John Sandford books in order
John Sandford is the pseudonym of American journalist and award-winning author John Roswell Camp.
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies from the University of Iowa, and a master's degree in journalism from the same institution.
John served two years in the U.S. Army between his two stints at the University of Iowa.
He started his journalism career as an Army reporter, and went on to work as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Southeast Missourian, as well as a reporter and an editor at The Miami Herald, and a reporter and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
John, who now does periodic journalism, is quite passionate about archaeology, art (painting) and photography.
He also enjoys fishing, canoeing, skiing, and listening to Texas-based country music.
Genres: Fantasy / SF, Mystery, Non-fiction, Thriller
Pseudonym: John Sandford
- The Night Crew (1997)
- Dead Watch (2006)
- Saturn Run (2016)
- The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 (2017)
Kidd And LuEllen Series
- The Fool's Run (1989)
- The Empress File (1991)
- The Devil's Code (2000)
- The Hanged Man's Song (2003)
- The Investigator (2022)
- Dark Angel (2023)
- The Eye and the Heart: Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle (1988)
- Plastic Surgery (1989)
- Deserves to be Dead (2018)
- Rules of Prey (1989)
- Shadow Prey (1990)
- Eyes of Prey (1991)
- Silent Prey (1992)
- Winter Prey (1993)
- Night Prey (1994)
- Mind Prey (1995)
- Sudden Prey (1996)
- Secret Prey (1998)
- Certain Prey (1999)
- Easy Prey (2000)
- Chosen Prey (2001)
- Mortal Prey (2002)
- Naked Prey (2003)
- Hidden Prey (2004)
- Broken Prey (2005)
- Invisible Prey (2007)
- Phantom Prey (2008)
- Wicked Prey (2009)
- Storm Prey (2010)
- Buried Prey (2011)
- Stolen Prey (2012)
- Silken Prey (2013)
- Field of Prey (2014)
- Rhymes with Prey: A Prey Novella (2014)
- Gathering Prey (2015)
- Extreme Prey (2016)
- Golden Prey (2017)
- Twisted Prey (2018)
- Neon Prey (2019)
- Masked Prey (2020)
- Ocean Prey (2021)
- Righteous Prey (2022)
Singular Menace (Co-authored with Michele Cook)
- Uncaged (2014)
- Outrage (2015)
- Rampage (2016)
- Dark of the Moon (2007)
- Heat Lightning (2008)
- Rough Country (2009)
- Bad Blood (2010)
- Shock Wave (2011)
- Mad River (2012)
- Storm Front (2013)
- Deadline (2014)
- Escape Clause (2016)
- Deep Freeze (2017)
- Holy Ghost (2018)
- Bloody Genius (2019)
Detailed book overview
Early morning, Virginia, and a woman is on the run. Her husband, a former U.S. Senator, has been missing for days. Kidnapped? Murdered? She doesn't know, but she thinks she knows who's involved, and why. And that she's next.
Hours later in Washington, D.C., a cell phone rings. The White House chief of staff needs Jacob Winter now. His chief investigator and an Army Intelligence veteran, Winter knows how to move quickly and decisively, but he's never faced a problem like this. The disappearances are bad, but when the blackened body shows up barbed-wired to a tree, Winter knows there is much worse to come.
And soon enough, there is. Large forces are at work, determined to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. Winter will have to use all his resources not only to prevail but also to survive. And so will the nation...
"A novel by Ctein and John Sandford."
In 2066, a Caltech intern notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do...
A flurry of top-level government meetings produce the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built the ship is at least one hundred years ahead of our technology, and whoever can get their hands on it will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete.
The race is on, and a remarkable adventure begins. Soon a hastily thrown-together crew finds its strength and wits tested against adversaries of this earth and beyond. So buckle up, because two perfectly matched storytellers are about to take you for a ride...
“Some people might tell you that crime short stories, unlike the more precious kind, are a kind of fictional ghetto, full of cardboard characters and clichéd situations. Not true. These stories are remarkably free of bullshit—although there’s always a little, just to grease the wheels,” writes guest editor John Sandford in his introduction to this action-packed volume of mystery fiction.
