SHADOW PREY/John Sandford (Lucas Davenport #2)

A slumlord and a welfare supervisor butchered in Minneapolis . . . a rising political star executed in Manhattan . . . an influential judge taken in Oklahoma City . . . All the homicides have the same grisly method – the victim’s throat is slashed with an Indian ceremonial knife – and in every case the twisted trail leads back through the Minnesota Native American community to an embodiment of primal evil known as Shadow Love. Once unleashed, Shadow Love’s need to kill cannot be checked, even by those who think they control him. Soon he will be stalking Lucas Davenport – and the woman he loves…
Never get involved with a cop: Lieutenant Lucas Davenport has been warning women for years, but now he finds himself on dangerous ground with a policewoman named Lily Rothenburg, on assignment from New York to help investigate the murders. Both have previous commitments, but neither can stop, and as their affair grows more intense, so too does the mayhem surrounding them, until the combined passion and violence threaten to spin out of control and engulf them both. Together, Lucas and Lily must stalk the drugged-out, desperate world of the city’s meanest streets to flush out Shadow Love – not knowing they are now the objects of his deadliest desires….

Shadow Prey is the sequel to Rules of Prey, the very first novel in a series of 21, with the latest instalment to be released in May this year. In this book, Detective Lucas Davenport, the street-smart, chick-savvy Minneapolis cop who drives a Porsche to work and invents computer games on his free time, is back tracking killers, and this time, he has a partner from New York, the tough and irresistible Lieutenant Lily Rothberg.

First published in hardcover in 1990, the 1991 Berkeley mass market paperback edition carries a new introduction by the author, John Sandford, the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize winner John Camp. In the introduction, Sandford details the history of this second Lucas Davenport novel mentioning that he intended the sequel to be a social commentary and thriller in one. And a social commentary indeed it is, touching on the culture and history of the contemporary Indian, particularly the Sioux, in the United States. Of course, there is always the heart-pumping thrill and suspense of chasing and catching murderers which only John Sandford can do.

And as in the succeeding Davenport novels, John Sandford is excellent in weaving the politics of police detective work with the nature of news and TV coverage. And like most cop stories go, there is a lot of cussing and cursing that a particularly sensitive reader might not find comfortable to read. Of course, there are always moral issues which I disagree with such as Davenport’s womanizing and somewhat immature (for me) views on relationships.

All in all, the book is a thrilling read and in a sense informative. I even agree with Sandford that a pretty good social commentary could still be written as a thriller, which in this endeavor he was able to successfully pull through.

3 stars.

Advisory: Lots of cuss words, vivid violence and some sex scenes.

1/30 2011 Reading Goal: Off The Shelf Challenge.
4/50 Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge.

Book cover image from Goodreads and blurb from John Sandford’s official website.

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