Gathering Prey by John Sandford

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Gathering Prey by John Sandford

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Maverick cop Lucas Davenport returns in this his 25th adventure, but still manages to take part in a great action thriller that flips back and forth between the criminals and the cops.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471154263

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Any fan of a long running series will dread the book that falls off the cliff. This is the story that just does not make sense, or is so reminiscent of previous outings that it may as well not exist. With 24 titles already written about Lucas Davenport, the Prey series by John Sandford is overdue this, but will Gathering Prey be the moment that the maverick cop Davenport becomes a shadow of his former self?

Now that Davenport is over 50, he has money in the bank, a successful wife and young family; the life of a cop no longer quite has the appeal it once did. His role is one of bureaucracy as much as it is crime fighting, so when his daughter befriends someone in trouble be grabs the chance to get out of the office. This young friend is a traveller whose companion has gone missing and she believes a cult has killed him. With so many urban myths about cults, Davenport does not really believe the girl, but a little investigation shows that this may be a group that will rival the Manson Family.

I have read most of the Prey series all the way from Lucas' early days as a maverick cop who would shoot most criminals he met, to the more present family man who also seemingly shoots most criminals he meets. The selling point of Sandford's books is that he gives as much attention and detail to the criminals as he does the cop. He jumps from one to the other. The criminals start ahead, but as the book progresses Davenport and co get closer and closer until eventually the two elements combine. Gathering follows this trend as Lucas hunts down a group of killers. Unlike earlier books we also has Letty Davenport, his daughter, who becomes involved.

When Sandford sticks to the tried and trusted methodology of having Davenport front and centre there are some brilliantly thrilling moments. Sandford is fantastic at creating bad guys that you can loathe. The followers of Pilate are a nasty bunch and you want them to be caught. In this case there is a little too much muscularity in the book as it descends into an action-fest. For lovers of thrillers this works well, but having read other books in the series, Sandford is usually more adept at combining the action with a little more intelligence.

As this is book 25 of a long running series new readers may be put off, but they should not be. The story is a simple one that is easy to follow and not knowing the character's past won't really distract from the compelling chase element. For fans, the book does offer a little more as this is Lucas at the end of his tether. Events in this book will conspire so that the series may never be the same again.

Sandford has inspired younger writers; The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen takes the tit for tat element of Sandford's writing, but adds its own spin.

Buy Gathering Prey by John Sandford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gathering Prey by John Sandford at

Buy Gathering Prey by John Sandford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gathering Prey by John Sandford at


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