From an isolated Wyoming ranch to the Detroit boxing underworld, and from kidnapping and adultery in the Hollywood Hills to a serial killer loose in a nursing home, The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 hosts an entertaining abundance of crime, psychological suspense, and bad intentions.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 includes entries by C.J. Box, Gerri Brightwell, Jeffery Deaver, Brendan DuBois, Trina Corey, Craig Johnson, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and others.
Kidd And LuEllen Series
Kidd is a computer whiz, artist, and professional criminal. LuEllen is his lover, and his favorite partner in crime. Their playing field in on the cutting edge of high-tech corporate warfare. This time they’ve been hired by a defense industry corporation to destroy its business rival through computer sabotage.
If Kidd and LuEllen can pull it off, they’ll reap millions. It’s the sting of a lifetime. One false move and it’s a lifetime sentence. As the takedown unfolds, everything goes according to plan. But their string of successes turns into a noose when the ultimate con artists find themselves on the wrong end of the ultimate con…
One stifling summer night in Longstreet, Mississippi, talented fourteen-year-old Darrell Clark ran home and was shot by cops, who had mistaken him for a purse snatcher.
When the predictable cover-up starts, a group of black activists decide that the time has come for action against a corrupt city government. Marvel Atkins, their leader, links up with Kidd, the man with the plan to bring the city tumbling like the pack of Tarot cards he likes to consult.
All he has to do is watch out for the Empress. The Tarot has warned him she is dangerous, but first he must find out who she is.
When Kidd—artist, computer whiz, and professional criminal—learns of a colleague’s murder, he doesn’t buy the official story: that a jittery security guard caught the hacker raiding the files of a high-tech Texas corporation. It’s not what his friend was looking for that got him killed. It’s what he already knew. For Kidd and LuEllen, infiltrating the firm is the first move.
Discovering the secrets of its devious entrepreneur is the next. But it’s more than a secret—it’s a conspiracy. And it’s landed Kidd and LuEllen in the cross-hairs of an unknown assassin hellbent on conning the life out of the ultimate con artists…
When Kidd’s superhacker friend Bobby is murdered and his laptop is stolen, Kidd knows it’s panic time. The secrets stashed in Bobby’s computer are enough to hang Kidd and everyone else in Bobby’s criminally ingenious cyber-circle. It’s up to Kidd and his partner LuEllen to track it down, find Bobby’s killer, and save their own necks—because the secrets are downloading faster than anyone anticipated. And they’re far more staggering than anyone imagined.
By age twenty-four, Letty Davenport has seen more action and uncovered more secrets than many law enforcement professionals. Now a recent Stanford grad with a master’s in economics, she’s restless and bored in a desk job for U. S. Senator Colles. Letty’s ready to quit, but her skills have impressed Colles, and he offers her a carrot: feet-on-the-ground investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
Several oil companies in Texas have reported thefts of crude, Colles tells her. He isn’t so much concerned with the oil as he is with the money: who is selling the oil, and what are they doing with the profits? Rumor has it that a fairly ugly militia group—led by a woman known only as Lorelai—might be involved. Colles wants to know if the money is going to them, and if so, what they’re planning.
Letty is partnered with a DHS investigator, John Kaiser, and they head to Texas. When the case quickly turns deadly, they know they’re on the track of something bigger. Lorelai and her group have set in motion an explosive plan . . . and the clock is ticking down.
Letty Davenport, the tough-as-nails adopted daughter of Lucas Davenport, takes on an undercover assignment that brings her across the country and into the crosshairs of a dangerous group of hackers.
Letty Davenport’s days working a desk job at are behind her. Her previous actions at a gunfight in Texas—and her incredible skills with firearms—draw the attention of several branches of the US government, and make her a perfect fit for even more dangerous work.
The Department of Homeland Security and the NSA have tasked her with infiltrating a hacker group, known only as Ordinary People, that is intent on wreaking havoc. Letty and her reluctant partner from the NSA pose as free-spirited programmers for hire and embark on a cross country road trip to the group’s California headquarters.
