Review

Chosen Prey

by John Sandford

Read an Excerpt



There are some really twisted people walking around. They don't
have big neon signs pointing this out to the world, or dots on
their hand that glow, or anything like that. They look like you or
me (well, like you, anyway) and you'd never suspect them of
anything until they abduct a child or the local gendarme
find skeletons in their basement, and then their neighbors all
wonder about the beast within. But they are out there amongst us.
Oh yes, they are.

One of these mistakes of nature is the lead character of CHOSEN
PREY, John Sandford's latest Lucas Davenport novel. Sandford, who
just keeps getting better and better with these annual gems,
doesn't waste any time introducing the reader to James Qatar;
before the second page is turned you're going to be real uneasy
about this guy --- and with good reason. Qatar is an art history
professor, published author, and a really, really sick guy. He has
a hobby: He secretly takes photographs of women and, using some
modest artistic talent and some fairly commonplace computer
software, turns them into highly imaginative sexual drawings. If he
stopped at this we could all have ourselves a lively debate about
invasions of privacy and the rights of men to privately exercise
their imaginations, and consent, and a hundred other things --- but
our friend Dr. Qatar doesn't stop there. No, Qatar learned back in
his formative years that he likes killing and he has become very
good at it. In fact, he is so good at it that no one is even aware
that anyone has been killed.

CHOSEN PREY begins, interestingly enough, just as Qatar's terrible
secret life is beginning to unravel. Sandford takes some really
interesting chances here. There is no real mystery for the reader
as to Qatar's identity; Qatar's victims, who have been concealed
for several years, begin to be discovered before the first chapter
is complete; and Qatar is by turns so interesting and repulsive
that he threatens to hijack the story away from Davenport, who is
supposed to be the star of the piece. Sandford, however, keeps
things interesting enough, cutting back and forth between Qatar's
activities and Davenport's methodical, less than perfect but
realistic police work, that the reader can't stop turning pages.
Longtime readers of the Davenport novels will be especially
intrigued by Davenport's social life. He actually manages to remain
monogamous for the entire novel (which is not to say that his
attention never wanders, if only for a moment) --- and his future,
both professionally and personally, portends great change. Sandford
has become a master at not only keeping his readers interested in
the novel at hand, but also at creating anticipation for the next
one. Sandford also manages in CHOSEN PREY to plug his equally
intriguing Kidd novels, and does so quite plausibly and without
straining himself.

Sandford, with CHOSEN PREY, continues to tinker with Lucas
Davenport's professional and personal life while introducing one of
the more disturbing antagonists of recent crime fiction. This is
one that will keep you awake at night for more than one
reason.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Chosen Prey
by John Sandford

  • Publication Date: May 7, 2001
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399147284
  • ISBN-13: 9780399147289