Author(s): John Sandford
Series: Kidd & LuEllen #3
Published by Berkley on 10/01/2001
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When Kidd—artist, computer whiz, and professional criminal—learns of a colleague’s murder, he doesn’t buy the official story: that a jittery security guard caught the hacker raiding the files of a high-tech Texas corporation. It’s not what his friend was looking for that got him killed. It’s what he already knew. For Kidd and LuEllen, infiltrating the firm is the first move. Discovering the secrets of its devious entrepreneur is the next. But it’s more than a secret—it’s a conspiracy. And it’s landed Kidd and LuEllen in the cross-hairs of an unknown assassin hell bent on conning the life out of the ultimate con artists…
I was happy that Sandford revisited the Kidd series even after seeing success in his Prey novels. Kidd isn’t the normal type of hero you see in these books and that is what I like about it. With a criminal for a main character, a group of hacker as backup, and a cocaine addicted love interested, Sandford is able to come at the thriller in a unique angle we don’t get from a lot of other books of the genre.
The story itself isn’t overly unique, but it is well done. Evil company CEO has pulled the wool over the US governments’ eyes and is using the technology he sold them to his own end. To keep his activities from being noticed, he frames Kidd and his cohorts and sic’s the government on them as a distraction. We’ve all seen this plot before. Where the story takes a twist is that Kidd isn’t an innocent tagged with a trumped up crime but rather a criminal accused of a different crime then he actually committed. That allows some additional tension in the story we wouldn’t get in the standard ‘good guy framed by bad guy’ thriller.
The one thing I have always liked about the Kidd novels was the main characters. Both how they deal with the outside world and how Kidd and LuEllen interact with each other. That relationship continues to be entertaining in this book and continues to develop. The only real drawback is that, unless you have read all the Kidd books, their character development might seem a bit shallow. The story itself might not need the previous books to understand, but you definitely need them to get the full effect of the character development.
The one real knock I have against this book is it loses some of the ‘fun’ of the Prey or Flowers series. I am not sure if it is because the characters are on the other side of the law, or just their personalities, but I found it harder to connect with them now that I have read some of Sandford’s other works. If I was to read this book without having read the Prey series, it would have qualified as a solid 4 stars. Sadly, my expectations for Sandford based on his other works drops Devi’s Code down a step.
Review by Travis Starnes