While the two work to make inroads with Ordinary People and uncover their plans, they begin to suspect that the hackers are not their only enemy. Someone within their own circle may have betrayed them, and has ulterior motives that place their mission—and their lives—in grave danger.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Camp followed Minnesota plastic surgeon Bruce Cunningham as he performed breast enlargements and reductions, nose jobs, tummy tucks and liposuctions, as well as restorative surgery on victims of cancer and accidents.
The result is a book that's thoroughly engrossing. Camp spares nothing: he tells us what it's like to see flesh cut and smell veins cauterized; he relates Cunningham's frustration when he cannot create a perfect nose; he even rewards our worst fears by reporting how a surgical team talks about a patient once she's under anesthetic: ''Gee, I don't know,'' muses a resident while the surgeon is trying to determine what size breast implant to use, ''If she wanted to be in the B-C area, that might be a little small.'' In another case a nurse, noticing a patient's scars from previous plastic surgery, remarks, ''What is she trying to do, make herself into the perfect woman?''
Potential patients may find Camp's frankness somewhat daunting, but overall, he has written a sympathetic account not only of those who practice the art but also those who seek it out.
An original short story from iconic thriller collection Match Up, edited by Lee Child, featuring a never-before-seen pairing between bestsellers Lisa Jackson and John Sandford - along with their popular series characters Regan Pescoli and Virgil Flowers.
When not working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Agent Virgil Flowers is a keen fisherman. But a fishing trip to Montana is interrupted when he agrees to help track down a thief, teaming up with local detective Regan Pescoli to solve the crime.
NB: Co-authored with Lisa Jackson.
The "maddog" murderer who is terrorizing the Twin Cities is two things: insane and extremely intelligent. He kills for the pleasure of it and thoroughly enjoys placing elaborate obstacles to keep police befuddled. Each clever move he makes is another point of pride. But when the brilliant Lieutenant Lucas Davenport, a dedicated cop and a serial killer's worst nightmare, is brought in to take up the investigation, the maddog suddenly has an adversary worthy of his genius.
A slumlord butchered in Minneapolis...A rising political star executed in Manhattan...A judge slashed to death in Oklahoma City...
Each victim has a history of bad behavior, but the only thing the killings have in common is the murder weapon—a Native American ceremonial knife—and a trail of blood that leads to an embodiment of evil known only as Shadow Love. Recruited to be the lethal hand of a terrorist campaign, Shadow Love has his own bloody agenda, one he will do anything to achieve.
Enlisted to find him are Minneapolis police lieutenant Lucas Davenport and New York City police officer Lily Rothenburg. But despite the countrywide carnage they needn’t look far. Because Shadow Love is right behind them.
Lieutenant Davenport’s sanity was nearly shattered by two murder investigations. Now he faces something worse…Two killers. One hideously scarred. The other strikingly handsome, a master manipulator fascinated with all aspects of death. The dark mirror of Davenport’s soul…This is the case that will bring Davenport back to life. Or push him over the edge.
Dr. Mike Bekker, a psychotic pathologist, is back on the streets, doing what he does best—murdering one helpless victim after another. Lucas Davenport knows he should have killed Bekker when he had the chance. Now he has a second opportunity—and the time to hesitate is through.
The Iceman is Lucas Davenport's most determined foe - a serial killer driven to cover his brutal tracks with blood. Sandford again creates almost unbearable suspense as we wait for the Ice Man's razor-sharp corn knife to strike.
Winter Prey unfolds in the cold and driving snow of the north country, the perfect setting for the chilling terror caused by the Ice Man, a killer who knows Lucas' every move - a coldly brilliant madman who can't be stopped. Turn up the heat and listen as Lucas Davenport faces his most dangerous challenge.
