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Extended Audio Sample Rules of Prey, by John Sandford Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (22,728 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Sandford Narrator: Richard Ferron Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Prey Series Release Date:
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Rules of Prey is the first Lucas Davenport book written by John Sandford, a pseudonym for writer John Camp, who was initially a reporter. Given that the job entailed having to face a great deal of ugliness in human nature over and over again, Camp ended up getting burnt out. As a result, he quit reporting and started writing novels instead. To make things even more fun, he invented a smooth detective called Lucas Davenport.

Davenport is not the gritty, down-to-earth type usually featured on cop shows; he's more a James Bond kind of hero, with impeccable clothes, a Porsche and beautiful women at his beck and call. Like Bond, he's not above doing something a little unethical if it's for the greater good. He's also independently wealthy, having created a computer game that closely resembles Dungeons and Dragons. Part nerd and part man of the world, he is eminently likable despite the fact that he doesn't really work that well with people.

In Rules of Prey, Davenport gets on the trail of a serial killer who is attacking women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. This killer calls himself "maddog" and leaves notes on the victims detailing his rules when it comes to killing. He writes, "Never kill anyone you know," "Never carry a weapon after it has been used," "Beware of leaving physical evidence" etc. To this killer, who takes on the persona of a regular guy when he's not killing, the murders are a game that he must win and he's cocky about his ability to outwit the police.

However, Davenport, as we know, has invented a computer game himself; he also tends to treat life as a grand diversion. Davenport's a player, so it's easy for him to slip into the mindset of the killer and eventually catch him, using his wits and his unofficial set of contacts around the city.

This is a thrilling psychological novel with an irreverent, attractive protagonist. It will keep you moving inexorably from one page to the next until the killer is found.

Download Rules of Prey and follow the investigation conducted by this charismatic protagonist as he attempts to get into the mind of a serial killer.

John Sandford is the pen name of writer John Camp who was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and went to school at the University of Iowa, earning a Bachelor's in American Studies and a Master's in Journalism. He then started writing for The Miami Herald and later moved to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for a series of stories titled "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family" which followed a typical Minnesota farming family for an entire year during the Midwest farm crisis. Later, he left journalism and started writing novels, including the Kidd series and the Prey series. He was married to Susan Lee Jones who passed away in 2007. He has two children and three grandchildren.

The haunting, unforgettable, ice-blooded thriller that introduced Lucas Davenport is so chilling that you’re almost afraid to turn the pages—but so mesmerizing you cannot stop.

The murderer was intelligent. He was a member of the bar. He derived rules based on professional examination of actual cases: Never kill anyone you know. Never have a motive. Never follow a discernible pattern. Never carry a weapon after it has been used. Beware of leaving physical evidence. There were more. He built them into a challenge. He was mad, of course.

The killer’s name is Louis Vullion, a low-key young attorney who, under the camouflage of normalcy, researches his next female victim until the pressure within him forces him to reach out and “collect” her. Plying his secret craft with the tactics of a games master, he has gripped the Twin Cities in a storm of terror more fierce than any Minnesota winter.

It is after the third murder that Lucas Davenport is called in. It is the opinion of his colleagues that everything about the lieutenant is a little different, and they are right—in the computer games he invents and sells, in the Porsche he drives to work, in the quality of the women he attracts, in his single-minded pursuit of justice. The only member of the department’s Office of Special Intelligence, Davenport prefers to work alone, parallel with Homicide, and there is something about this serial killer that he quickly understands. The man who signs himself “maddog” in taunting notes to the police is no textbook sociopath; he has a perverse playfulness that makes him kill for the sheer contest of it. He is a player.

And that means Davenport will have to put all his mental strength—and physical courage—on the line to learn to think like the killer. For the only way to beat the maddog is at his own hellish game.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sleek and nasty…A big, scary, suspenseful read.”

    Stephen King

  • “The kind of pulse-quickening, irresistibly readable thriller that many of the genre’s best-known authors would be proud to call their own.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Sandford delivers tense action, chilling excitement, and thrilling suspense. Fast-moving prose and romantic sidelines add a little zest, too.”

    Library Journal

  • “[Sandford] may be on to something with his hero: an offbeat tough-guy detective who is both hard-boiled and endearingly eccentric. Some readers may be put off by the detailed descriptions of each nauseatingly violent act, but Sandford definitely can write vivid prose of a kind that fans of blood-soaked thrillers will appreciate.”


  • “First-rate cat-and-mouse thriller…For ingenuity and sheer entertainment Sandford’s first far outclasses most other recent serial-killer novels, marking him a thriller writer to watch.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mark Toomey | 2/19/2014

    " Pretty good thriller. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Carolyn | 2/12/2014

    " John Sandford is a master of his genre....crime fiction. I can barely put his books down - from the first paragraph to the last! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Janelle | 2/6/2014

    " This book had me on edge throughout the whole story! Not to mention that I completely fell in love with the dark, handsome Davenport; I swear it was love at first read. This is the first book of many in the series and I only hope that all the criminals that Davenport encounters are as good as the wacko in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Betsy | 2/4/2014

    " Good suspenseful thriller that stands the test of time. "

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