Top critical review
What can I say?
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 6, 2000
Lucas Davenport, ace investigator, is on the trail of the latest woman-hunter who savagely kills without leaving a clue. Louis Vullion is a mediocre attorney turned serial killer who loves games as much as Davenport. The two begin a cat-and-mouse chase once Louis fails in his attempts to murder Carla Ruiz.
This is the first Sandford novel I've attempted. After reading so many positive, enthusiastic reviews of the PREY series, I simply had to start at the beginning. Was I disappointed? Not entirely. There are some interesting characters. Carla Ruiz is a rather strong, determined, intelligent woman. Sister Mary Joseph (or Elle Kruger when she grew up with Davenport) was my favorite character overall; she's witty, intelligent, confident and she serves as an anchor and confidante for Davenport. Louis himself is an interesting killer; however, there is no clear motive for his killing. There are some brief mentions of a weak mother, but nothing substantial about Louis is ever fleshed out. Annie McGowan and Jennifer Carey are rival tv reporters sniffing out the hottest story in Minnesota. Then there's Davenport. Intelligent? Yes. Brilliant detective? Perhaps. But he also possesses the scruples of a street hood, beds half the female characters before the story truly begins, and is quite willing to plant evidence or to physically threaten/harm witnesses or suspects. He designs elaborate games which supposedly supplies him with an income allowing him to drive a Porsche, own a wilderness hideaway, a boat, and several collectible firearms. One of his many girlfriends becomes pregnant, and the two share many a glass of wine and bottles of beer throughout the novel. Hmmmm.....
The last 100 pages of this novel redeemed it in my opinion. I was honestly rather bored through the earlier segments, but I appreciated the quicker pace offered more toward the end. Perhaps I've read one too many serial-killer novels, but this one was a bit too predictable for my taste. I know I'll try out at least one more in the series to see if Sandford develops some of these characters (and if Davenport's libido cools off). I'd also like to see if Sandford is able to strengthen the writing and to provide a less predictable story with a more thrilling conclusion. Overall, I give this 3 stars because it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I'll reserve more glowing reviews if the next in the series does better at grabbing my attention from beginning to end.