Monday, November 07, 2011


I've been a fan of John Sandford since The Empress File, written under his real name, John Camp. I read the first three Prey books and liked them, but didn't feel the need to read the rest of the series. That said, as I'm also a fan of Mark Harmon, I was looking forward to USA Network's movie of Certain Prey, the tenth Lucas Davenport novel.

A Saturday search of IMDb showed the movie was co-produced by Michael Jaffe and Howard Braunstein. This news was a mixed bag to me. Jaffe and Braunstein produced A&E's Nero Wolfe starring Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin, which I liked, but they also produced A&E's Spenser movies starring Joe Mantegna, which I liked only while in denial.

I didn't expect these projects to have much in common, but I found Certain Prey very mannered and talky. In the Wolfe series, I wrote the mannered dialogue off to Archie Goodwin's wit and the period. In the Spenser movies, I wrote it off to Parker's way with patter. I don't recall the Prey books as talky. The movie characters addressed each other by name multiple times in the same conversation, even when they talked one-on-one. Who but the most stilted characters do that?

The movie also suffered from the convention in serial killer books to reveal the killer early on. Again, the later Spenser books were like this. Spenser identified the villain early, and they danced around each other until Parker reached page 300 or so.

All these things combined to put me to sleep halfway through. I hope to comment on the whole movie when I get a chance to see it again, but there's something to be said for its not holding my interest the first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in the movie "Certain Prey." I found the characters flat and dislikeable. The only character that had a "spark" of morality was the "hitwoman" which is not saying much. Maybe if I knew the background of the characters i would understand why they were cocky, antisocial, etc... However, ,the movie did not provide any background and unfortunately I did not enjoy them enough to care about their histories or their futures. Guess I won't be watching any future "Prey" movies.