After a two-year break, Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport is back on the force. As Deputy Chief, his first problem is acerbic state investigator Meagan Connell, who is determined to prove a link between a series of particularly brutal attacks on women. The more Davenport looks into it, the more he suspects that Meagan is right to fear the worst. Somewhere out there, spying on his unknowing victims at their most intimate moments, lurks a killer of unusual skill and savagery – and he’s only just getting warmed up…
"Run for it…"
It was raining when psychiatrist Andi Manette left the parent-teacher conference with her two young daughters, and she was distracted. She barely noticed the red van parked beside her, barely noticed the van door slide open as they dashed up to the car. The last thing she did notice was the hand reaching out for her and the voice from out of the past — and then the three of them were gone.
Hours later, deputy chief Lucas Davenport stood in the parking lot, a blood-stained shoe in his hand, the ground stained pink around him, and knew that this would be one of the worst cases he'd ever been on. With an urgency born of dread, he presses the attack, while in an isolated farmhouse, Andi Manette does the same, summoning all her skills to battle an obsessed captor. She knows the man who has taken her and her daughters, knows there is a chink in his armor, if only she can find it. But for both her and Davenport, time is already running out.
It begins with a death and ends with one. For months, Lucas Davenport's men have been tracking a vicious woman bank robber named Candy, and when they finally catch up with her, she does not go quietly. In the ensuing shoot-out, she dies – and Davenport's nightmare starts. For her associates are even worse than she was, particularly her husband, a deeply violent man who swears an appropriate revenge: first he will find the names of those responsible; then he will kill those nearest and dearest to them, just the way they did Candy.
So it begins. The husband of one officer is shot and killed. The wife of another is ambushed at work. When a third attack is thwarted, the pattern becomes clear to Davenport, and with an urgency born of rage and terror, he presses the hunt, desperately trying to track down the killers before they can strike again, before they can reach out for Davenport's own loved ones. But in this effort, he may already be too late.
The company chairman lay dead in the woods, his orange hunting jacket punctured by a bullet at close range. Around him stood the four executives with whom he had been hunting, each with a reason not to be sorry about the man's death. A classic murder mystery, it would seem: the kind where the detective gathers everyone together at the end and solves the case. But Lucas Davenport knows it's not going to be that easy.
There are currents running through this group, hints and whispers of something much greater than the murder of a single man. Some time soon, unless he could stop it, there would be other deaths - and Davenport can't help but wonder if maybe the final death might be his own...
Attorney Carmel Loan is beautiful, intelligent, ambitious - and used to getting what she wants. When she becomes infatuated with fellow barrister Hale Allen, she isn't going to let a little thing like his being married get in the way. So, through the contacts of an ex-client, she hired professional killer Clara Rinker to get rid of Allen's wife.
Smart, attractive Rinker is the best hitwoman in the business - but things go wrong, and the shooting of a witness, a cop, brings DI Lucas Davenport into the case.
Carmel Loan and Clara Rinker team up to clean up the loose ends - which includes getting Davenport off their backs by whatever means necessary.
In life she was a high-profile model. In death she is the focus of a media firestorm that's demanding action from Lucas Davenport. Especially as one of his own men is a suspect in her murder.
But when a series of bizarre, seemingly unrelated slayings rock the city, Davenport suspects a connection that runs deeper than anyone has imagined - one that leads to an ingenious killer more ruthless than anyone had feared...
An art history professor and writer and cheerful pervert, James Qatar had a hobby: he took secret photographs of women and turned them into highly sexual drawings. One day, he took the hobby a step further and... well, one thing led to another, and he had to kill her. A man in his position couldn't be too careful, after all. And you know something? He liked it.
Already faced with a welter of confusion in his personal life, Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport decides to take this case himself, hoping that some straightforward police work will clear his head, but as the trail begins to take some unexpected turns, it soon becomes clear that nothing is straightforward about this killer. The man is learning as he goes, Lucas realizes, taking great strides forward with each murder. He is becoming a monster — and Lucas may have no choice but to walk right into his lair...
