I have been intending to share my favourite series and up to this point, I’ve only shared one – Greg Iles’ Penn Cage series. It’s certainly way up there in terms of my favourites but so is the Prey Series by John Sandford.
I started to read when I was very young and then started to read adult fare at an early age – I could say I was ready or I just needed more to read but I do recall reading the first chapter of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill and being upset about it for many years after. And it was after that that I was introduced to John Sandford’s Prey Series. The very first novel came out in 1989 and while I didn’t read it right away, my Uncle J was buying them so I was able to read a few in a row and since then, I’ve been pretty faithful and have read each new one as its comes out (and once, I think a bookstore had it on the floor a week early by accident and I benefited).
The Prey Series centres around a character named Lucas Davenport and when you meet him in the very first novel, Rules of Prey, he is a Lieutenant in the Minneapolis Police Department and works in Special Intelligence on his own. His career progresses over 27 books but he stays the same awesome character. I really like Lucas Davenport because he is a rough, go for it kind of character. He is smart and fearless and always goes after the worst of the bad guys. That makes for great stories no matter the bad guy – sadistically evil characters, truly crazy characters, robbers, a whack job pimp who appears in more than one book and some that are psychopaths for sure. And one of my favourite fictional criminals – a hit-woman. Lucas also loves women but not in a shady way, he seems to appreciate them and he sometimes reads poetry. Davenport’s side hustle has made him wealthy and he drives a Porsche which makes him stand out too.
The Prey novels are full of great action, police work, surveillance and everything you might find in books with an intelligent police office and the criminals I described above. But they are also fun – humour and sarcasm appear at all the right times and in addition to being a big fan of Lucas Davenport himself, I am also big fan of many of the recurring characters – Del, Sloan and Marcy Sherril who he works with early on, Virgil Flowers (who gets his very own post soon), Jenkins and Shrake in later books and Elle, Lucas’ oldest friend. And others I won’t write about because I don’t want to give you any clues as some characters will appear in some books and come up later in important ways. And what I also like about the books is that you see the story from both Davenport’s perspective and from the bad guys’ perspectives. You get the whole picture.
The thing that stands out for me about Lucas Davenport is that he always gets the bad guy – even if that means he has to kick some ass. In the very first novel, he has already as police officer killed 4 to 5 people. I don’t agree with police violence in real life but in a fictional novel, I want the good guys to win no matter what and I want the bad guys (most of them, not the hitwoman) to go down. Davenport is always the guy for that. Here is a list of all books published to this point and you can count on a new book in the spring:
I will say this – you can read the series out of order if you want. In every book, Sandford gives a great idea of who Lucas is – even down to explaining his scars – and when characters reoccur, you get some backstory so you would have a sense that they appeared before but I would recommend starting at the beginning. I took a trip earlier this fall that I knew included lots of plane and train time so I downloaded the series onto my Kobo to take with me and I read from book 1 to book 23 even though I had read them all before. I had read most of them years ago so while I remembered key moments (i.e. Winter Prey), it was almost like reading new books. That is how I know it is worth reading them and worth reading them from the start.
I hope that you enjoy!