I wanted (Davenport) to be a mean, tough cop who women liked. - John Sandford
Lieutenant Lucas Davenport is a gunman with a badge. Davenport is flawed in the tradition of hard-bitten investigator fiction. He comes out fighting, has no trouble with circumventing the law and in the opening books does a lot of thinking with his smaller brain until the confusingly-named Weather.
They would drive across town, and she'd see good houses and nice gardens and kids on bikes. He'd see whores and dopers and pedophiles and retired cat burglars. At first, it had been interesting ... the lunatic, the out-of-control ... later, she understood that he sought it out.
Set in contemporary times, the series begins in the 1990s when CDs and boom boxes are the big things and the general public and police haven't heard of e-mail.
He has killed five people when this series opens, and usually after two an officer gets the desk. But Davenport is too good to sideline, and too independent to place in the hierarchy of Minnesota's Minneapolis Police Department, so he runs his own intelligence network of street contacts out of a basement office for the first three books.
In the fourth book he is writing his games and simulations for a (good) living, but is called in by the NYPD, and in the fifth, Winter Prey, he is hiding from his corporate life when he's called in to help a Wisconsin sheriff. It is here that he meets local doctor Weather.
By the sixth book he is back in grateful harness in the Twin Cities, driving his Porsche to crime scenes and using his talents for working the media and the crime to get the job done. He's taken up a political appointment as Deputy Chief and is relieved to be back in (shoulder) harness.
Davenport eventually sells out of his computer company with $10 million after tax, but he needs to work. The money enables him to indulge in his love for his Porsche and good suits.
Lucas went for Italian suits, French ties and English shoes. He read the men's fashion magazines, of the serious kind ...
But the Deputy Chief position is political and with a change in mayor, Davenport and his boss Rose Marie Roux move over to the state-based Department of Public Safety and Davenport is now working out of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the governor.
"His brief was to look at interesting and, usually, but not always, violent crimes, and to "fix shit" for the governor."
The characters from two other Sandford series make appearances in these books, Virgil Flowers and Kidd. We have tried to include notes in the reading order for spoilers.
The best prices we found for eBooks of this series, including bundles is at Diesel Ebook Store.
Lucas Davenport is called in to act independently but as part of a task force investigating a serial killer who leaves 'rules' behind with his victims. He juggles the case, his sometime-girlfriend, a journalist, and a witness who is hiding out in his rural cabin.
Abusers of the Native American people are being killed and Davenport, along with a female New York detective, is brought in to identify and apprehend the wrong-doers. Once again, his liking for women and tendency towards violence cause complications.
Taking a break from corporate drudgery, Davenport is spending the winter at his Wisconsin cabin. He is called upon by the sheriff of a nearby county to solve a triple homicide and, deputised, he must hunt the Iceman, who is covering up his activities as a pedophile with murder.
One of his targets is the local doctor and coroner, Weather, who piques Davenport's interest and he must protect her and catch the killer while the town battles sub zero temperatures.
Two years after leaving Minneapolis PD, Davenport is back in a political appointment as deputy chief. He is put in charge of a serial killer case that has been highlighted by a member of the Bureau for Criminal Apprehension, Connell.
With increasing media attention and political pressure, Davenport and the woman from BCA try to find the killer while the homicide department are seeking an unprecedented number of murderers, including a locked-door murder that is obsessing a member of Davenport and Connell's team.
A wealthy psychiatrist and her two young daughters are kidnapped and Davenport and the MPD are all on deck looking for a gamer with a history of mental problems. Davenport and the team must find the victims and while he's at it, he'll have to decide what to do about the diamond engagement ring he's carrying around in his pocket.
After Davenport's team kill a pair of female bank robbers, their brother and husband, and his two friends embark on a plan to revenge an eye for an eye. Davenport's pursuit is complicated by a dirty cop looking to protect himself from the fallout.
Sandford's characters include an innocent bystander, distrustful of the police, who finds the more she tries to stay out of trouble, the worse things get for her.
A bank president is killed. His proposed merger is almost as unpopular as he is, which is nothing to how unpopular he'd be with his ex-wife if she knew he'd make an extra $10 million dollars from it.
After her experiences in the previous story, Weather has left Davenport and he feels himself spiralling back into depression. What can save him? Sex with a good woman, or a really interesting murder to solve?
