Lucas Davenport is the name given to the protagonist of the Prey series written by John Sandford. There are a whopping 33 books in this series, so strap yourself in for a long ride! Due to the length of the series, many fans get confused about what order to read to read these great books in, so we’ve constructed the ultimate list that accentuates the best reading order.
Working as the lead investigator for Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Lucas Davenport is exposed to some mysterious and shocking scenes. Although he works for the Minneapolis Police Department, Lucas’s investigative techniques often lay outside of conventional detective procedures.
Lucas is a wealthy, sometimes arrogant character that gets lots of female attention. He could be compared to James Bond but on a police level and without the international ‘license to kill’.
These thrillers are unpredictable and mysterious page-turners, guaranteed to have you hooked from the first chapter. The protagonist is a fascinating individual and the plot lines are fast-paced, so you’re likely to get bored anytime soon.
There are some cross-overs between the Prey series and Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series, so be sure to check out that one too if you’re interested in some of the themes that appear in cross-over novels.
If these books sound like something you’re interested in, let’s dive right in and show you in what order you should be enjoying them!
All Lucas Davenport Books in the Best Reading Order
Rules of Prey (1989)
Rules of Prey is an unforgettable debut to the series that introduces the brilliant character, through a twisted investigation.
The story is known for being a tense and exciting page-turner that centers around Davenport’s introduction and a psychologically interesting villain.
Shadow of Prey (1990)
Multiple similar murders across numerous American cities have led to an investigation into a serial killer. The investigation is already complex enough but the psychology of the killer is about to complicate the mystery even further.
Shadow of Prey is a fantastic second novel that exposes Davenport’s dark wit a little more.
Eyes of Prey (1991)
Lucas is struggling with his mental health at the beginning of this novel, so when a new investigation opens up, it may be the right thing to get him back on track.
Eyes of Prey follows an investigation tracking two killers after a woman was violently killed in her home.
Silent Prey (1992)
After an ex-girlfriend reaches out, Lucas finds himself traveling to New York to hunt a killer who’s on the loose after escaping custody.
Silent Prey dives into Lucas’s past a little further and follows a dark and gripping investigation.
Winter Prey (1993)
A violent killer, guilty of killing a family and subsequently burning their house to the ground, must be tracked through the snowy chaos in Wisconsin.
Winter Prey exposes Lucas to a new kind of killer – vicious, twisted, and keen to strike again.
Night Prey (1994)
Night Prey delves into the injustice and inequality that drives the Minneapolis Police Department. Lucas tries to help fellow investigator, Meagan, as she struggles to get heard when voicing concern about the increase of vicious crimes against women.
Mind Prey (1995)
Mind games are what motivate Mind Prey. This book introduces us to a new murderer – one more intelligent and cunning than any that came before.
Sudden Prey (1996)
After busting a bank heist, Davenport and his team are forced to kill the robbers. But Lucas doesn’t expect to come under fire himself. Dick LaChaise is the husband and brother of two of the dead thieves and he’s after revenge.
Secret Prey (1998)
One man goes missing after a hunting trip and Lucas is tasked with unearthing the secrets behind what went wrong and who’s responsible. Secret Prey is a new type of murder mystery, one that will challenge Lucas in new ways.
Certain Prey (1999)
An affair, an assassin, and a dead witness. Certain Prey follows Davenport as he tries to uncover how things got so out of control but it won’t be easy and Lucas is up against some powerful people.
Easy Prey (2000)
A high-profile model, now dead, is suspected as the killer in a new murder case. Lucas and his team must investigate this story but as more crimes are committed around the city, Lucas unravels a much more complex case.
Chosen Prey (2001)
A woman’s body is found and shortly after, an erotic drawing of the same person is discovered. Not only must Lucas find who’s responsible but with the emergence of new drawings, he must also prevent the deaths of future victims.
Chosen Prey is intriguing and different – a refreshing new addition to Davenport’s investigations.
Mortal Prey (2002)
Mortal Prey reunites Lucas with Clara Rinker, the most sought-after hitwoman around… and the woman that tried to kill him.
When Clara realizes she is being hunted, she must disappear and find the person that wants her dead before they get there first. Lucas is hired to help find her but he’s in for a dangerous ride, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
Naked Prey (2003)
When a black man and a white woman are found hanging from a tree, ‘lynching’ is the word that comes to mind. But Lucas, in his newly appointed position, has realized that these murders are not what they seem. Naked Prey tasks Lucas with one of his hardest challenges yet.
Hidden Prey (2004)
After a Russian is shot at Lake Superior, the FBI concludes that he was a KGB agent. With the help of a Russian investigator, Lucas must trace this man’s past but what awaits is something far beyond Lucas’s imagination.
Hidden Prey merges political history, identity, and intensity in Lucas’s first international case.
Broken Prey (2005)
Broken Prey begins as two corpses are found, violently mutilated and with slit throats. A DNA match is found and Lucas is immediately sent to search for a sex offender on the register.
Lucas is skeptical – the cases don’t match this suspect and he has a hunch this case is a lot deeper. But he’ll need help from other serial killers and must venture to a high-security hospital.
