There's an interesting publicity campaign going on in the blogosphere. It's called The Days of PREY Tour. Bloggers are reading different books in the series up to the release date of the twentieth book, Storm Prey, on May 18th. We were assigned our books, so every book had an evaluation. We were all given the same set of questions to answer with our book. At the end of the review, you have the opportunity to win a copy of Storm Prey, and the book I read, Easy Prey. Details will be at the end of the blog.
The publisher put together the questionnaire. If you had the chance to follow all of the blogs on this tour, ending up with Storm Prey, you'll have a time line for the series featuring Lucas Davenport.
Title and series number of the book you read: I read Easy Prey, the eleventh book in the series.
Year published: 2000
Tell us about Lucas Davenport: What is Lucas doing when he first appears in the book? Set up the scene. If the reader didn't know Lucas Davenport, they wouldn't know who he was by his first appearance. Lucas has breakfast, picks up a friend, and a boat and, and drives 100 miles north of Minneapolis for the year's last muskie fishing trip. Afterwards, he goes to his cabin, works around there, and trailers a boat back for a friend who is on crutches.
Give us a sense of time and place.
It's mid-November, and cold. There's no wind, but there's quarter inch ice on the lake, and Minnesota is getting ready for winter. It's cold even for mid-November. Lucas is closing up his cabin, bringing in boats, while "All along the country roads, guys were pulling out ice-fishing houses out of their backyards, getting ready for winter." When he drops off the boat for his friend, Clay, Lucas and Clay's wife admire the moonless sky, and comment how pretty the sky is.
Lucas’s occupation or professional role?
Lucas is the Deputy Chief of Police in Minneapolis, although he once owned a computer company, and is quite wealthy because of the sale of that company.
Lucas’s personal status (single, dating, married): Lucas is single, actually in between women. But, he's looking. "He had wicked designs on three women, was worried sick about how he could possibly juggle them...and he couldn't get a date."
Lucas Davenport is a known clothes-horse; did you notice any special fashion references? There was actually only one reference to his clothes. When he couldn't get a date, he went shopping at Saks, where the custom-shop salesman knew him, and had saved Italian fabrics for him. He spent three thousand dollars there in two hours. What is mentioned more than his clothes, is his Porsche. He also owns a Tahoe, but he drives the Porsche, sometimes at speeds over 100 mph.
What was the crime/case being solved in Easy Prey?
Someone strangled Alie'e Maison, a famous model, while she was at a party with a number of other wealthy partygoers. The case is referred to by the media as the Alie's Maison case, but a second body was found in a locked closet in the house. The other dead woman was a hostess at an expensive hotel.
Does the title Easy Prey relate to the crime?
Not really, although the title could be interpreted to mean the two dead women were "easy." It could also mean that is seemed easy for a killer to take out a number of people associated with Alie'e Maison. However, the connections all seem a little weak for the crime.
Who was your favorite supporting character, good or evil?
I loved an undercover cop named Del. He was irreverent, funny, intelligent, and caring. He was present at the party when Alie'e Maison was killed, and had a number of connections to help with the investigation. He was a terrific, irreverent character.
What was your favorite scene or quote?
There were a number of irreverent scenes, and some black humor, as appropriate with a bunch of cops in a high-profile, tough investigation. But, my favorite scene occurred when cops were acting as bodyguards to an ex-model named Jael. Hours spent doing nothing in the house became a little boring for everyone, and one of the cops, Franklin, taught Jael to "cook" nachos, cheese and salsa during the time it took for a commercial break during a football game. He timed her from start to finish while she put it all together. One of the cops told her, "You want boiling-hot cheese on the chips, medium-warm salsa, very cold beer. You want that range." She asked if all men know this, and Lucas and both cops nodded, "and said at once, 'Of course."
It's a three-page, funny scene in the midst of a murder investigation.
Finally, how do you envision Lucas Davenport? If he were to be portrayed in a movie, what celebrity would play him? How do I picture Lucas Davenport?
Just like this -
Hugh Jackman is 6'2 1/2". I picture Lucas as tall, dark, good-looking, with an animal magnetism that can attract three women at once. At the same time, he has a sense of humor that men appreciate, and he works well with the other cops. Davenport can look scruffy, or he can look elegant. Hugh Jackman could easily play a Deputy Chief of Police with a smart mouth, who gets along with men, and has a way with women. And, anyone who saw him host the Oscars knows he could look great in the clothes that Davenport, "a clotheshorse," would wear.
I liked Lucas Davenport as a character. Jim read the Prey series for years, and I can see why they were favorites. Easy Prey was an interesting crime novel, with an appealing main character. Jim always enjoyed the wordplay and sexual play between characters in his favorite crime novels. However, this particular book in the series had too many characters, and seemed dragged out, although the investigation only took eight or nine days from start to finish. Without revealing spoilers, the final killer was a disappointment. Sandford didn't play fair with the reader when it came to the solution. I'll go back and read earlier books in the series, though, because I liked Lucas Davenport, and I know some of the other books in the series were stronger entries. And, who wouldn't want to read an entire series picturing Hugh Jackman in the lead role?
John Sandford's website is www.johnsandford.org
Check out the live page for The Days of PREY tour at www.penguin.com/stormprey.You can follow along on the tour, and read an excerpt from Storm Prey, the new book.
Storm Prey by John Sandford. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780399156496 (hardcover), 416p.
Easy Prey by John Sandford. Penguin Group (USA), 2001. ISBN 9780425178768 (paperback), 480p.
Since I'm kicking off this contest on Monday, I'll end it on Thursday night at 6 p.m. when I end my Peter May contest. One lucky winner will win a copy of Easy Preyand an ARC of Storm Prey. If you'd like to win one, email me at Email me!. If that link doesn't work for you, the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subject line should read Win "Prey." Your message should include your mailing address. Entrants only in the U.S. or Canada, please, and no P.O. boxes, according to Penguin rules.
The contest will end Thursday, May 13 at 6 p.m. PT. The winner will be selected by random number generator. That person will be notified, and the books will go out in the mail. Good luck!
FTC Full Disclosure - I received Easy Prey from the publisher so I could participate in The Days of PREY tour. Even so, that did not influence my comments abou the book.