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To what extent could a person function in everyday life if they had a dependency on drink or drugs? You often hear about ER doctors or police officers who become alcoholics due to the time restraints and stresses linked to the job. Could an airline pilot be expected to fly a plane after drinking the night before? These are all perfectly serious things to consider but John Sandford highlights in Eyes of Prey whether a serial killer function off his gourd on drugs?
Two women are murdered in the same town but there is nothing to link them together. For all intents and purposes these two tragic events should be investigated as two entirely separate cases except both victims have had their eyes removed. This evil twist means that there may be a serial killer on the loose and there is only one man who is clever enough to catch the killer and deal with the rampaging press Lucas Davenport. With a psychopathic doctor and an emotionless, disfigured actor intent on destruction, can Davenport uncover who they are before they kill again?
Regular readers of my books reviews may have noticed that I have read and reviewed many Davenport books. This is because they are very well written and have been universally good. What sets the Prey novels apart from other crime books is that they introduce the killer/killers in the prologue and the book is about how Davenport uncovers who they are. John Sandford is incredibly adept at running parallel stories; one of a killer covering their tracks, and one of the police closing on their tail. This structure has led to over ten fantastic books but Eyes of Prey is probably the weakest.
The structure of the story still works incredibly well as per usual as we are introduced to a cold and heartless Doctor who plans to kill his wife. Inspired by Strangers on a Train Michael Becker meets with disfigured actor Druze and they work together to kill the other persons target whilst assuring their own alibi. If it were not for the Doctors fixation that the ghosts of the dead follow him with their eyes the two murders may never have been linked. We know all this by page 20 and the majority of the story is how Davenport goes about uncovering the truth and sending the two men deeper into more desperate methods.
With the cat and mouse elements of the book set, the story rattles along at a great pace. As usual the book is helped by Davenport being such a great central character. Somewhat of a maverick, Davenport is more than just an average cop as he is independently wealthy from his side work in computer software. Davenport is able to plan and explore a case in a much more intelligent way than most crime fighters that I read. His role in Eyes of Prey is as strong as ever. It is his enemies that are not as good as per usual.
Disfigured actor Druze is perfectly fine as Sandford explains to us why he lacks the emotion not to kill. It is Doctor Beckers character that undermined this book for me. Becker sees himself as two people; himself and the beauty. The beauty is what he becomes when he partakes of the various drugs that he steals from his patients. It seems to me that he spent half the book off his face and dancing naked. I found it unbelievable that a man so far gone in terms of drug abuse could hold onto a job in a hospital never mind plan and kill people. Prey novels are only ever as strong as the suspect; therefore this book suffers.
Despite the ill judged enemy the book itself is still a fun and exciting read. Sandford has got his structure down perfectly and there are enough peaks and troughs in the narrative to keep any reader happy. However, I could not help but feel that the book suffered as it was unbelievable that a spaced out killer could remain uncaptured for too long. The first half of the book really holds up as the murders themselves are well realised. It is the second half were the baddies become more cartoonish that things begin to descend into the average. With a pretty cliché ending this book must go down as an also ran in the Prey series. I advise people interested in reading this collection of excellent crime thrillers to begin at the first book or even better on Secret Prey the best in the series so far.
Author: John Sandford
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Two people swap murders. It should have proved untraceable, but one of the murderers is insane - he has killed before and is likely to kill again. The case comes to the attention of Lucas Davenport, the explosive, porsche-driving police officer featured in the book Rules of Prey.