Book two starts off at least a year or so after the events in book one. Lucas and his sometimes girlfriend (when he's not looking for other women to sleep with) had a daughter together. Lucas still does something for the police department. It absolutely makes no sense that he kind of drifts around and is called in to help with cases. Lucas is called in once again when it appears that Native Americans are murdering those in the local community that have done them wrong. When a rising politician is murdered in New York, the NYPD, and the FBI come to Minnesota in order to track the murderers down.
It would have been a good book if John Sandford had actually kept in some of the historical notes he wanted to. I had a special copy of Shadow Prey that actually had a short introduction by Sanford explaining how he re-wrote the book. Frankly, I wish that book had made it into the final cut.
Told in the third person we once again get to read how Lucas and his band of merry men go about trying to track down these killers. Or I should say, how other people do it, and Lucas gets one good idea that helps wrap everything up.
We also already know early on who the killers are and why they are doing what they do. I wish that I could arouse some sympathy for these characters (which I think that Sandford wanted us to) but I don't agree with murdering innocent people to get to your own ends of justice. I wish that we had as readers been put into a moral dilemma of wanting the killers to get away with what they were doing. Instead, I was pretty much disgusted with them the whole book.
Lucas is rich, not handsome, but still has something that draws women in. Still thinks with his penis the entire case even though people are dying around him. The whole aspect of Lucas being into gaming is just a joke at this point. I don't know if Sanford gets gaming, or gets how games are created, how coding works, etc. but he makes it sound like Lucas is writing games at his computer (i.e. just writing down how it will work, players, etc) and is not actually involved with the coding, graphics, etc. I know that you don't need these things to create a game in this time and place. However, this book takes place in 1990 and every time we have a scene with Lucas talking about gaming or working on one I just kind of roll my eyes. It all sounds pretty vague. I guess he didn't want to just make Lucas independently wealthy to explain his money. He had to make him a genius in gaming. He pretty much sucks at being a cop so I guess this is one way to go.
Lily Rothenberg is just so aggravating. I don't mind reading about affairs in books. I just hate it when the characters involved are such cliches. Though frankly I would argue having an affair is just one big cliche anyway. Lily is drawn to Davenport because he is not "safe" or "kind" like her husband. He just takes what he wants and does what he wants. And even though Lily knows all about Davenport's baby mama and how he will happily go back to her when things are over and oh by the way sleeps with other women, you get the feeling that she wishes she could mean more or thinks she means more than she does.
A good 60 percent of this book is taken up by Davenport examining Lily and deciding that he would totally still sleep with her though she's not in shape like his other women. Yes that happened. Yes my head momentarily exploded.
And then after that we have them playing a cat and mouse game with each other in about every scene because you know they are horny and just want to have sex. I mean screw all these people dying and who have died. Sex is most important. When the deed is finally done we just read about it over and over again and I just rolled my eyes. There is a lot of angst going on from Lily for having an affair, Lucas coaches her through that and then they have sex again.
The only bright spot that I saw was that Lucas's girlfriend Jennifer finally has enough. I wanted her to kick him in his balls myself, but you know she had bigger fish to fry. I was just out and out appalled by the entire direction of this book.
I think that if Sanford had kept it to Lucas wrestling with the fact he is only human (he almost is murdered in this one) and his flashbacks to what happened I would have liked him more. Lucas initial reactions wanting to see Jennifer and his daughter were normal. Then he just seemed to roll it off and get obsessed with Lily again and then goes back to having PTSD when Jennifer is finally done with him.
The writing was gritty and often times gross and too much.
The flow was all over the place. Jumping back to the masterminds of this plot, the one crazy they have in their midst, to Lucas, Jennifer, Lily, etc. was too much. I think that first person would have been a better fit and you just stay in Lucas's head. If you do third person you cannot do all of these characters. It becomes a jumbled mess. Also it's not that much of a thriller to me if I know who the murderers are and why.
The setting of Minnesota was not as well done in this book either. The last book there was care to describe the cold, the trees, lake, etc. This book really doesn't do that. It could have occurred in a town anywhere in the Midwest of the United States. It jumps to New York and also to Oklahoma City and once again there are no really good descriptions to make one believe that the action is taking place there so to speak.
The ending was blah. I just rolled my eyes again at that point. If every book is going to end this way I am not sure that I can make them through anymore.
A friend told me after book three the series improves in leaps and bounds. I don't know if that is true or not. He did say that even Sanford realized the way he was writing Lucas was problematic so he started to change him from being a total psycho who is only thinking of getting laid.