Years ago, Lucas Davenport almost died at the hands of Clara Rinker, a pleasant, soft-spoken, low-key Southerner, and the best hitwoman in the business. Now retired and living in Mexico, she nearly dies herself when a sniper kills her boyfriend, the son of a local druglord, and while the boy's father vows vengeance, Rinker knows something he doesn't: The boy wasn't the target-she was-and now she is going to have to disappear to find the killer herself.
The FBI and DEA draft Davenport to help track her down, and with his fiancie deep in wedding preparations, he's really just as happy to go-but he has no idea what he's getting into. For Rinker is as unpredictable as ever, and between her, her old bosses in the St. Louis mob, the Mexican druglord, and the combined, sometimes warring, forces of U.S. law enforcement, this is one case that will get more dangerous as it goes along.
And when the crossfire comes, anyone standing in the middle won't stand a chance...
After thirteen years and thirteen Prey novels, John Sandford's writing is as fresh as ever. His last book, Mortal Prey, was "a model of the genre" (People) and "the cop novel of the year" (Kirkus Reviews). In the words of the Washington Post: "John Sandford does everything right."
Now, in Naked Prey, he puts Lucas Davenport through some changes. His old boss, Rose Marie Roux, has moved up to the state level and taken Lucas with her, creating a special troubleshooter job for him for the cases that are too complicated or politically touchy for others to handle. In addition, Lucas is married now, and a new father, all of which is fine with him: he doesn't mind being a family man. But he is a little worried. For every bit of peace you get, you have to pay — and he's waiting for the bill.
It comes in the form of two people found hanging from a tree in the woods of northern Minnesota. What makes the situation particularly sensitive is that the bodies are of a black man and a white woman, and they're naked. "Lynching" is the word that everybody's trying not to say — but, as Lucas begins to discover, in fact the murders are nothing like what they appear to be, and they are not the end of it. There is worse to come — much, much worse.
Filled with rich characterization and exceptional drama that are his hallmarks, this is Sandford's most suspenseful novel yet. "You know life is good when you have a new Lucas Davenport thriller to escape into," writes the Chicago Tribune, and Naked Prey proves it again.
Theories abound when a Russian gets himself killed on the shore of Lake Superior--shot with fifty-year-old bullets. But when it turns out he had very high government connections, state troubleshooter Lucas Davenport gets the call. Well, Lucas and a mysterious Russian cop with secrets all her own. Together, they'll follow a trail back to another place and another time, and battle the shadows they discover there--shadows that turn out to be both very real and very deadly.
The first body is of a young woman, found on a Minneapolis riverbank, her throat cut, her body scourged and put on display. Whoever did this, Lucas Davenport knows, is pushed by brain chemistry. There is something wrong with him. This isn’t a bad love affair.
The second body is found three weeks later, in a farmhouse six miles south. Same condition, same display—except this time it is a man. Nothing to link the two victims, nothing to indicate that the killings end here.
In the richest neighbouhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms ransacked, only small items stolen. It's clearly a random break-in by someone looking for money to buy drugs.
But as he looks more closely, Davenport begins to wonder if the items are actually so small or the victims so random, if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here.
Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge — and it will lead Davenport to somewhere he never expected. Which is too bad, because the killers — and yes, there is more than one of them — the killers are expecting him.
A widow comes home to her large house in a wealthy, exclusive suburb to find blood on the walls, no body — and her college-age daughter missing. She's always known that her daughter ran with a bad bunch. What did she call them — Goths? Freaks is more like it, running around with all that makeup and black clothing, listening to that awful music, so attracted to death. And now this.
But the police can't find the girl, alive or dead, and the widow truly panics. There's someone she knows, a surgeon named Weather Davenport, whose husband is a big deal with the police, and she implores Weather to get her husband directly involved. Lucas gets in only reluctantly — but then when a second Goth is slashed to death in Minneapolis, he starts working it hard. The clues don't seem to add up, though.
And then there's the young Goth who keeps appearing and disappearing: Who is she? Where does she come from and, more important, where does she vanish to? And why does Lucas keep getting the sneaking suspicion that there is something else going on here... something very, very bad indeed?
