Buried Prey
Goodreads ratings
4.25 / 5

"Buried Prey" Summary

By John Sandford

mystery | 390 pages | Published in 2011

ISBN_13: 9780399157387

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A detective uncovers a decades-old secret while investigating a series of cold cases in his hometown.


In "Buried Prey" by John Sandford, readers are taken on a thrilling journey through the dark and twisted mind of a serial killer. This gripping crime thriller is the 21st installment in the popular Prey series, featuring the iconic protagonist, Lucas Davenport. With its fast-paced plot, complex characters, and chilling suspense, "Buried Prey" is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Brief Synopsis

"Buried Prey" is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Lucas Davenport works as a detective for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The story alternates between the present day and events that occurred in the 1980s.

In the present day, Lucas is shaken when a construction crew uncovers the bodies of two young girls who went missing in 1985. As Lucas delves into the case, he realizes that the killer may still be at large, and he is determined to bring justice to the victims and their families.

The flashback scenes provide a glimpse into Lucas's early career and the investigation surrounding the disappearance of the girls. As he revisits the past, Lucas uncovers shocking secrets and realizes that there may have been a cover-up to protect powerful individuals.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Lucas DavenportThe protagonist, a skilled detective with a sharp mind and relentless determination.
Del CapslockLucas's partner and a loyal friend who assists him in solving the case.
Weather KarkinnenLucas's wife, a surgeon who provides emotional support throughout the investigation.
Sandy DarlingOne of the victims' mothers, seeking closure and justice for her daughter's death.
Michael DurantA former cop who was involved in the original investigation and holds key information.

Summary of Different Story Points

Flashback to the 1980s

In the flashback scenes, Lucas recalls the initial investigation into the disappearance of two young girls, Rachel and Ginny, in 1985. As Lucas and his partner, Del Capslock, dig deeper, they uncover a possible suspect, Carl Stenbeck, who was a prominent businessman at the time. However, due to lack of evidence, Stenbeck was never charged. The case went cold, and Lucas was haunted by his failure to bring justice to the victims.

Present Day: Unearthing the Past

The main events of "Buried Prey" unfold when the construction crew discovers the bodies of Rachel and Ginny. Lucas is determined to finally solve the case, despite facing resistance from powerful individuals who want the truth to remain buried. As he reopens the investigation, Lucas uncovers a web of corruption and deceit that reaches high levels of authority.

The Pursuit of Justice

Lucas and Del's relentless pursuit of justice leads them to question former police officers and dig into the dark secrets of the past. They discover that the original investigation was compromised, with evidence tampered and witnesses silenced. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous the case becomes, as the killer realizes his past crimes may be exposed.

Confronting the Killer

As Lucas gets closer to uncovering the truth, he becomes the target of the killer's wrath. The climax of the story occurs when Lucas confronts the killer in a tense and thrilling showdown. With lives on the line, Lucas must rely on his instincts and skills to survive and bring the killer to justice.

Themes and Insights

Justice and Redemption

"Buried Prey" explores the theme of justice and redemption. Lucas's relentless pursuit of justice for the victims reflects his deep sense of responsibility and guilt for failing to solve the case in the past. Through his determination, Lucas seeks redemption for his past mistakes and closure for the victims' families.

Corruption and Power

The novel delves into the theme of corruption and power, highlighting how influential individuals can manipulate the justice system for their own gain. The cover-up surrounding the case and the lengths some people go to protect their secrets reveal the dark underbelly of power and the consequences it has on justice.

The Impact of the Past

"Buried Prey" explores how the past can haunt and shape the present. Lucas's unresolved guilt and the reopening of the case force him to confront his past failures. The events of the past have a ripple effect that impacts not only Lucas but also the lives of the victims' families and the community.

Reader's Takeaway

"Buried Prey" is a captivating crime thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. John Sandford's masterful storytelling and intricately woven plot make this book a page-turner from start to finish. With its complex characters, suspenseful twists, and exploration of themes, "Buried Prey" is a thought-provoking read that will leave readers contemplating the nature of justice and the haunting power of the past.


"Buried Prey" by John Sandford is a gripping crime thriller that takes readers on a thrilling journey through the dark underbelly of a cold case. With its complex characters, suspenseful plot, and exploration of themes, this book will satisfy fans of the genre. Sandford's skillful storytelling and attention to detail make "Buried Prey" a must-read for anyone looking for a thrilling and thought-provoking crime novel.

Buried Prey FAQ

  1. Who is the author of Buried Prey?

    The author of Buried Prey is John Sandford.

  2. What is the genre of Buried Prey?

    Buried Prey is a crime fiction novel.

  3. When was Buried Prey published?

    Buried Prey was published on May 10, 2011.

  4. Is Buried Prey part of a series?

    Yes, Buried Prey is the 21st book in the 'Prey' series by John Sandford.

  5. What is the main plot of Buried Prey?

    Buried Prey follows the protagonist, Lucas Davenport, as he investigates a case involving the disappearance of two girls in 1985 and the subsequent discovery of their bodies years later.

  6. Are there any recurring characters in Buried Prey?

    Yes, Lucas Davenport is a recurring character in the 'Prey' series and plays a central role in Buried Prey.

  7. Where is Buried Prey set?

    Buried Prey is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  8. Is Buried Prey a standalone novel or should I read the previous books in the series?

    While Buried Prey can be enjoyed as a standalone novel, it is recommended to read the previous books in the 'Prey' series to fully understand the character development and ongoing storylines.

  9. What are some other books in the 'Prey' series?

    Some other books in the 'Prey' series include 'Rules of Prey', 'Shadow Prey', 'Silent Prey', 'Hidden Prey', and 'Stolen Prey', among others.

  10. Is Buried Prey suitable for young readers?

    Buried Prey is intended for adult readers due to its mature themes and content.