“Rules of Prey” by John Sandford

Sandford, John. Rules of Prey  (1989).  In John Sandford: Three Complete Novels G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 725 pages, hardcover ISBN 0-399-14007-7 In this introductory novel Minneapolis homicide detective Lucas Davenport, creator of computer games in his spare time, faces an intelligent serial killer who leaves behind messages stating his rules for avoiding detection. As the chase …

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John Sandford: Introductory Notes

John Sandford is the pseudonym of author and journalist John Camp, who won the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1986 and the Distinguished Writing Award of the American Society of Newspaper Editors for 1985. Camp was born in 1944 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa, where he received a bachelor’s degree …

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“Crack Down” by Val McDermid

McDermid, Val. Crack Down (1994)Harper, 246 pages, $4.99 paperback   ISBN 0 06 104394 X British private investigator Kate Brannigan is one half of the firm Mortensen and Brannigan, which specializes in white collar crime, particularly financial and computer fraud.  The book opens with Kate and her boyfriend, freelance rock journalist Richard Barclay, posing as …

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“M” is for Malice by Sue Grafton

Grafton, Sue. “M” is for Malice (1996)Henry Holt and Company, 300 pages, $25.00 hardcover   ISBN 0 8050 3637 7 “M” is for melancholy, the mood in which we find Kinsey Millhone at the beginning of this book: Ah, January. The holidays had left me feeling restless and the advent of the new year generated …

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“L” is for Lawless by Sue Grafton

Grafton, Sue. “L” is for Lawless  (1995)  Holt, 290 pages, $24.00 hardcoverISBN  0-8050-1937-5 Many critics called “K” is for Killer Grafton’s darkest, most disturbing novel.  Grafton herself may have felt the same way, because  “L” is for Lawless seems to be a concerted attempt at humor. The novel opens in comical circumstances:  Henry Pitts, Kinsey’s …

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“Choke” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Choke (1995)   Harper Collins, 280 pages, $23.00 hardcover  ISBN  0-06-017667-9 Twenty some years ago Chuck Chandler choked.  Right on Centre Court at Wimbledon.  He squandered three match points, then went on to lose the most prestigious championship in tennis. It’s 1995 when we next see Chuck, who has just arrived in Key …

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“K” is for Killer by Sue Grafton

Grafton, Sue. “K” is for Killer  (1994)Holt, 285 pages, $22.95 hardcoverISBN  0-8050-1936-7 Janice Kepler is having trouble coping with her daughter’s death.  She’s joined a support group but finds it little comfort.  One night she leaves the group meeting early and sees a light on in the office of Millhone Investigations. Janice explains to Kinsey …

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“Palindrome” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Palindrome (1991)   Harper, 447 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN  0 06 109936 8 A woman staggers into a hospital emergency room so badly beaten she’s unrecognizable.  The patient is Liz Barwick, professional photographer and wife of pro football player Baker Ramsey.  After receiving a hefty divorce settlement from Ramsey and an additional …

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“Hornet’s Nest” by Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell, Patricia. Hornet’s Nest (1996)   G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 377 pages, $25.95 hardcover   ISBN 0 399 14228 2 I hoped that a break from Dr. Scarpetta might rejuvenate Patricia Cornwell’s writing. It didn’t. This is among the worst novels I’ve ever read. Most books this poorly written would end up in some editor’s wastebasket. …

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“Under the Lake” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Under the Lake (1987)   Avon, $6.50  paperback  ISBN  0 30 70519 2 In this excellent supernatural thriller, John Howell, former newspaper reporter and recipient of the Nobel Prize, is approaching 40.  Having burned out on newspaper work, he is now supposedly working on The Great American Novel;  actually, he spends his days …

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