For the twenty-eighth book in the challenge, I read Rules of Prey by John Sandford, the first book in his Lucas Davenport series. I gave it four out of five stars.
Lucas Davenport is a somewhat macho, somewhat eccentric, very intelligent lieutenant for the intelligence department in Minneapolis. He “gets” numbers, patterns, puzzles, statistics. He gets the ladies. He has way, way too much money for a cop in 1989 who is totally obeying all the laws. He’s a rogue and a genius and how on Earth do those regular cops put up with him?
Here’s the thing, you guys; I didn’t like Lucas. I mean, I liked him because he was the hero and we’re supposed to like him, and he’s on the side of law and order (dunk dunk) and all that, but…I didn’t like him, like him. I felt that Sandford was trying too hard to get us on Lucas’ side that it was like being set up with a friend’s friend and getting there and realizing there is absolutely no chemistry between you. The other person is nice enough, and they’re not boring or rude to you, but you have the sneaking suspicion that they don’t really want to be there and they’re thinking about asking out one of the waitstaff afterward (regardless of how the date goes) and they don’t think you’re as interesting as you do and good lord, what is that product they’ve slathered on? It’s like standing in the soap aisle at the supermarket; very clean, very strong, and ultimately impersonal. They probably don’t clean the condiments off the lid before they put it back in the fridge, and they probably leave the shower curtain bunched up in the corner of the shower where it will stay damp and dark in places and grow that orange mildew. You know, the little things that just don’t match up and will drive you crazy.
It’s possible that I ranted just a little bit about this on Twitter. It’s possible I was snarky and flippant. It’s possible that Mr. Sandford tweeted me back about it.
He was really nice about it, you guys. And yes, he did remind me that a lot of these things were clichés, but the book was published in 1989, so there has been a lot of time for the clichés to become REALLY clichéd, and things that were new and interesting to turn into clichés, and okay, yes, that is totally true. But then, he agreed with me about Lucas.
Okayokayokay. Ahem. Okay. So. All the playing fast-and-loose with the law, and the shady tactics and the arrogance and the– all that stuff? Sandford did it on purpose. Because how are you going to have character development if your main character starts out perfect? There’s a plan and a structure and did you know he is still writing books about Lucas Davenport? I did not. (Silken Prey came out in May. Of THIS YEAR.) So all of his macho crap and using people catches up to him and there are consequences and they apparently bite him in the ass later and you guys, you guys, this is the thing that I love the most. When characters are flawed and rough and they go through shit that is partly their own damned fault and they SUFFER.
So here’s the main thing you should take away from this: the book is good, there are a lot more of them, John Sandford does the social media thing and reader criticism right, and even though Lucas and I are not dating, we can totes be Facebook friends. Maybe go out for drinks as friends once in a while, try the new karaoke place, be each others’ DD if things go well. Follow each other on the Twitter, that sort of thing.