The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stickup men who've spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system. All that's headache enough for Lucas Davenport-but what's about to hit him is even worse.
A while back, a stray bullet put a pimp and petty thief named Randy Whitcomb in a wheelchair, and, ever since, the man has been nursing his grudge into a full head of psychotic steam. He blames Davenport for the bullet, but it's no fun just shooting him. That wouldn't be painful enough. Not when Davenport has a pretty fourteen-year-old adopted daughter that Whitcomb can target instead...
And then there's the young man with the .50 caliber sniper rifle and the right- wing-crazy background, roaming through a city filled with the most powerful politicians on earth...
A daring drugs raid on a Minneapolis hospital takes place on the same day that Lucas Davenport's wife, Weather, is due to perform an operation to separate conjoined twins. Investigating the raid, Davenport concludes that it must have been an inside job and, as a witness, Weather is now in grave danger.
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.
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.
Very early one morning, a Minnesota political fixer answers his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.
Davenport is investigating another case when the trail leads to the man’s disappearance, then—very troublingly—to the Minneapolis police department, then—most troublingly of all—to a woman who could give Machiavelli lessons. She has very definite ideas about the way the world should work, and the money, ruthlessness, and sheer will to make it happen.
No matter who gets in the way.
The night after the fourth of July, Layton Carlson Jr., of Red Wing, Minnesota, finally got lucky. And unlucky.
He’d picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, an abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields: nice, private, and quiet. The only problem was . . . something smelled bad—like, really bad. He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when the cop took a look, he found a body stuffed down a cistern. And then another, and another.
By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies and counting. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when Lucas began to investigate, he made some disturbing discoveries of his own. The victims had been killed over a great many years, one every summer, regular as clockwork. How could this have happened without anybody noticing?
Because one thing was for sure: the killer had to live close by. He was probably even someone they saw every day. . . .
The last time Lucas Davenport traveled from his home in Minnesota to New York City, it was to help his friend, NYPD detective Lily Rothenburg, catch a serial killer who was terrorizing the streets of Manhattan. So it’s no surprise that Lily would ask him back to consult on another difficult case—this time, one she can’t trust to her fellow NYC cops.
Teaming up with New York’s finest forensic mind, the irascible and brilliant Lincoln Rhyme, and Lincoln’s partner Amelia Sachs, they set out to investigate the deaths of four young women, all illegal Mexicans, all of whom seem to be connected to the drug trade. The problem is: the killings may not be cartel hits—they may be carried out by corrupt cops looking to get information, and then silence the source.
Or, as the veteran investigators will soon discover, they could be dealing with a very different kind of killer—and to draw him out, Lily and Amelia will have to pose as bait.
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.
Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.
After the events in "Gathering Prey", Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation—no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend the governor is just cranking up a presidential campaign though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. “Should be fun!” he says, and it kind of is—until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor...and anyone who gets in the way.
Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but for the U.S. Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.
And where they’ve led him this time is into real trouble. A Biloxi, Mississippi, drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl. Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with Davenport to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house.
Things get ugly real fast, and neither the cartel killers nor the holdup men give a damn about whose lives Davenport might have saved; to them, he’s just another large target.
Lucas Davenport had crossed paths with her before.
A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she'd fit right in. He was also convinced that she'd been responsible for three murders, though he'd never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.
He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he's heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she's made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.
But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end.
Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don't much care about a low-level guy--it's his boss they want--but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.
Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese's rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves.
Now Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and--as Davenport will come to find--full of surprises...
The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures . . . of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of radical groups.
It's obviously alarming--is there an unstable extremist tracking the loved ones of powerful politicians with deadly intent? But when the FBI is called in, there isn't much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can't be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI's constraints: Lucas Davenport.
An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family in the Atlantic just off south Florida when he sees, and then calls in, some suspicious behavior in a nearby boat. It's a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there's something hinky going on, and his hunch is proven correct when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.
They're federal officers killed on the job, which means the case is the FBI's turf. When the FBI's investigation stalls out, Lucas Davenport of the U.S. Marshals Service gets a call. The case turns even more lethal and Davenport needs to bring in every asset he can find, including a detective with a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers.
