1235 Sidekicks
352 Superheroes

The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Reading progress update: I've read 70%.

Eyes of Prey - John Sandford

I managed to get to about 70% last night. 


I actually think that I hate this one the most of any of the books in this series I've read so far. There is a multiplicity of problems with the book.


First, as has been the case in all of the Prey books so far, we begin the book knowing the identity of the murderer (while it is true that in the first book, the killer was only identified as "maddog," it was not long before he was identified by name and job). There are two consequences of this authorial decision: 1) there is zero mystery involved in these books & 2) we spend way too much time inside the head of the killer.


Second, Lucas Davenport's emotional collapse has succeeded, rather than humanizing him for me, causing me to want to dick punch him into next week. I get it that, maybe, Sandford was trying to make his readers see Davenport as a flawed human man capable of emotion. All I see is abusive human man capable of violence when he doesn't get his way. This moment:


"I get your drift,” Lucas said. He turned back toward Barlow, so they were chest to chest and no more than four inches apart. Barlow had to move back a half-step and look up to meet Lucas’ eyes. “I’ll let you know when I can do it.” And I’ll throw you out the fuckin’ window if you give me any shit, Lucas thought. He turned away and went up the steps. Barlow called, “Soon,” and Lucas said, “Yeah, yeah . . ."


When Davenport considers becoming physically violent with a co-worker who is asking him to come in and provide a use of force interview regarding an incident where Davenport beat the shit out of a (dirtbag) suspect was a clue to his deterioration. 


This moment:


"Lucas had always worried that women feared him: that he was too rough, even when he didn’t mean to be. But her tone cut. He put a hand against her chest and shoved, and she went back against the wall of the corridor, her head snapping back. “Shut up . . .”


Cemented it. What is going on in that paragraph? Well, his former girlfriend, the one who left him when he had an affair with a visiting police officer, has the audacity not to want to get back together with him. This confrontation occurs because he has interpreted her lack of interest in working out their problems as being manipulative, apparently never considering that maybe she actually doesn't want to work out their problems. That maybe she wishes that he would just go away.. To paraphrase, he tells her that if she doesn't pull her head out of her ass RIGHT NOW and start communicating with him, that when she does, it will be too late, because he has just about had it with her shit.


Now, mind you, this is a character who has been incapable of not simply fucking any woman who smiles in his general direction. So his assumption that her lack of interest in working things out with him is petty is pretty questionable. Lucas Davenport is one of those guys - the ones who interprets a cheerful smile from a woman in the coffee line as "she wants me." The kind that women literally cannot smile at, even absently, because they take it as an invitation and a flirtation even when it is not (and the kind who, when they get nothing for their trouble but a stone-faced glance, tell the woman that "you would be prettier if you smiled," as though being pretty for them is the only reason that she might have for getting out of bed in the morning).


But, back to this - his response to that conversation was to shove her. Former lover, mother of his child. Lucas Davenport doesn't get the respect he is due, and up against the wall she goes, with an order to "shut up."


What. A. Fucking. Asshole.


Honestly, I don't give a good goddamned shit about Lucas Davenport. This book pretty much sucks. The killers are disgusting, the level of violence and mutilation of the victims is vile, and the reader is stuck in the heads of these monsters for pages upon pages for no real reason at all.


If the goal of Sandford was for Lucas to hit bottom, for readers to wonder if he is just as much of a monster as the murderers he is investigating, then good job.


Nietzche said, once: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster. For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."


The problem is, once you are a monster, how do you walk back into your humanity? I am not sure that it is possible. But I am pretty sure that Lucas Davenport is a monster. If, it turns out, this series is about a man trying to regain his humanity, then I'm interested. If it is just more of the same, I'm out. Because at this point, the series is violence porn, and nothing more.