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About John Sandford
John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. He is the author of the Prey novels, the Kidd novels, the Virgil Flowers novels, and six other books, including three YA novels co-authored with his wife Michele Cook.
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On the night of the fifth of July, in Red Wing, Minnesota, a boy smelled death in a cornfield off an abandoned farm. When the county deputy took a look, he found a body stuffed in a cistern. Then another. And another. By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, it was fifteen and counting, the victims killed over just as many summers, regular as clockwork.
How could this happen in a town so small without anyone noticing? And with the latest victim only two weeks dead, Davenport knows the killer is still at work, still close by. Most likely someone the folks of Red Wing see every day. Won’t they be surprised.
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.
Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.
The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures . . . of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of radical groups.
It's obviously alarming--is there an unstable extremist tracking the loved ones of powerful politicians with deadly intent? But when the FBI is called in, there isn't much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can't be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI's constraints: Lucas Davenport.
The killer was mad but brilliant.
He left notes with every woman he killed. Rules of murder: Never have a motive. Never follow a discernible pattern. Never carry a weapon after it has been used...So many rules to his sick, violent games of death.
But Lucas Davenport, the cop who’s out to get him, isn’t playing by the rules.
“Terrifying...Sandford has crafted the kind of trimmed-to-the-bone thriller that is hard to put down…scary...intriguing...unpredictable.”—Chicago Tribune
“Rules of Prey is so chilling that you’re almost afraid to turn the pages. So mesmerizing you cannot stop...A crackle of surprises.”—*Carl Hiaasen
“Sleek and nasty...A big scary, suspenseful read, and I loved every minute of it.”—Stephen King
“A cop and a killer you will remember for a long, long time.”—Robert B. Parker
At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of science and medicine. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?
Then a renowned and confrontational scholar winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and as he probes the recent ideological unrest, he soon comes to realize he's dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.
A slumlord butchered in Minneapolis...A rising political star executed in Manhattan...A judge slashed to death in Oklahoma City...
Each victim has a history of bad behavior, but the only thing the killings have in common is the murder weapon—a Native American ceremonial knife—and a trail of blood that leads to an embodiment of evil known only as Shadow Love. Recruited to be the lethal hand of a terrorist campaign, Shadow Love has his own bloody agenda, one he will do anything to achieve.
Enlisted to find him are Minneapolis police lieutenant Lucas Davenport and New York City police officer Lily Rothenburg. But despite the countrywide carnage they needn’t look far. Because Shadow Love is right behind them.
Clara Rinker is twenty-eight, beautiful, charmingly southern—and the best hit woman in the business. She just goes about her business, collects her money, and goes home. Her latest hit sounds simple: a defense attorney wants a rival eliminated. No problem—until a witness survives. Clara usually knows how to deal with loose ends: cut them off, one by one, until they're all gone. This time, there’s one loose end that’s hard to shake.
Lucas Davenport has no idea of the toll this case is about to take on him. Clara knows his weak spots. She knows how to penetrate them, and how to use them. And when a woman like Clara has the advantage, no one is safe.
Pinion, Minnesota: a metropolis of all of seven hundred souls, for which the word "moribund" might have been invented. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would--until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can") and a buddy come up with a scheme to put Pinion on the map. They'd heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the whole town into a shrine, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And all those pilgrims needed food, shelter, all kinds of crazy things, right? They'd all get rich! What could go wrong?
When the dead body shows up, they find out, and that's only the beginning of their troubles--and Virgil Flowers'--as they are all about to discover all too soon.
Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don't much care about a low-level guy--it's his boss they want--but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.
Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese's rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves.
Now Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and--as Davenport will come to find--full of surprises . . .
Lucas Davenport had crossed paths with her before.
A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she'd fit right in. He was also convinced that she'd been responsible for three murders, though he'd never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.
He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he's heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she's made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.
But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end.