Invisible Prey (2007)
Lucas is sent to a crime scene – two older women have been murdered with a metal pipe and their possessions have been stolen.
Invisible Prey dives deeper into Lucas’s unusual ways. He notices that the objects missing may have significance and discovers a pattern that leads him in a completely new investigative direction.
Phantom Prey (2008)
Wicked Prey (2009)
One of Minneapolis’s top robbers is back in business and planning one of his biggest heists yet. But Lucas doesn’t seem up to the job, he’s got his own issues to worry about – he’s being tracked by a psychopath seeking revenge. Wicked Prey is multidimensional and much more personal – not one to miss!
Storm Prey (2010)
Storm Prey starts with a gang-related hospital drugs raid, leaving one dead and many staff injured. But this is personal for Lucas, his wife is a staff member and when witnesses start winding up dead, Lucas must use his investigative skills to save the love of his life.
Buried Prey (2011)
Buried Prey takes Lucas back in time to when he first joined the force. When the bodies of two girls are uncovered underneath a house during renovations, Lucas is transported back to an unsolved kidnapping case in 1985.
Stolen Prey (2012)
Stolen Prey begins with one of Lucas’s worst murder scenes – an entire family, including children and dogs, has been killed. But the scene doesn’t look right and after some digging, Lucas will find out exactly why.
Silken Prey (2013)
Silken Prey is multifaceted, bursting with heaps of subplots and fields of inquiry. This might be Lucas’s most dangerous case yet. It involves blackmail, disappearances, political espionage, ruthless murder, and scandal.
Field of Prey (2014)
On an abandoned farm in the middle of rural Minnesota, 15 bodies have been found scattered across the site, all in disturbing conditions and places.
Field of Prey follows as Lucas makes some interesting findings and discovers a pattern that can’t be ignored.
Gathering Prey (2015)
Travelers are vanishing and Letty, Lucas’s adopted daughter has just been contacted by a female traveler she met in San Francisco.
Gathering Prey follows as Letty and Lucas go to help Letty’s traveler friends and get to the bottom of these disappearances.
Extreme Prey (2016)
Lucas is no longer employed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Lucas is dragged into a political campaign where he is forced to use his investigative skills to save a high-profile governor from a dangerous killer. Extreme Prey is different, unpredictable, and gripping.
Golden Prey (2017)
Golden Prey presents a new opportunity for Lucas. He’s now employed by the U.S. Marshals Service, allowing him to choose his cases.
But Lucas gets himself into trouble fairly quickly. He becomes heavily involved in a drugs scandal that has left a trail of 5 bodies behind, one of which belongs to a 6-year-old girl.
Twisted Prey (2018)
Twisted Prey intertwines Lucas’s work with a psychopath he’s come across before, a psychopath that successfully integrated into the U.S. Senate.
Neon Prey (2019)
Neon Prey follows as Lucas tracks a serial killer. His house is lined with graves and marshals begin wondering how he got away with so many murders for so long.
Masked Prey (2020)
Pictures of the children of important American politicians are found splayed across a blog that contains some outrageous radical ideas.
Masked Prey follows as Lucas and the FBI trace this anonymous threat but no crime has yet been committed, is this just a waiting game?
Ocean Prey (2021)
Lucas Davenport and Sandford’s other brilliant protagonist Virgil Flowers (from a separate series) investigate a dark and dangerous case together.
Righteous Prey (2022)
Righteous Prey additionally follows the joint force of Lucas and Virgil who are tasked with an interesting moral case. A group called ‘The Five’ are planning to kill criminals – thieves, rapists, and murderers. But their presence on social media and their use of the dark web indicates that their intention isn’t all it seems.
This book is ready to pre-order on Amazon.
The Prey series starring Lucas Davenport is a fantastic series to sink your teeth into. With interesting characters, unexpected events, and twists and turns along the way, this series will keep you interested, take you on an emotional rollercoaster, and leave you wanting more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is John Sandford?
John Sandford is an American author known for the Prey and Virgil Flowers series. With a background in journalism and years’ worth of writing experience, he has received the Pulitzer Prize and is a multiple New York Times best-selling author.
Do you need to read the Prey series in order?
The publication and chronological order helps readers to follow the characters through time. Because the series is so long, characters grow up and grow old throughout the book and their developments are crucial to following the overarching storyline.
Is John Sandford a pseudonym?
Yes – the author’s real name is John Roswell Camp and he published his first series, the Kidd series under his real name. However, publishers asked him to use a pseudonym for the Prey series.
Do these books have film adaptations?
As of now, there are two film adaptations of the Prey series: Mind Prey and Certain Prey. However, these films follow two different actors bringing Lucas Davenport to life. Eriq LaSalle and Mark Harmon have both played the detective role in different films, causing confusion about Lucas Davenport’s race. In the books, he is described as a white man, despite Eriq LaSalle’s portrayal.
Is there romance in the Prey series?
Yes – without spoiling too much, Lucas has a love interest throughout many of the books.