John Sandford (novelist)

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John Sandford
John Roswell Camp

(1944-02-23) February 23, 1944 (age 78)
Alma materUniversity of Iowa
OccupationJournalist, novelist
Notable workGathering Prey
AwardsPulitzer Prize

John Sandford, real name John Roswell Camp (born February 23, 1944), is an American New York Times best-selling author, novelist, a former journalist and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Camp was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Anne Agnes (Barron) and Roswell Sandford Camp.[4][5] His mother's family was German and Lithuanian.[6] He received a bachelor's degree in American history and literature[7] and a master's in journalism, both from the University of Iowa.[8]

From 1971 to 1978, Camp wrote for The Miami Herald. In 1978, he moved to Minneapolis and started writing for The Saint Paul Pioneer Press as a features reporter; in 1980 he became a daily columnist. That year, he was a Pulitzer finalist for a series of stories on Native American culture.[9] In 1985, during the Midwest farm crisis, he wrote a series entitled "Life on the Land: an American farm family," which followed a typical southwest Minnesota farm family through the course of a full year. For that work, he won the annual Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing[9] and the American Society of Newspaper Editors award for Non-Deadline Feature Writing. He worked part-time at the Pioneer Press in 1989[10] and left the next year.

Camp is an avid fiction reader himself. When asked in 2018 "What's your favorite book of all time?" by the New York Times, he responded, "An impossible question. If you put a gun to my head—say a .40-caliber Walther PPQ, or maybe a .45 ACP Colt Gold Cup—I'd say The Once and Future King, by T. H. White."[11] Both weapons he mentioned make appearances in many of his novels.

Camp is a personal friend and hunting companion of fellow Minnesota author Chuck Logan.[12]

Fiction writer[edit]

In 1989, Camp wrote two novels that would each spawn a popular series. The Fool's Run (Kidd series) was published under his own name, but the publisher asked him to provide a pseudonym for Rules of Prey ("Prey" series), so it was published under the name John Sandford. After the "Prey" series proved to be more popular, with its charismatic protagonist Lucas Davenport, The Fool's Run and all of its sequels were published under John Sandford.

In 2007, Camp started a third series (also under the name John Sandford), featuring Virgil Flowers, who is a supporting character in some of the "Prey" novels, including Invisible Prey and Storm Prey.


Prey series[edit]

Lucas Davenport is the protagonist of the "Prey" series. In the first three novels, he is a maverick detective with the Minneapolis Police Department. At the end of Eyes of Prey, he's forced to resign to avoid excessive force charges, partly due to his knowledge of the connection of a senior police officer to that case. He returns in Night Prey as a deputy chief (a political appointment), running his own intelligence unit. Beginning with Naked Prey, Davenport is an investigator for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), acting occasionally as a special troubleshooter for the governor of Minnesota in politically sensitive cases. He serves in that capacity through Gathering Prey, at the end of which he quits working for the BCA, later becoming a United States marshal.

The novel Mind Prey was sold for a TV movie, and Davenport was portrayed by Eriq LaSalle. Another of the novels, Certain Prey, was adapted into a movie in 2011 by USA Network starring Mark Harmon as Davenport.

  1. Rules of Prey (1989) ISBN 0-399-13465-4
  2. Shadow Prey (1990) ISBN 0-399-13543-X
  3. Eyes of Prey (1991) ISBN 0-399-13629-0
  4. Silent Prey (1992) ISBN 0-399-13742-4
  5. Winter Prey (1993) ISBN 0-399-13815-3
  6. Night Prey (1994) ISBN 0-399-13914-1
  7. Mind Prey (1995) ISBN 0-399-14009-3
  8. Sudden Prey (1996) ISBN 0-399-14138-3
  9. Secret Prey (1998) ISBN 0-399-14382-3
  10. Certain Prey (1999) ISBN 0-399-14496-X
  11. Easy Prey (2000) ISBN 0-399-14613-X
  12. Chosen Prey (2001) ISBN 0-399-14728-4
  13. Mortal Prey (2002) ISBN 0-399-14863-9
  14. Naked Prey (2003) ISBN 0-399-15043-9
  15. Hidden Prey (2004) ISBN 0-399-15180-X
  16. Broken Prey (2005) ISBN 0-399-15272-5
  17. Invisible Prey (2007) ISBN 978-0-399-15421-8
  18. Phantom Prey (2008) ISBN 978-0-399-15500-0
  19. Wicked Prey (2009) ISBN 0-399-15567-8
  20. Storm Prey (2010) ISBN 0-399-15649-6[13]
  21. Buried Prey (2011) ISBN 0-399-15738-7
  22. Stolen Prey (2012) ISBN 0-399-15768-9
  23. Silken Prey (2013) ISBN 0-399-15931-2
  24. Field of Prey (2014) ISBN 0-399-16238-0
  25. Gathering Prey (2015) ISBN 0-399-16879-6
  26. Extreme Prey (2016) ISBN 978-0-399-17605-0
  27. Golden Prey (April 25, 2017) ISBN 0-399-18457-0
  28. Twisted Prey (April 24, 2018) ISBN 0-73521735-1
  29. Neon Prey (April 23, 2019) ISBN 978-0525536581
  30. Masked Prey (April 14, 2020) ISBN 978-0525539520
  31. Ocean Prey (April 13, 2021) ISBN 978-0593087022
  32. Righteous Prey (October 4, 2022) ISBN 978-0593422472