“We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.”
So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is believed to be made up of vigilante killers who are very bored…and very rich.
They target the worst of society—rapists, murderers, and thieves—and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable Bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become the most popular figures on social media, a modern-day Batman…though their motives may not be entirely pure.
After a woman is murdered in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full--the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, The Five are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers.
Singular Menace (Co-authored with Michele Cook)
Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin.
Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.
When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.
What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother.
Shay Remby and her gang of renegades have struck a blow to the Singular Corporation. When they rescued Shay’s brother, Odin, from a secret Singular lab, they also liberated a girl. Singular has been experimenting on her, trying to implant a U.S. senator’s memories into her brain—with partial success. Fenfang is now a girl who literally knows too much.
Can the knowledge brought by ex-captives Odin and Fenfang help Shay and her friends expose the crimes of this corrupt corporation? Singular has already killed one of Shay’s band to protect their secrets. How many more will die before the truth is exposed?
Shay Remby and her band of renegade activists have got the corrupt Singular Corporation on the run. Their expose is finally working. Or is it?
Even as revelations about the human experimental subjects break in the news, Singular’s employees are slithering out of sight. And then their CEO is killed in a plane crash... Was it a freak accident? Or a cover-up?
Shay’s gang begins to see signs that there may be even more powerful figures than they knew managing events—publicly expressing outrage and mopping up the mess, but secretly gathering up their scientists and moving the operation further out of sight.
It will take nothing short of a rampage to stop the Singular menace for good...
Virgil Flowers — tall, lean, late thirties, three times divorced, hair way too long for a cop — had kicked around a while before joining the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. First it was the army and the military police, then the police in St. Paul, and finally Lucas Davenport had brought him into the BCA, promising him, "We'll only give you the hard stuff." He'd been doing the hard stuff for three years now — but never anything like this.
In the small town of Bluestem, where everybody knows everybody, a house way up on a ridge explodes into flames, its owner, a man named Judd, trapped inside. There is a lot of reason to hate him, Flowers discovers. Years ago, Judd had perpetrated a scam that'd driven a lot of local farmers out of business, even to suicide. There are also rumors swirling around of some very dicey activities with other men's wives, of involvement with some nutcase religious guy, and of an out-of-wedlock daughter. In fact, Flowers concludes, you'd probably have to dig around to find a person who didn't despise him.
That wasn't even the reason Flowers had come to Bluestem. Three weeks before, there'd been another murder — two, in fact, a doctor and his wife. The doctor was found propped up in his backyard, both eyes shot out. There hadn't been a murder in Bluestem in years — and now suddenly three? Flowers knows two things: this wasn't a coincidence, and it had to be personal.
But just how personal is something even he doesn't realize, and may not find out until too late. Because the next victim... may be himself.
On a hot, humid summer night in Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A body has been found near a veterans’ memorial in Stillwater with two shots to the head and a lemon in his mouth—exactly like the body they found two weeks ago.
Working the murders, Flowers becomes convinced that someone is keeping a list—with many more names on it. And when he discovers what connects them all, he’s almost sorry. Because if it’s true, then this whole thing leads down a lot more trails than he thought it did—and every one of them is booby-trapped.
Virgil Flowers has always been known for having a somewhat active, er, social life, but he's probably not going to be getting too many opportunities for that during his new case. While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, he gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort, where a woman has been shot while kayaking.
The resort is for women only, a place to relax, get fit, recover from plastic surgery, commune with nature, and while it didn't start out to be a place mostly for those with Sapphic inclinations, that's pretty much what it is today.
Which makes things all the more complicated for Virgil, because as he begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented country singer. The more he digs, the move he discovers the arrows of suspicion that point in many directions, encompassing a multitude of motivations: jealousy, blackmail, greed, anger, and fear. Then he discovers that this is not the first murder, that there was a second, seemingly unrelated, the year before. And that there's about to be a third, definitely related, any time now. And as for the fourth... well, Virgil better hope he can catch the killer before that happens.
