Are you struggling to find a new suspenseful crime thriller to sink your teeth into?

It can be overwhelming to choose from the countless options on the market but fear not. John Sandford's novels are the solution to your problems.

With gripping plots, complex characters, and heart-pumping action, his books are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Say goodbye to the frustration of searching for your next engrossing read and dive into any one of Sandford's best-selling novels today.

Just a heads up, Reading Rhapsody could make money from sales or other compensation through any of the links on this page if you purchase something – that’s how I keep afloat! My reviews have been tweaked to ensure they are both concise and clear. Nevertheless, all opinions in this article are my own. Now go ahead and begin your journey to find your next favorite read!


John Sandford, born February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is an American author and journalist known for his popular character, Lucas Davenport. John Sandford is a journalist who worked for The Miami Herald and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986. He has written over 40 novels, starting with his first one, Rules of Prey, in 1989. Sandford is active in his community and serves on the board of the Minnesota Crime Wave Writers Group, as well as supporting schools and libraries in his hometown of Cedar Rapids.

Importance of his works

John Sandford's works are essential due to his exceptional ability to create immersive plots, vivid settings, and unforgettable characters. He is a master of the crime thriller genre, with his debut novel, Rules of Prey, establishing him as a household name. His stories often feature the Midwest and Minnesota, where he resides, and create a strong sense of place. The beloved character of Lucas Davenport adds depth and complexity to the storylines, and Sandford's works are a perfect escape from everyday life. His novels have captivated readers for over three decades, and John Sandford is simply an author that shouldn't be missed.

How I Choose

When I chose each book for this list, I relied on reviews and ratings from reputable sources. I also looked for books that were well-written, had strong character development, and had engaging plots. I wanted to make sure that each book was a solid representation of John Sandford's work and would be enjoyable for readers.

Top 5 best John Sandford books

Why I Love It

I absolutely love the book "Rules of Prey". The thrilling plot kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The main character, Lucas Davenport, is a complex and compelling protagonist who I couldn't get enough of. The book's pacing is fantastic; it never drags or becomes dull. What I appreciate most about the novel is the way Sanford's writing style is both emotional and descriptive. He paints vivid pictures with his words, making the scenes come to life in my mind. Overall, "Rules of Prey" is a thrilling page-turner that I would highly recommend to any fan of the crime fiction genre.

What You Should Know

"Rules of Prey" is the first novel in John Sandford's "Prey" series, published in 1989. The book introduces readers to the character Lucas Davenport, a maverick detective working for the Minneapolis Police Department. The plot of the novel revolves around Davenport's pursuit and capture of a serial killer named "The Maddog." The book is known for its graphic violence, but also for its well-developed characters and fast-paced plot. "Rules of Prey" was a bestseller and It is now considered a classic in the crime fiction genre.

Why I Love It

I loved "Shadow Prey" for many reasons. The book follows Lucas Davenport as he tracks down a serial killer who is targeting Native American victims on their reservation. The setting and culture of the reservation were intriguing and added another layer to the story. Additionally, the killer's identity was kept hidden, making for an exciting mystery. The book's pacing, gripping storyline, and well-developed characters kept me thoroughly engaged until the end. Lastly, I appreciate how Sandford addresses significant social issues such as race and police corruption within the novel.

What You Should Know

"Shadow Prey" is the second book in John Sandford's "Prey" series, published in 1990. The novel follows Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport as he investigates a string of gruesome murders taking place on a Native American reservation. Throughout the book, Sandford tackles social issues, such as racial tension and police corruption. The book features a complex storyline with carefully crafted characters and a vivid setting. The novel received positive critical acclaim, received the Minnesota Book Award for best genre fiction, and spent several weeks on the bestseller lists.

