“Eyes of Prey” by John Sandford

Sandford, John. Eyes of Prey (1991). In John Sandford: Three Complete Novels G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 725 pages, hardcover 
ISBN 0-399-14007-7

At the end of Shadow Prey Jennifer, Davenport’s former girlfriend, and Sarah, their baby, are wounded in a shootout. After this experience Jennifer has withdrawn from Lucas and now allows him to see Sarah only on weekends. As a result of Jennifer’s withdrawal and his own near encounter with death, Lucas has been in a deep depression, hearing the call of the guns downstairs in his gun safe.

Meanwhile Stephanie Bekker, wife of Dr. Michael Bekker, is murdered. Police know there was a witness, Stephanie’s lover who came downstairs just in time to catch a brief glimpse of the killer. The identity of Loverboy remains a crucial part of the investigation. Soon other corpses begin to turn up. What ties all of the murders together is that the eyes of each victim are viciously slashed and stabbed after death.

Chief Daniel assigns Davenport to the Bekker murder case hoping that it will pull him out of the doldrums, and the strategy seems to be working:

His head wasn’t working right. Hadn’t been for months. But now, he thought, something was changing. There’d been just the smallest quieting of the storm…He pitied himself and was sick of pitying himself. He felt his friends’ concern and he was tired of it. (p. 521)

Bekker was interesting. Lucas had felt the interest growing, watching it like a gardener watching a new plant, almost afraid to hope. He’d seen depression in other cops, but he’d always been skeptical. No more. The depression—an unfit word for what had happened to him—was so tangible that he imagined it as a dark beast, stalking him, off in the dark. (p. 531)

When Davenport finally catches Bekker, he rips Bekker’s face to shreds with the sight end of his revolver. Since this is not Davenport’s first instance of using excessive force, Chief Daniel dismisses him from the police department. 

This is the least believable of the “Prey” books. Michael Bekker is a pathologist at University Hospital, yet he takes lots of drugs in haphazard combinations and sometimes “goes away” during his drug trips.  The way he pops all kinds of pills together without even remembering what or how much he has taken, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t killed himself.  And even if he managed not to overdose, he could not continue to function as a doctor in a university hospital setting, which would involve teaching and other academic responsibilities. Finally, Bekker replenishes his drug supply by taking pills from containers in a patient’s nightstand. No hospital—but particularly a university hospital—would keep medication in a patient’s room.

© 1997 by Mary Daniels Brown

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