Carmel Loan is one of the three top defense attorneys in Minnesota. She has everything -- a million-dollar-a-year job, a fabulous apartment, a murder-red Jag -- life would be perfect if Hale Allen's wife would just die. Fortunately the right money and connections can get the job done. What she doesn't foresee is the cascade of events one wish can start.
high-fashion model and an hotel hostess are killed at a party for the rich and feckless. There were drugs everywhere, but everyone denies taking any, or knowing any dealers. With the TV news crews breathing down their necks, Minneapolis PD is using Homicide and Davenport's team to investigate. And then the photographer for the model's last shoot is killed in St Paul ...
Someone in the Twin Cities is strangling blondes, and harassing women by creating pornographic sketches of them. It's not Davenport's case, and worse, he knows the parents of the latest victim to be found. But Weather thinks that he'd enjoy the challenge, and, while he's on the move, why not a quick insemination?
Davenport calls in an art expert by the name of Kidd
. Meanwhile the Mayor announces that he will not run again, which means the Davenport and his boss Rose Marie, will likely be out of a job.
The assassin Carla Rinker has surfaced in Mexico, possibly on her way back to the United States. The FBI Agents Mallard and Malone, with whom Lucas last worked on her case, call him in and he's flying reluctantly down to Mexico. To their relief, he's leaving behind pregnant Weather, who's working on the wedding, and a team of builders replacing his old house with something bigger and better.
The investigation takes Davenport, Mallard and Malone to St Louis as Rinker targets the men she believes killed her man and her unborn child.
Lucas Davenport and Rose Marie Roux have moved to state positions. Lucas now Director, Office of Regional Studies working with Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He has a new job, a new son, and despite being a primo surgeon Weather has become the 'little woman' and taken his name. (BIG BOO!) Winter depression looms again for Davenport and an interesting case is needed. Two naked people hung from a tree up north could fit the bill.
"He felt a hum, a little spear of pleasure breaking through the blue. An evil bastard to hunt: nothing like it to cheer a guy up."
This novel introduces the pre-teen rural trapper, Letty.
A Russian is killed on the docks in Duluth, which wasn't urgent until it was discovered that his father was a high official in Russia. Now the Russians, the FBI, the locals and Davenport are investigating.
Meanwhile, Lucas, Weather, son Sam, and Letty are settled with their housekeeper in the Big New House, although Davenport is doing a bit of soul-searching.
"A cop, he still loved the hunt, but suspected that twenty-five years of contact with violent death and brutal criminal was beginning to corrode something essential inside him."
A serial killer is loose, his victims brutalised and Davenport works with his best friend Sloan from the Minneapolis PD to identify and catch the killer. The death of a child is one too many for Sloan and everyone insists that Davenport not talk him out of retiring.
Meanwhile, Weather has bought Davenport an iPod and a certificate for 100 downloads, and everyone has an opinion on what the playlist should contain.
To avoid spoilers, read The Hanged Man's Song (Kidd and LuEllen) before Invisible Prey.
Invisible Prey, John Sandford
Two elderly women are killed during a break-in where the thieves seem to have done more damage than thieving. Davenport's energies are torn between this theft -- for which he calls in Kidd
and a possible pederast scandal on which Virgil Flowers is working.
Sloan has opened his bar, Shooters but is still available for brainstorming.
Weather is given back her own name in this novel, but Sandford then goes on to indulge in a bit of gender-bashing:
Lucas has a theory about intelligence: there was critical intelligence, and there was silly intelligence ... with women, it was silly.
Sandford has a variety of female characters, heroes and villains, cops and murderers, this comment seems to be a little something nasty that slipped through.
Del and Davenport are spending some of their time watching a missing dealer's wife from the apartment across the street. With that, and the politics of an upcoming Republican convention, Davenport has to find time for another investigation when Weather asks him to look into the presumed murder of a wealthy friend. This brings him into contact with the latest Goth revival, just in time for a spate of murders of Goths.
Wicked Prey (below) begins almost exactly after the end of Heat Lightning, the second Virgil Flowers
book. To prevent a spoiler, read Dark of the Moon and Heat Lightning before Wicked Prey.
Wicked Prey, John Sandford
The Republican Convention is in town, as are cops from all over, called in for security. Davenport has made so many demands, so loudly, that he's been disinvited from the ball. When Lily calls from New York to warn him that a murderous criminal gang may have landed in his jurisdiction, Davenport rapidly suspects that the money-handlers from the convention could be targetted, but where can he get the agents to work the case? Meanwhile, an old enemy targets Letty, and she embarks on a ruthless operation of her own.
Virgil Flower's adventure Bad Blood takes place in December, in January he appears in the following novel, Storm Prey.
Storm Prey, John Sandford
Arriving at the hospital early to work on a pair of conjoined twins, Weather catches a glimpse of the men who have just broken into the pharmacy, stolen drugs and killed the pharmacist. Now she is a witness under threat, and determined not to let it interfere with her work. As a compromise, she agrees to an in-house bodyguard -- Virgil Flowers.
Lucas Davenport appears (by phone) in Shock Wave, which takes place a month before Buried Prey begins.
Buried Prey, John Sandford
The bodies of two young girls are found during a demolition. Their disappearance was Davenport's first real plain clothes case (he was still a patrol officer). We meet Davenport and Sloan as they make their ways as newbie detectives, learning how to gather information, develop contacts and influence people -- Sloan has a friendly way about him that makes him a good interrogator, Davenport's hockey rough-housing makes threats and intimidation his forte. We also see Davenport in a tiny apartment, writing his early games and developing his penchant for clothes. Del also makes an appearance as his plain clothes partner for the investigation.
Now, years later, Davenport's guilt at dropping the investigation is driving him to catch the suspect on whose trail he was all those years ago, and his friends and family fear that he could destroy himself in the process.
At the end of April Davenport has his morning run rudely interrupted and by August the resultant cast is set to annoy him for another month. It's put into perspective when a family is tortured and killed in the home and the message "were coming" (sic) is written in blood at the scene.
investigates a series of muggings while Davenport and the DEA follow the trail of Mexican drug money.
investigation in Mad River seems to start in April, but mentions actions that take place in Stolen Prey.
Silken Prey, John Sandford
When something distasteful is found on a Republican senate hopeful's computer the Democratic governor calls in Lucas to prove it was a set-up. Davenport calls in ICE (Ingrid) to handle the computer issues, and she recommends the "totally hot" Kidd
to help out. How will the "totally hot" Davenport beat a suspect with narcissistic personality disorder and loyal henchmen?
Two Minnesota small town teenagers discover a cistern with a suspicious smell. The local sheriff calls in the BCA and soon there is a killer hunt on as the local towns reel with the news of fifteen young women's bodies.
It will take persistence and kilometres of travel to bring this murderer to justice.
(Virgil Flowers is off on another case during this book.)
After the events in Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation - no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend, the governor, is just cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. "Should be fun!" he says, and it kind of is - until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor...and anyone who gets in the way.
Lucas Davenport s first case as a U.S. marshal takes him into unexplored territory.
Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he s saved, Lucas Davenport has a new job. He is a U.S. marshal, but not just any marshal one with unusual scope. He gets to investigate whomever he wants, wherever he wants, across the country, and once in a while, he might be called upon for special cases. How special? They couldn't come from anyone higher.
But his first case is something different. A rash of audacious robberies reminds Davenport of a criminal he once chased several years ago, the leader of a gang focused only on large cash crimes, and who didn t mind leaving bodies behind. The last time he was heard from, a shootout left two FBI men dead, and now Davenport thinks the leader might be back.
Davenport knows this is the kind of investigation he s been hired to pursue, and he knows something else as well: This could get ugly fast ... so he d better be up to it." (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9781410498076)
A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she'd fit right in. He was also convinced that she'd been responsible for three murders, though he'd never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.
He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he's heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she's made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.
But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 0735217351)
Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don't much care about a low-level guy--it's his boss they want--but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.
Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese's rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves.
Now Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and--as Davenport will come to find--full of surprises . . . (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 0525536582)
The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures . . . of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of radical groups.
It's obviously alarming--is there an unstable extremist tracking the loved ones of powerful politicians with deadly intent? But when the FBI is called in, there isn't much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can't be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI's constraints: Lucas Davenport. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 0525539522)
An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family when he calls in some suspicious behavior from a nearby boat. It's a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there's something hinky going on, and his hunch is proved right when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.
They're federal officers killed on the job, which means the case is the FBI's turf. When the FBI's investigation stalls out, they call in Lucas Davenport. And when his case turns lethal, Davenport will need to bring in every asset he can claim, including a detective with a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 978-0593087046)
"We're going to murder people who need to be murdered." So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as "The Five," shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is believed to be made up of vigilante killers who are very bored...and very rich. They target the worst of society--rapists, murderers, and thieves--and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they've killed, donating untraceable bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become the most popular figures on social media, a modern-day Batman...though their motives may not be entirely pure.
After a woman is murdered in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full--the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, the Five are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 978-0593422472)