42 -0400)

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An art historian's kinky sexual obsession turns to serial murder.

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