Easy Prey Characters
by John Sandford

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Easy Prey Characters

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As his is the viewpoint shared by the reader, Lucas Davenport feels realistic. The reader sees what he sees, hears what he hears, follows his efforts, and so he seems like a round character, one which has been well developed. On closer examination, Davenport is flat in certain areas: in this novel he does little thinking or self-examination, and it stands out. He is supposed to be a very smart man, a computer game entrepreneur and crack detective, and yet he often behaves more like a reactionary animal than a logical detective. On crimes, the reasoning given for his lack of reflection is that he lets his subconscious do the work and follows his hunches. As he does not usually make large leaps, this explanation is palatable. However, Easy Prey also focuses to a great extent on Davenport's romantic relationships, and here his lack of cognition is shocking. Davenport often puts aside his work to dwell on the women in his life, yet spends little time thinking. In this area, he appears immature and unintelligent, always focusing only on women's appearances, never on their personalities. When he gives his longest speech of the novel, offering advice to his ex-girlfriend Catrin on her marriage, he shows that he is capable of deep thought regarding relationships, which makes it all the more puzzling that he practices so little on his own. The novel highlights the fact that he has little control over his libido. He does not prioritize pursuing a healthy, long-term relationship over jumping into bed with whatever attractive woman offers, whether she be a drug-using, recent incest practicer who is only interested in casual sex, or whether she be a married woman. Since Davenport's thoughts are consistently shared with the reader, the lack of thought in this area is striking and creates an inconsistency in the supposed intelligence of the character.

Mirroring the main social concerns of the novel, after sex, Davenport's character is most involved with violence. In this area, there is some interesting character development, not so much within this novel as between books. In prior books, Davenport often displayed a violent streak, lashing out physically when he was frustrated or angry. In Easy Prey , Davenport finally seems in control. When his good friend Sherrill is shot, rather than seek vengeance, Davenport coolly explains to another police officer that it is a danger of the job. He pours his energy into caring for...

(The entire section is 615 words.)