Buried Prey
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"Buried Prey" Characters Analysis

By John Sandford

mystery | 390 pages | Published in 2011

A house demolition provides an unpleasant surprise for Minneapolis-the bodies of two girls, wrapped in plastic. It looks like they've been there a long time. Lucas Davenport knows exactly how long. In 1985, Davenport was a young cop with a reputation for recklessness, and the girls' disappearance was a big deal. His bosses ultimately declared the case closed, but he never agreed with that. Now that he has a chance to investigate it all over again, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: It wasn't just the bodies that were buried. It was the truth.


Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Lucas DavenportProtagonist, Detective
Del CapslockPartner, Detective
Lily RothenburgVictim
Steve BeckerSuspect
Sandy SanchezMedical Examiner
Weather KarkinnenLucas' wife
Michael BekkerAntagonist, Serial Killer

Role Identification

In the book "Buried Prey" by John Sandford, the main character is Lucas Davenport, a detective who is determined to solve a cold case from his past. He is supported by his partner, Del Capslock, and together they investigate the brutal murder of Lily Rothenburg. The primary antagonist is Michael Bekker, a cunning and sadistic serial killer. Other characters include Steve Becker, a potential suspect, Sandy Sanchez, the skilled medical examiner, and Weather Karkinnen, Lucas' wife.

Character Descriptions

  1. Lucas Davenport: Lucas is a seasoned detective with a reputation for getting results. He is described as intelligent, relentless, and occasionally reckless in his pursuit of justice. With his tall and athletic build, he cuts an imposing figure. He has a sharp mind and a knack for understanding the criminal mind.
  2. Del Capslock: Del is Lucas' partner and a skilled detective in his own right. He is portrayed as loyal, dependable, and methodical. Del provides a calmer and more measured approach to investigations, balancing out Lucas' impulsive nature.
  3. Lily Rothenburg: Lily is the victim whose murder sets the plot in motion. She is described as a young and ambitious woman with a promising future. Her brutal death shocks the community and serves as the catalyst for Lucas' determination to solve the case.
  4. Steve Becker: Steve is a potential suspect in Lily's murder. He is portrayed as a troubled individual with a history of violent behavior. Steve's connection to Lily and his suspicious behavior make him a prime suspect in the eyes of Lucas and Del.
  5. Sandy Sanchez: Sandy is the skilled medical examiner who assists Lucas and Del in their investigation. She is depicted as highly competent and dedicated to her work. Sandy's expertise helps uncover crucial clues about the murder and aids in the pursuit of justice.
  6. Weather Karkinnen: Weather is Lucas' wife and a supportive presence in his life. She is described as intelligent, strong-willed, and understanding. Weather provides emotional support to Lucas throughout the investigation, helping him maintain focus and balance.
  7. Michael Bekker: Michael Bekker is the primary antagonist in the story. He is a sadistic and intelligent serial killer who has eluded capture for years. Bekker is highly manipulative and enjoys toying with both his victims and law enforcement. His presence instills a sense of fear and urgency in the narrative.

Character Traits

  • Lucas Davenport: Intelligent, relentless, impulsive, sharp-minded, determined.
  • Del Capslock: Loyal, dependable, methodical, level-headed.
  • Lily Rothenburg: Ambitious, promising, young.
  • Steve Becker: Troubled, violent, suspicious.
  • Sandy Sanchez: Highly competent, dedicated, skilled.
  • Weather Karkinnen: Intelligent, strong-willed, understanding, supportive.
  • Michael Bekker: Sadistic, intelligent, manipulative, feared.

Character Background

  • Lucas Davenport: Lucas comes from a law enforcement background and has a successful track record in solving complex cases. He has a reputation for being a skilled detective and has garnered respect within the police force. His determination to solve the cold case in "Buried Prey" stems from a personal connection to the victim.
  • Del Capslock: Del has a similar background to Lucas and has worked with him for several years. His methodical approach to investigations complements Lucas' more impulsive nature. Del's calm demeanor and attention to detail make him an invaluable asset to the team.
  • Lily Rothenburg: Lily is portrayed as a young woman with a bright future ahead of her. Her murder disrupts the promising life she was building, and her death serves as a reminder of the dark and dangerous aspects of society.
  • Steve Becker: Steve has a troubled past and a history of violent behavior. He becomes a suspect due to his connection to Lily and his suspicious actions following her murder. The investigation into Steve's background reveals a complex and troubled individual.
  • Sandy Sanchez: Sandy is a skilled medical examiner who has worked on numerous homicide cases. Her expertise and dedication to her work make her an essential part of the investigative team. Sandy's background in forensic science provides valuable insights into the evidence collected at crime scenes.
  • Weather Karkinnen: Weather is a successful surgeon and Lucas' wife. Her intelligence and strength of character make her a supportive presence in Lucas' life. Weather's background in the medical field gives her a unique perspective on the criminal investigations Lucas undertakes.
  • Michael Bekker: Bekker is a notorious serial killer who has managed to evade capture for an extended period. His background is shrouded in mystery, and he revels in the fear he instills in both his victims and law enforcement. Bekker's intelligence and sadistic nature make him a formidable adversary for Lucas.

Character Arcs

  • Lucas Davenport: Throughout the book, Lucas experiences a personal and professional journey. His determination to solve the cold case and bring the killer to justice drives him forward. As he delves deeper into the investigation, Lucas confronts his own past and the mistakes he made. This introspection and growth contribute to his character arc.
  • Del Capslock: Del's character arc is centered around his partnership with Lucas. As the investigation progresses, Del learns to trust Lucas' instincts and adapt to his partner's more impulsive approach. Del's steady and measured nature becomes an essential counterbalance to Lucas' impulsiveness, leading to a stronger and more effective partnership.
  • Steve Becker: Steve's character arc revolves around the suspicion cast upon him and his eventual role in the resolution of the case. As the investigation unfolds, Steve's troubled past is revealed, providing insights into his behavior and potential motivations. Steve's character arc challenges the reader's assumptions and adds complexity to the narrative.


  • Lucas and Del: Lucas and Del share a strong professional partnership built on years of working together. They have a deep understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to effectively collaborate. Their relationship evolves throughout the book as they navigate the challenges of the case and learn to trust each other's instincts.
  • Lucas and Weather: Lucas and Weather's relationship provides a sense of stability and support for Lucas throughout the investigation. Weather offers emotional support and acts as a sounding board for Lucas' ideas and frustrations. Their relationship serves as a reminder of the importance of personal connections amidst the darkness of their work.
  • Lucas and Michael Bekker: Lucas and Bekker's relationship is one of cat and mouse. Bekker takes pleasure in taunting Lucas, knowing that he is always one step ahead. Their interactions reveal the deep-seated animosity between them and highlight Lucas' determination to bring Bekker to justice.


In "Buried Prey" by John Sandford, the characters are intricately woven into a complex and suspenseful narrative. Lucas Davenport, the determined detective, leads the investigation into a cold case that hits close to home. Supported by his partner Del Capslock and a cast of compelling characters, Lucas navigates a web of deceit and darkness. Through their character arcs and relationships, the book explores themes of justice, personal growth, and the resilience of the human spirit. Sandford's skillful portrayal of these characters brings depth and authenticity to the story, captivating readers until the final page.