The Reader – Books of Prey

When we last left The Reader, I was busy running through the books of Michael Crichton and John Grisham. The next stage in my burgeoning reading career was something of a twist of fate.

One spring afternoon, my mom was about to take my sister and I to visit my older brother at Texas A&M in College Station. I found myself without a book to read on the trip, and went into a bit of a panic.

I found myself in my parents bedroom searching the drawers of my father’s bed side table for a book to read. What I found would eventually become one of the single more important influences on my reading for many years to come.

Silent Prey is the fourth book in John Sandford’s Prey series. Set in Minneapolis, the Prey novels feature detective Lucas Davenport. Each book features Lucas’ hunt for a killer on the loose in the Twin Cities. It’s probably not the most recommended reading for a teenage boy, but they inevitably became a formative influence on my development.

After starting Silent Prey, I quickly realized it was the fourth in the Prey series. After finishing it, I subsequently read Eyes, Shadow and Rules of Prey, passing them to my father. Once we had caught up, a standard routine of reading books had begun.

My dad would pick up some random book up at the store or airport while traveling for work. Once he finished, he’d pass them to me. When he stumbled upon another series, I would immediately catch us up, broadening our growing library of characters. Lucas Davenport was quickly joined by James Patterson’s Alex Cross and, later, Stuart Woods’ Stone Barrington. All told, we read over sixty books from these three authors alone over the next fifteen years.

Around the same time, I started a summer job at Barnes & Noble. This was both a blessing and curse for this still developing new reader. I got paid to explore an entire bookstore of possibilities, and half a paycheck’s worth of discounted books to buy.

But before I broadened by horizons too much, I received an unexpected invitation to a “game”, and met a certain young wizard.


The Reader – Welcome to Jurassic Park

In the summer of ‘93, four words changed my life. Welcome to Jurassic Park . . .

I was just returning from The Summit and my high school choir’s annual performance at our graduation ceremony. As we were picking up our things to go home, I noticed one of my classmates holding a book by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park.

“Wait, Jurassic Park is a book?!” Like many teenage boys, I was excited about summer’s most anticipated blockbuster, Jurassic Park, but I had no idea it was based on an actual book.

At the end of my sophomore year in high school, my reading was limted to the required English class reading and textbooks. I was most definitely not what you would call an avid reader.

There’s early in the movie where they feed the velociraptors.

That poor cow in the video was Jurassic Park the book in my hungry hands. I tore threw it like a raptor, and started grabbing every Michael Crichton book I could get my hands on. Congo, Sphere, Terminal Man, Eaters of the Dead, I read them all. It also didn’t hurt Crichton had another book, Rising Sun, coming to theaters that summer too.

While Michael Crichton got the rivers to run, it was another author hitting the silver screen that same summer that broke the dam. John Grisham was taking over theaters himself with The Firm and Pelican Brief, starring Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.

My dad marvels about it to this day. Something broke loose inside me, and my life changed forever. However, there were only so many Crichton and Grisham books available. Once those ran out, this hunter had to find a new source of Prey.