Because it could be his own.
One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator- and a young man hits him on the head with, was it a steel bar?, and then drops him into the grain bin as he first waits until he's sure he's dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the "accident." Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers, who quickly breaks the kid down.
The next day the boy is found hanging in his cell. Remorse? Virgil isn't so sure. As he investigates, he begins to uncover a multigeneration, multifamily conspiracy - a series of crimes of such monstrosity that, though he's seen an awful lot in his life, even he has difficulty in comprehending.
More importantly, he has to figure out what to do.
Talk about risky business.
A superstore chain, PyeMart, has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.
The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters in Michigan. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage - and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.
They thought they were Bonnie and Clyde. And what's-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, chips on their shoulders, and guns. The first person they killed was a woman during a robbery. The second was incidental. Simply in the way. Then? Hell, why not keep on going?
It's not until Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers steps into the Shinder murder scene that the clues begin to come together. As the crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, a growing army of cops join Virgil in trying to track the teenagers down. But even Virgil doesn't realize what's about to happen.
In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat.
No more than a few days later, Virgil Flowers in Minnesota gets a message from Lucas Davenport, "You're about to get a visitor." It's an Israeli cop, and she's chasing a man who smuggled out an extraordinary relic — an ancient inscribed stone which may revel startling details about the man known as King Solomon.
"Wait a minute," laughs Virgil. "Is this one of those mystical movie-plot deals? The secret artifact, the blockbuster revelation, the teams of murderous bad guys? Should I be boning up on my Bible verses?" He looks at the Israeli investigator. She's not laughing.
As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don't care who's in the way or what they have to do to get it. "They're crazies," she says. "What kind of crazies?" asks Virgil. "Palestinian crazies, Syrian crazies, Egyptian crazies, maybe a couple of Israeli crazies. Turks. Some Americans, too, I suppose. Maybe the Pope."
Perhaps Virgil should start praying.
In Southeast Minnesota, down on the Mississippi, a school board meeting is coming to an end. The board chair announces that the rest of the meeting will be closed, due to a personnel issue. “Issue” is the correct word. It's also an understatement. The proposal up for a vote is whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter. The vote is unanimous, five to zero in favor.
Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers is helping a friend by looking into a dognapping. It seems to be turning into something much bigger and uglier—a team of dognappers supplying medical labs—when he gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found—and the victim is a local reporter!
Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two of them. Welcome to another exceptional thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure” (Booklist)
The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota Zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen to be sold for body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes the parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of those people are a great deal more extreme than others -- as Virgil is about to find out.
Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched.
For another…she thinks Virgil’s cute. “You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.” He asked: “She carries a knife?” “No, but I do.” Forget a storm – this one’s a tornado.
Virgil knows the town of Trippton, Minnesota a little too well. A few years back, he investigated the corrupt—and as it turned out, homicidal—local school board, and now the town’s back in his view with more alarming news: a woman has been found dead, frozen in a block of ice.
There’s a possibility that it might be connected to a high school class of twenty-five years ago. It has a mid-winter reunion coming up. So, wrapping his coat a little tighter, Virgil begins to dig into decades of traumas, feuds, and bad blood. In the process, one thing becomes increasingly clear to him. It’s true what they say - high school can be murder.
Wheatfield, Minnesota - a metropolis of seven hundred souls. The word "moribund" might have been invented for Wheatfield. Nothing ever happened there and nothing ever would—until the mayor of sorts (campaign slogan: "I'll Do What I Can") and a buddy come up with a scheme to put the town on the map.
They'd heard of a place where a floating image of the Virgin Mary had turned the whole town into a shrine, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And all those pilgrims needed food, shelter, all kinds of crazy things, right? They'll get rich! What could go wrong?
When the first dead body shows up, they find out. That's only the beginning of their troubles—and those of Virgil Flowers'—as they are about to discover all too soon.
At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?
Then one of the department stars winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and he soon comes to realize he's dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.