All 50+ John Sandford Books In Order (Crime And Mystery Series)

John Sandford is a fiction writer from America. His most loved collection is The Prey Series which was turned into a TV movie in 2011.

Just two novels were picked from the collection, and it was number 7 (Mind Prey) and number 10 (Certain Prey).

Sandford has an artistic mind which you can see in his writing style. In his own time, he can be found painting or gardening, but before he became a writer Sandford was a photographer for archaeological projects.

All 50+ John Sandford Books In Order (Crime And Mystery Series)

This author has so many hobbies and interests, that every aspect of his life becomes an inspiration for another novel. Stories based on realism, you can be sure that his facts and statements are well-researched.

About John Sandford Books

Most of John Sandford’s books are detective fiction. Either the main character is part of the police force or they are acting of their own volition as they find themselves waist-deep in drama.

In total, he has 5 series for you to jump into and a small collection of non-series books. However, the longest and most detailed series is The Prey Series.

In that collection, there are 32 books, and Sandford shows no signs of slowing down.

John Sandford Books In Order

The Prey Series

Prey (Lucas Davenport)

The Prey Series, also known as the Lucas Davenport series, follows the police detective through the many criminal investigations of Minneapolis.

The first book, Rules of Prey, focuses on the murderer “Maddog”. Killing for fun while staying vigilant, the intelligence of this criminal is horrifying.

Davenport has to beat Maddog at his own game, in a twisted game of cat and mouse.

As the stories continue, Davenport encounters more crimes that need solving and more killers that need capturing.

Without spoiling the story, I’ll say that some characters are recurring. Arch enemies that Davenport can only hush and not silence.

In book 17, Invisible Prey, we first met Virgil Flowers. This book was so loved that a spin-off was created.

From book 18 onwards, you could swap between the Prey series and the Virgil Flower series and still follow the same timeline.

We, however, recommend completing each series separately.

The order for this collection is as follows:

Rules of Prey


  • High Energy
  • Quick Plot
  • Gripping Suspense


  • Misogynistic

Virgil Flowers

Virgil Flowers

We first see Virgil Flowers in the Invisible Prey novel. He is a recurring character in the Prey series, but he also follows his own investigation in his spin-off series.

Flowers works for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension unit but was part of the military police and army before then. Davenport recruits Flowers into the bureau.

Flowers is a self-insert character for Sanford but with greater physical skill. This realism is one reason why the character is loved so much.

Sanford naturally adds touches on nature, painting, fishing, and outdoorsy personalities creating a well-rounded character.

It’s the outdoorsy nature that makes Flowers strangely equipped for the missions which lie ahead.

The order for this collection is as follows:

Dark of the Moon (A Virgil Flowers Novel, Book 1)


  • Exciting Throughout
  • Wry Humor
  • Realistic Characters


  • Unnecessarily Crude

Letty Davenport

Letty Davenport

Letty Davenport is a 12-year-old girl adopted by Lucas. They first meet in the 14th Prey novel Naked Prey. This series starts 12 years after that meeting when Letty is 24 years old.

Because the Prey series is still ongoing, there might be a point where the start of Letty’s series lines up with the Prey series. That point hasn’t occurred yet.

As an adult, Letty joined her father in becoming a detective. In this series, Letty takes on large companies that handle illegal dealings as she uncovers the truth.

The order for this collection is as follows:

Dark Angel (A Letty Davenport Novel Book 2)


  • Great Humor
  • Well-Written Mystery


  • Mary Sue

The Kidd Series


The Kidd Series was first written under the name John Camp. This is Sandford’s real name.

The Kidd Series and the Prey Series were published at the same time. The editors didn’t want readers to get confused with the different styles, so told John to create a pen name.

The Kidd Series flips the coin in John’s writing. Instead of exploring the investigation and detective world, Kidd is a professional criminal.

Tech whiz and artists Kidd and LuEllen work together to destroy rival businesses and reap millions. If they get it wrong, they will be locked away for life.

The order for this collection is as follows:

The Fool's Run (Kidd Book 1)


  • Still Engaging Despite Older Tech References
  • Interesting Plots
  • Fluid Storytelling


  • Dry

The Singular Menace

The Singular Menace Series

The Singular Menace is a mixture of Kidd and Davenport. Our main character, Shay Remby, has to protect her brother after he unveiled evidence of a corporation’s ruthlessness.

Odin, the brother, has been hacking the businesses as part of an animal rights activist group.

Shay has to save her brother while unlocking the mysteries herself, so she can truly understand what she is up against.

The order for this collection is as follows:

Uncaged (The Singular Menace, 1) (The Singular Menace Series)


  • Thrilling Story
  • Good Plot
  • Fun Characters


  • Some plotlines are unfeasible.

The Night Crew

The Night Crew

The next three books are not part of a series. Instead, they are stand-alone novels.

The Night Crew is a story that follows Anna Batory and her videographer crew. They are on the lookout for robberies, accidents, and on a good day a chase scene.

However, two deaths shake the Night Crew. The first is a jumper from a 5-story building. The second is one of Anna’s own crewmates.

Anna suspects that something is wrong, and the story isn’t as clear as the police think.


  • Intense Plot
  • Well Written
  • Fresh


  • The Geography Feels Forced

Dead Watch

Dead Watch (Night Watch)

A former U.S. Senator is missing. Murder, Kidnap? The Police are unsure. But his wife seems to know more than she’ll admit.

On the run, the case is turned to Jacob Winter, an Army Intelligence officer and chief investigator.

Strange signs start appearing. If they don’t solve this mystery soon, more darkness will fall.



  • Slow Start

Saturn Run

Saturn Run

Saturn run is still a mystery novel, but jumping into 2066 it contains science fiction too. John Sandford doesn’t usually write about science fiction, making this novel an unusual story,

An intern in Caltech uses their space telescope as part of their normal routine when they notice something unusual near Saturn.

Governments get hold of this information coming to an impossible conclusion – A technologically advanced ship is in our solar system.

Countries team up and lash out against one another as the race begins. Which country will reach the ship first and discover the technology it holds?


  • Near Future Technology
  • Political Intrigue
  • Fast Moving Plot


  • No Real Character Development

Final Thoughts

John Sandford’s best work is The Prey Series. There is a reason why 32 novels have been published so far, and there are more on the way!

Sandford is fantastic at developing twists and turns in the detective structure while not feeling repetitive or slow.

Read the Prey Series first, and then follow your heart’s desire for the other collections.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Did John Sandford Win The Pulitzer Prize For?

Before John Camp became a fiction writer, he covered the farming crisis as a journalist.

Written in 1985, he detailed the Midwest Farming Crisis in his paper called “Life on the Land: American Farm Family”. The story followed a farming family through a single year, exploring their woes.

Do You Need To Read The John Sandford Books In Order?

The Prey Series needs to be read first, then the Virgil Flowers series, and thirdly the Letty Davenport series. The other series and standalone novels are not connected.

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Anna Davis