Kidd series[edit]

  1. The Fool's Run (1989), by John Camp; reissued 1996 as by Sandford ISBN 0-8050-0990-6
  2. The Empress File (1991), by John Camp; reissued 1995 as by Sandford ISBN 0-8050-1545-0
  3. The Devil's Code (2000) ISBN 0-399-14650-4
  4. The Hanged Man's Song (2003) ISBN 0-399-15139-7

Kidd also has a prominent role in Silken Prey and Extreme Prey.

Virgil Flowers series[edit]

The protagonist of the series, Virgil Flowers, is described as tall, lean, late thirties, three times divorced, with long hair and often wears t-shirts featuring rock bands. Virgil works at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Prior to the BCA he was in the Army and the military police, then the police in Saint Paul. Lucas Davenport, main character of the Prey series of books, recruited him into the BCA. Virgil is an avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, and is often towing his boat, even when on duty. He is also a writer for outdoor and hunting magazines, as well as a photographer.

  1. Dark of the Moon (2007)
  2. Heat Lightning (2008)
  3. Rough Country (2009)
  4. Bad Blood (2010)
  5. Shock Wave (2011)
  6. Mad River (2012)
  7. Storm Front (2013)
  8. Deadline (2014)
  9. Escape Clause (2016)
  10. Deep Freeze (October 17, 2017)
  11. Holy Ghost (October 2018)
  12. Bloody Genius (2019)

Virgil Flowers also has a prominent role in Ocean Prey and Righteous Prey.

Singular Menace series (with Michele Cook)[edit]

  1. Uncaged (2014) ISBN 0-385-75306-3
  2. Outrage (2015) ISBN 0-385-75309-8
  3. Rampage (2016) ISBN 0-385-75313-6

Other fiction books[edit]

Short stories[edit]

  • "Lucy Had a List." Published in Murder in the Rough: Original Tales of Bad Shots, Terrible Lies, and Other Deadly Handicaps from Today's Great Writers (2006), a short story anthology by notable authors, the fourth title in the sports mystery series edited by Otto Penzler. ISBN 0-89296-017-5

Nonfiction books[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1986, Pulitzer Prize for Feature. Series of articles on Farming Family. Pioneer Press Dispatch

1986 Distinguished Writing Award. American Society of Newspaper Editors.

1980, Pulitzer Prize Nomination. Series of articles on Native Americans. St Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch[2]


  1. ^ "John Sandford ruminates on literary success story". Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved 2017-04-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b "Camp, John 1944– |". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ "John Sandford | Penguin Random House". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  4. ^ "Camp, John 1944–".
  5. ^ "Anne B. Camp". Chippewa Herald. 1 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Mocavo and Findmypast are coming together -".[dead link]
  7. ^ "John Sandford: By the Book". The New York Times. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  8. ^ [1] Archived September 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b "The Pulitzer Prizes | Feature Writing". Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  10. ^ "Capturing His Prey". Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  11. ^ "John Sandford: By the Book". The New York Times. The New York Times. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Hunting 'Prey' On The Streets Of St. Paul, Minn". National Public Radio. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Book review of John Sandford's "Storm Prey"". 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2013-11-18.

External links[edit]