REVIEW by @BunnyBethA: Buried Prey by John Sandford

A house demolition provides an unpleasant surprise for Minneapolis-the bodies of two girls, wrapped in plastic. It looks like they’ve been there a long time. Lucas Davenport knows exactly how long.
In 1985, Davenport was a young cop with a reputation for recklessness, and the girls’ disappearance was a big deal. His bosses ultimately declared the case closed, but he never agreed with that. Now that he has a chance to investigate it all over again, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: It wasn’t just the bodies that were buried. It was the truth.

Buried Prey is the twenty-third novel in the Lucas Davenport Prey series.
Davenport is currently a top investigator at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), but he started his law enforcement career as a beat cop in Minneapolis. And one of his first cases was the disappearance, and presumed murders, of the Jones sisters. This was the case that Davenport started working as a detective.
Buried Prey begins in present day with the discovery of two girls, and the cops at the scene know it’s the bodies of the Jones sisters. When Davenport learns about the bodies, he’s reminded that his failure to find the Jones sisters likely enabled a killer to continue killing. The next 160 pages, “Then,” describes the 1985 investigation and Davenport’s days as a rookie cop trying to prove himself. This is the young Davenport, the athlete/ladies man/driven rookie cop who is determined to become a homicide detective. I feel that this section of the book makes the story drag a bit, because when I read a murder mystery I like to see the story progress pretty quickly, giving me the facts of the murder(s), the details of the investigation, and the solution (whether the crime was solved or not).
But I also feel that the Then section provides good background material to the character of Lucas Davenport, the part of his personality that is haunted by murders, and the need to bring criminals to justice. This part of the book also reminds me of my chuckles as I read the first Prey books, how Davenport got any woman he wanted, any time he wanted, as he worked to solve cases. I’ve always liked Davenport, even when he was being a total jerk, because he has so many other good qualities.
Present throughout Buried Prey is Davenport’s gang of investigators that he’s worked with since his first days as a cop: Marcy Sherrill, Del, Jenkins, Shrake and the guy they all refer to as “that F*****g Flowers.” The dialogue in this book, as in all the Davenport books, is carefully crafted to show the reader who the characters are, their motivations and the quirks that make them human. Through the dialogue, we learn that Del loves to eat huge quantities of bad food, Davenport is a clothes horse and a bit of a heel when it comes to women, and Marcy Sherrill has to work harder than her male colleagues to get ahead.
There’s no one to compare with Davenport’s tenacity when it comes to solving a crime, and he’s working at warp speed to figure out who killed the Jones sisters. Davenport’s also up to his old tricks, by not always operating according to the rules. Another thing I like about Davenport.
You may have already picked up on this, but I love John Sandford’s Prey series. Over the years, I’ve watched Davenport grow up, as a man and as an investigator. He’s a flawed, marvelously crafted character who is still passionate about catching criminals and bringing them to justice.
Buried Prey is a solid story with some surprises, great dialogue, characters I would like to know for real, and an ending that’s  both satisfying and kind of sad (a lot like life).
I give Buried Prey 4 stars (in The Pure Textuality rating system, an excellent work, this would make a good edition to your library). I almost gave this book 5 stars, but the Then section still makes me a bit cranky.
The latest Davenport book, Stolen Prey, is being released May 15, 2012. I’ve got my Kindle copy pre-ordered!
Click here for hardcover!
Click here for Kindle format!

*Paperback release date is May 1, 2012*


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  1. I swear Beth, we are long lost sisters. I love this series. Let’s split them, you take the Prey series and I’ll take Virgil Flowers. I really would like to meet ole Virgil.
    Great review

  2. I read all but the last 2 or 3 Prey books. I kinda lost interest but this one looks good. Thanks for letting us know.

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