Field Of Prey by John Sandford
When a county deputy is called out to an abandoned farmhouse in the cornfields of Minnesota by a couple of terrified teenagers, he finds that a body has been stuffed down a cistern. And then another, and another.
By the time Lucas Davenport is called in, the police are up to fifteen bodies, and counting. And when Lucas begins to investigate, he makes some disturbing discoveries of his own. The victims have 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 has to live close by. He is probably even someone they see every day…
This novel is #24 in the Lucas davenport series. But the first I have ever read! Needless to say, it will NOT be my last! This novel is extraordinarily dark, the killers involved nightmarish! In fact, I did actually have nightmares whilst reading this novel!
I am a fan of multiple genre’s, which includes the horror genre.
You’d think the blurb from Stephen King, would have given me the hint!
But no, I went in assuming a typical crime fiction novel. What I got was one of the creepiest crime fiction reads; since I read The Poet by Michael Connelly!!!!!
The novel opens with the caption ‘years ago’, which we learn is the killers kidnapping their fifth victim to be Heather Jorgenson. However, Heather isn’t as easy to abduct as their previous four victims. She makes a dramatic escape leaving one of the pair severely wounded! The killers are identified to the reader as R-A and Horn.
The chapters from their perspective, reminds me of staying up too late and watching the true crime channel.
R-A and Horn’s killing spree, has gone virtually unheard of. That is until two teen love birds, stumble across an old cistern stuffed full of corpses!
When the body count reaches 15+ the bureau of criminal apprehension is brought into the case and with them is Lucas Davenport.
The crime scene is located in the middle of nowhere; with only small towns of minimal populations scattered nearby. The local cops want in, on the investigation. But it is CBA agent Bob Shaffer who is put in-charge of the case. With an intense investigation and heavy media scrutiny. The ‘Black hole of Goodhue’ needs all the cops to work together to apprehend the killers.
The police make a start by identifying the victims; which takes considerable time given the varying levels of decomposition. The victims are all female and of approximately the same age. But they have nothing in common, except natural blonde hair. How is the killer picking his victims? Is he an opportunist killer? Or is he stalking his victims?
One thing is for certain, the killer knows the area. To know the area and the buried old cistern so well, he/she must be a local. This puts fear into the local community and amps up the media frenzy over the case. When weeks go by, with each clue leading to a dead end. The media begin to turn on the cops investigating the case. Bringing up past cases, indiscretions and their professional records.
The cops need to solve this case, or their careers are in jeopardy!
Local sheriff deputy Catrin Mattsson, is known for her feisty attitude, but also her competency as a cop. After initially butting heads with Lucas, they begin to work together to solve the case.
I really liked Mattsson, she is tough and whilst the other cops wallow in low morale; she is consistently coming up with new ways to solve the case.
The novel has so much depth, it dips into Lucas’s previous cases; before he was seconded to the black hole investigation. The novel felt a very accurate portrayal of a cop’s daily life. Lucas also brings in, Virgil Flowers to help with the case. Although in this novel, he plays a background character. I got the distinct impression that the Virgil flowers novels, would be just as good as this series.
The case continues at a slow burning pace, but there are constant anomalies thrown in to keep the readers interest. The case in question maybe slowed down, but the action itself is not! Eventually the body count is held at 21 skulls. But when some are discovered to having been grave robbed, the case takes a sickening twist. Why would a killer, steal skulls from graves? Where did he get the skulls from? The grave robbing leads to local cemeteries and Shaffer takes off on his own to investigate further…….
When Shaffer goes missing, the tension in the novel reaches critical levels. I was absolutely hooked to the pages! The cops are now not only looking for an experienced serial killer; but a potential cop killer too…….
There are so many themes in this novel. It is impossible to cover them all in a review without spoiling the novel itself. But trust me, this is one hell of a creepy read! The killers begin to taunt the cops and plant leads; determined to control the investigation right up until the very dark brutal ending!
American crime fiction at its finest. Highly recommended! 5*