Why I Love It

This exciting crime thriller had me hooked from the very beginning with its intense opening scene where Michael Bekker escapes from jail on the day of his jury's deliberation. The book's action-packed scenes and intelligent use of foreshadowing kept me engaged throughout. From the Robin Hood killings to the mind games played by Bekker, "Silent Prey" is a thrilling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

What You Should Know

For the readers who enjoy John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series, "Silent Prey" is a must-read. A dark and suspenseful story begins with the escape of Michael Bekker during his trial, followed by a series of unsettling murders. The situation gets more complicated with the inclusion of Bekker's gruesome experiments and his scholarly papers relating to death. Davenport, now devoting his time to a different business, receives a call for help from Lily Rothenberg, who asks him to help track down Bekker in New York. Along with the NYPD, they must tackle not only finding Bekker but also deal with a group of renegade cops who are responsible for a string of murders. John Sandford takes his readers on a thrilling journey that will keep them at the edge of their seats throughout.

Why I Love It

I absolutely love the book "Mind Prey" by John Sandford. What drew me to this book initially was the plot, which centers around a terrifyingly brilliant and calculating kidnapper who takes a family hostage. The relationships between the characters are nuanced and believable, and their emotions are raw and palpable. Sandford is a master at building tension and creating a sense of unease that lingers long after the book is finished. What is intriguing about this book is also delves into the darker side of humanity, with themes of obsession and kidnapping. It's intense, but also thought-provoking

What You Should Know

If you're considering reading "Mind Prey" by John Sandford, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, this is a thrilling and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story revolves around Andi Manette, a psychologist, and her two daughters. They're kidnapped by a man named John Mail, who has an obsession with Andi. As the case gains more media attention, Lucas Davenport is called in to investigate. The characters are complex and well-developed, with their own unique motivations and flaws. The novel is set in Minneapolis, and Sandford does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere and culture of the city. Additionally, the novel raises thought-provoking questions about justice and morality and will leave readers thinking long after the final page.

Why I Love It

This book was the perfect blend of action, tension, and character development. What I find most striking about this book is the intense emotion it brings out in the reader. From the very first scene where Candy goes down in a shoot-out, you can feel the terror and desperation that drives Davenport and his team to catch her accomplices. And when the killings begin, you can almost feel the fear and anger that Davenport experiences as he races against time to prevent further tragedy.

But what sets this book apart is the way that Sandford masterfully weaves together the personal and professional aspects of Davenport's life. His reactions to the murders are not simply that of a detective on a case, but of a man who cares deeply for his colleagues and family. This adds a whole new layer of complexity and makes the story even more gut-wrenching.

What You Should Know

The story is centered around a bank robbery gone wrong, and the hostages who are caught in the crossfire. Lucas Davenport's team tracks down a violent woman bank robber named Candy. When she dies in a shoot-out, her husband swears revenge and begins targeting the loved ones of those responsible. The tension builds as they race against time to catch the killers before they strike again. With twists and turns at every corner, this crime thriller is a must-read for John Sandford fans and lovers of the genre.

The right book for you!

In conclusion, the best John Sandford books promise readers thrilling and suspenseful murder investigations that will keep them at the edge of their seats from beginning to end. The author, John Roswell Camp, who writes under the pen name John Sandford, has produced an impressive body of work that includes both standalone novels and books that are part of a series.

From the dark and brooding "Prey" series to the fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled "Virgil Flowers" books, Sandford has proven time and again that he is a master of the genre. Fans cannot get enough of his compelling characters like Letty Davenport, city attorney John Camp, and the renowned investigator Lucas Davenport. His series, which includes "Hidden Prey" and "Masked Prey," has garnered global recognition as two of the most recommended on best book lists around.

Sandford's skills extend further than fiction, he also writes excellent non-fiction books; he wrote about American history and offered powerful insights. Rendering realistic portrayals of people, and situations, this author will enthrall readers, whether his stories involve elderly women or farm families any audience searching for a gripping, thrilling read will enjoy.

The writer's rhythmic narratives and well-developed characters, working alongside his masterful storytelling, have placed him among the ranks of esteemed writers like Lincoln Rhyme and John Stuart Ingle. It is a matter of time before each reader is captivated by his excellent works, and one is sure to find the perfect stand-alone novel or series that will keep them engaged in real-time.

Happy Reading!