Audiobook Review: Lucas Davenport Series | Stolen Prey

          This novel made me feel like I was thrust onto a roller coaster that threw me through a barrel of emotions, mayhem, and so, so much murder and crime. I wasn't ready!
I really wasn't
         For those of you, who like me, hadn't ever read John Sandford's'  Lucas Davenport novel before, here's the premise for Stolen Prey:
Lucas Davenport has seen many terrible murder scenes. This is one of the worst. In the small Minnesota town of Wayzata, an entire family has been killed—husband, wife, two daughters, dogs.
There’s something about the scene that pokes at Lucas’s cop instincts—it looks an awful lot like the kind of scorched-earth retribution he’s seen in drug killings sometimes. But this is a seriously upscale town, and the husband was an executive vice president at a big bank. It just doesn’t seem to fit.
Until it does. And where it leads Lucas will take him into the darkest nightmare of his life.
            Stolen Prey starts off with a meth-head robbery. So a typical day in Idaho. That was my introduction to the main character of the novel and of the series, Lucas Davenport. What an introduction to a wild ride of a tale and a slap in the face of reality in terms of crime. Most movies, shows, and books that I read don't tend to be overly graphic so Sandford's storytelling was a chilling dip into a frozen lake I didn't know I wanted to jump into but now that I'm here I might as well see how the polar bears survive, if you get my meaning.
            Many of the crimes and cases that were brought up or used in Stolen Prey were recognizable to me as being based on real-life crimes. As a writer who dips into the genre of thriller and crime, I often have to research some of history's most gruesome and insane case that make you wish for the days when your paranoia was at a reasonable level. However, seeing that Sandford has been doing this for almost thirty years!- (as of July 31, 2018), I can't imagine the kinds of research he's had to do to be able to write so convincingly and from all sides of the spectrum. What I'm trying to say is, #WritersSolidarity
Mark Harmon- Lucas Davenport
by silverfox2159
            Along the lines of solidarity, I mentioned in my Hemlock Grove that I came away truly inspired by Brian McGreevy's ability to not only make his characters ugly and depraved but revel in it and let them grow as their ugly selves. For so long as a writer I was convinced that every main character had to be this absolute rose of celestial proportions that had been dipped in the sea and bathed by Aphrodite herself to be an acceptable character. Now, after four years and two finished books, I see that isn't the case at all. In Stolen Prey John Sandford did more than his fair share of showing how ugly, how grey, how immoral, and how kind any of his characters were, regardless of their status as protagonist or antagonist.
           That being said, I do feel like I need more context to speak about the characters in order to fully grasp them. Meaning that I want to start from the very beginning and see where Lucas starts off. See how he meets and eventually adopts Letty. See how Letty was before the climax of Stolen Prey, I get an idea but as always more context is better when drawing conclusions on a character.
           For the characters that were solely in this book, Juan Uno, Juan Dos, and Juan Tres, along with the bank heist crew, I felt that the bank heist crew were given more distinctive characterizations than Uno, Dos, and Tres. I mean they're literally just referred to as numbers and are mostly just caricatures of Mexican gang stereotypes. Which would be ~fine~ if we didn't get the other side of this case via the lens in which we see the bank heist crew. 
The OG 'Very Bad, No Good Here, Guy™
              Most of the time crime books, the ones I've read, are focused on either the Detective™ or the Murder/Very Bad Guy™. This gives us the readers time to digest and see who this detective is and get inside of the murder's mind or straight up just follow the murderer around and see how far they're willing to take themselves. The problem in Stolen Prey, just based on characterizations, is that we don't get to know Uno, Dos, and Tres as separate entities, not really. Whereas the bank heist crew, we get backstories, their own phrases, their own locations, their own involvement in the heist, etc. It felt unfair in terms who were mean to understand.
             Not that I want to relate to murdering and Very Bad, No Good Here, Guys™, just that I felt the text didn't allow for there to be anything else to the Trio than what was already known about them.            
            Martinez on the other hand! Every time we would jump to her POV I wished we hadn't because it just became, sadder and more disheartening with each passing word. She had such a miserable existence! There were no happy moments at all! There was nothing! So, I guess, that means Sandford kinda made up for his lack of backstory for Uno, Dos, and Tres by giving Martinez just every depressing thing a woman could go through in her life and end it in a matching depressing fashion. 
              Cheers to you, Sandford! I'm gonna have to drink if I'm gonna keep up with your stories!
              On the up and up, I did like this book and as I've mentioned above and many times in my video, I am so curious as to where Lucas and his world started and would not be miffed to take a look at Rules of Prey. 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I came into this totally blind to any of the previous novels as it was given to my mom and me to read on our cross-country trip, however, we were still able to follow it. Knowing now that it's the 22nd out of a series makes me really want to go back to the first one and see where Lucas first started out. While reading this many of the crimes depicted sounded hauntingly familiar to real-life crimes which I'm 99.9% sure that's how Sandford got his ideas (especially if this is his 22nd crime/mystery/detective book for this series). I will say that it did take a couple of chapters to get into the story once I got used to the tone of the novel and where Sandford was going with this. All the plots coming together, in the end, were very subtly implanted in the beginning which I very much appreciated. What I didn't appreciate was that we (Mom and I) were reading about all these horrific and trauma-inducing murder/torture scenes taking place in the St. Paul area while we were driving and STAYING right outside of St.Paul that night. ~Shakes head~ I never knew Minnesota could be so terrifying so thank you, Sandford, for teaching me just how scary and messed up you Mary Tyler-Moore-had-a-show-here-once, lakes-galore, Viking-loving, St.Paulians are. Very much appreciated.

18/22 Uno, Dos, and Tres's will tell you to go back to the beginning of the series.
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