Middling to Fair Prey

16 11 2011

No witty opening here, but dang, that is a long list of John Sandford/Lucas Davenport books with “Prey” as the last word in the title. I just finished “Buried ____.” Wanna guess what the ____is? Starts with P and has r after P. Has y at the end. So that’s Pr_y. Prey! Yep 🙂

This book is a middling to fair read. On a five-star system, I’m torn whether to give it two stars or three. Three is too high, but two is too low. I’m gonna say two stars, because I’d expect something better from a veteran writer such as Sandford.

Okay, so “Buried Prey” on its surface deals with what happens before and after two girls’ bodies are dug up. Turns out the bodies belong to an old case Lucas Davenport worked on.  Flash back to that entire case, which is about half the book and concludes when police kill the main suspect, a guy Davenport is pretty sure isn’t the actual bad dude. The second half deals with present time.

My blaaaaahs with the book:

(1) It reads more as a recital of events than as a novel. He did this. He went there. This happened. This new character said this. Then they went to this person’s office and then interviewed this suspect. Then they saw a judge for a search warrant. In other words, pacing was flat.

(2) The entire back-in-time segment was unnecessary. First, there was no immediacy. We knew what was gonna happen. There was no need to know the nitty-gritties, and it’s not like Sandford’s voice could save the day here. I have read several books with this setup, and it worked. Sandford just could not make it work, and there was too much of a coincidence joining two separate cases. Sandford would have been better off interweaving necessary back story with present-time story (not that present-time story was any better).

(3) Precious little interiority, and what little there is does no good. I don’t feel a connection to any of the characters. A major character gets killed off, and her killing falls very, very flat because of the lack of emotional connection.

What little decent interiority there was belonged with the killer. I felt more connected to him than any of the other characters. The killer had flaws and was not flat or perfect like the other characters.

Middling prey, indeed.

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