19. & 20. & 32; Stolen Prey, John Sandford; Shock Wave, John Sandford; Mad River, John Sandford

16 Jun

Stolen Prey is the latest from my very favorite trashy-detective-thriller writer and, as so often happens to me, I read it in two days and then had to go re-read another one (or two, or the whole series, depending, but this time only one). I have read every novel John Sandford has written, even the obscure one about paparazzi in L.A. and the novels about the computer hacker. The Davenport books and the Virgil Flowers books I’ve read through at least three times for each series, and probably more like 5 or 6 times for a few. This is the definition of a guilty pleasure or comfort read, as they’re designed to be, since both Davenport and Virgil Flowers are hot, urbane cops with good-old-American streaks, there to protect women from horrible, titillating menaces. They’re set in Minneapolis/St.Paul, which for me, an East Coast city girl, also feels exotic and romantic. I don’t know men who drive trucks, have boats and carry guns, but I’d kind of like to and John Sandford knows it.

I clearly have a greater appetite for this kind of thriller than is being met, but the key difference between these books and their competitors is writing. John Sandford books are tight, brilliantly paced and stylishly penned, the dialog and humor is spot-on, the prose is logical, economical, just hard-boiled enough to be fun without getting self indulgent, and the heroes pull it off without being ridiculous. Also, it’s a good mystery/ police procedural but with lots of sex, romance and social interest. If there is another thriller writer working today who hits this sweet spot, I haven’t found him.

I’ve read most of John Sandford’s published comments about the craft of writing, and I’ve also worked quite a bit to break down how he structures these books. I’m envious of his skill.

One Response to “19. & 20. & 32; Stolen Prey, John Sandford; Shock Wave, John Sandford; Mad River, John Sandford”


  1. 18. Field of Prey, John Sandford | An Anthology of Clouds - July 13, 2014

    […] written enough about my love of this writer elsewhere. Enough to say that I think the man writes a perfect thriller, and enjoyed this one very […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: