Between the Lines: In John Sandford’s thriller series, horrible guys are ‘Prey’

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Source:   —  April 25, 2016, at 1:53 AM

M, a bit frustrated, when his phone rang. What're you doing? he was asked.“I’m sitting here trying to figure out the blankety-blank twelfth chapter of the book I’m working on,” he said.

Between the Lines: In John Sandford’s thriller series, horrible guys are ‘Prey’

John Sandford was sitting at his computer in his residence office in Santa Fe, N. M, a bit frustrated, when his phone rang. What're you doing? he was asked.

“I’m sitting here trying to figure out the blankety-blank twelfth chapter of the book I’m working on,” he said. “I’ve got a mo to finish it, and it’s a small coarse right now.”

So it goes even for a veteran such as Sandford, the NY Times best-selling thriller writer, former journalist and ardent fisherman, hunter and canoeist. He just published the twenty-sixth title in his “Prey” series, “Extreme Prey,” The Bee Book Club’s choice for April.

The series’ “star” is the streetwise, ruthless Lucas Davenport, a manhunter who's recently left his work as a special investigator for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – pushed out by “a combination of personality conflict and paperwork.”

The book opens with the mega-wealthy (computer games) Davenport renovating his lakeside vacation residence when he gets a call from MN Gov Elmer Henderson, whom he “somewhat trusts.” Seems Henderson is on the campaign trace for the Democratic national presidential nomination, and wants Davenport to obtain to the bottom of a “troubling incident.”

“When I started the book, I'd number concept of how dumb the (current) presidential campaign would become,” Sandford said. “I don’t know how you write something about campaigning when you’ve got this crew of candidates. I hope (readers) will give me a tiny rope. This is the first time in my life I’m actually losing sleep over (the Nov election).”

John Sandford is the pseudonym of John Camp, seventy-two, who wrote for the Miami Harbinger and the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth and won it in one thousand nine hundred eighty-sixth for a series of articles about the farm crisis in the Midwest. Sandford left journalism for a career in fiction, which raises the question: Why?

“It was the money, and as it happened it worked out beautiful well,” he said. “I really like journalism (even though) I was going to be a lawyer. When I won the Pulitzer, a companion told me, ‘You’ve got it made.’ But what I got was a $50-a-week raise. I thought, ‘I can’t afford to send my kids to college.’”

Sandford was a “big fan” of the thriller genre, so he wrote one. It didn’t sell, but the second one did. “Then I wrote the first ‘Prey’ book (‘Rules of Prey,’ one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine) and was on my way.”

How does a well-decorated journalism career assistance notify his thrillers?

“It’s critical to what I do,” he said. “It keep me on murder scenes and interior police stations, so I learned how cops speak and what the milieu is around them. I know what deceased bodies lying on the Str see like. I did a series of stories on hospitals, so I know about gunshot and knife wounds. So my stuff isn’t just made up, it’s an amalgamation of scenes I’ve actually seen, and movies.”

Sandford’s novels are “carefully engineered” for women readers, he said. Which makes sense, given the studies and surveys conducted by the likes of the National Endowment For the Arts and the Pew Research Center. They clearly indicate that women purchase and read more books than men, particularly fiction.

“So when I invented (Lucas Davenport), I thought, ‘What kind of guy will really appeal to women?’ He’s masculine and tough, but he likes poetry and fashion, so he’s got a soft side,” Sandford said. “He likes strong, fascinating women, and he’s married to one (a surgeon named Weather). And I made him rich, turning him into sort of a movie star.”

Unlike the “police procedurals” by authors such as , and , Sanford focuses on emotional the action forward, not chronicling the day-to-day drudgery.

“I know a lot of cops, I see at their techniques, and they’ve given me a lot of advice about how to write things,” Sandford said. “But my stories are mostly about velocity, so I get shortcuts. Lucas operates out of his hip pocket, and that’s not realistic. A companion of mine was the police chief of St. Paul, and he used to say, ‘Lucas Davenport don’t write reports.’”

Sandford’s written world is expansive, and includes the nine-tittle “Virgil Flowers” crossover series (“Escape Clause” is due in October), in which Davenport interacts with investigator Flowers, bringing their fictional worlds together. Also, he's the four-title “Kidd and LuEllen” series, the “Singular Menace” trilogy, three stand-alone novels and two books of nonfiction.

Latest year he published a sci-fi thriller, “Saturn Run,” in collaboration with Bay Area photographic artist and essayist Ctein, who's degrees from Caltech in English and physics. “He visited Minneapolis, came to my house and we struck up a friendship,” Sandford recalled. “I love to read sci-fi, and we cooked up the idea for ‘Saturn Run.’”

At the finish of “Extreme Prey,” Davenport gets a work proposal that'll modify the template of the series. “I’ll get him out of the Twin Cities to hunt down the worst guys in places love California, New Mexico, FL and Illinois,” Sandford said. “I’m going back to a more basic legend and a tiny uglier story. Which will get his family out of it. I won’t be able to obtain any romance into it, unless something terrible happens to his wife. Which is a possibility.”

John Sandford’s appearance on Thursday, April twenty-eight, for The Bee Book Club is sold out. Those patrons holding tickets should bring them for admittance. All proceeds benefit The Bee’s News In Education (NIE) program, bringing news and information to more than 20.000 students in the region.

Sandford’s new thriller, “Extreme Prey” (Putnam, $29, four hundred six pages) will be offered for thirty % off the list price through Thursday, April twenty-eight, at these bookstores: In the Sacramento area at the four Barnes & Nobles, Avid Reader at the Tower, Underground Books, Time Certified Books and Sac State’s Hornet Bookstore. In Davis at Avid Reader and UC Davis Bookstore; in El Dorado Hills at Face in a Book; and in Grass Valley at The Bookseller.

Barnes & Noble will be at the Bee Book Club event, selling “Extreme Prey” at thirtieth % off, as well as some of John Sandford’s backlist and audiobooks at full price.

Visit the author at . Information: 916-321-1128

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