Reviews for Rules of prey (Book)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

First-rate cat-and-mouse thriller--cop vs. serial killer--that's the fiction debut of a pseudonymous Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Games are the name of the game here, from the ""rules' that self-styled ""maddog"" rapist/killer Louis Vullion, an attorney, leaves for the police (e.g., ""Never kill anyone you know"") after each of his Minneapolis kills to the lucrative computer war-games that tough hero-cop Lucas Davenport designs in his spare time. As a ""player,"" Davenport sets out to catch Vullion by outwitting him--mostly by releasing false and infuriating information (for instance, that the cops think Vullion is impotent) through a dumb TV reporter who makes perfect cheese for the trap Davenport's setting. As Vullion and Davenport make their moves--the killer snuffing a young whore, then a cripple, and the cop mixing inspiration with dogged footwork and handling an overzealous media--author Sandford colors in a deep background for each: the killer with bis lonely, sterile house and nerdy ways, Davenport with his old friend who's a nun, his pregnant reporter-girlfriend, and his new flame, Carla Ruiz, who survived an aborted attack by Vullion. And if the action sometimes breaks into arrhythmia (a red herring about the false arrest of a suspect) or clich‚, the action shifts into high gear when the cop's mousetrap snaps shut but misses the killer. Realizing he's been made, Vullion designs an elaborate vengeance-puzzle (the ""stroke"") that features Carla as the prize even as Davenport counters with a set-up (the ""coup"") to ice Vullion cold-bloodedly and with impunity. Neither as psychologically astute as Ridley Pearson's Undercurrents (1988) nor as flat-out terrifying as Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs (1988), but for ingenuity and sheer entertainment Sandford's first far outclasses most other recent serial-killer novels, marking him a thriller writer to watch. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.