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The Fool's Run (Kidd) Paperback – December 1, 1996

160 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Making his fiction debut under his own name--he used the pseudonym John Sandford for his detective novel Rules of Prey , published in July by Putnam--Camp offers a different brand of intrigue, with a multitalented hero as narrator. Artist, cat lover, student of karate and the tarot and freelance computer criminal, Kidd is jack of varied-enough trades to stoke many future adventures. In this one, he's hired by a dying tycoon to befoul the elaborate information systems of a rival aerospace outfit, ostensibly to avenge the company's theft of plans for an innovative defense design. With an attractive burglar as his sidekick, Kidd creates mayhem by stealing information, gathering dirt on the company's employees and implanting "viruses" (information-destroying programs) in their computers, but the real enemy turns out to have a different identity. The author's brisk style makes even the welter of technical information that he provides interesting, and the novel's climax is witty and almost cinematic. Whether as Camp or Sandford, he's a welcome addition to the ranks of suspense novelists. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kidd, a computer-whiz-for-hire, accepts a risky, high-paying assignment to sabotage an aerospace corporation's computer system. A rival firm wants him to stall the company, which had gained unfair advantage by stealing secret plans for a missile-targeting device. Kidd sets to the task by enlisting a beguiling cat burglar, an unscrupulous journalist, and a mystery accomplice who can only be contacted by telephone for great stores of confidential electronic data. Thus, they are able to steal codes, con information, and buy downloads to advance their purpose. A double-cross and murder enliven the final third of the story, but the set up plods too slowly to hold readers' attention until the action starts. Public libraries should buy if marketing hype stirs demand. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/89; as John Sandford, Camp is also the author of Rules of Prey, LJ 7/89.
- Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kidd (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425155722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425155721
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Sandford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master's degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He's also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archaeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at www.rehov.org. In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Chance on February 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Don't be confused, but this the 1st book in the series although it appears to have been published after the "Empress File" (at least under the name John Sandford, it was originally published under the author's real name, John Camp). Also, the book jacket I read made it sound like this was the return of the main characters (Kidd and LuEllen) but it is not. This is the book where they first work together. With all that said, this book is good but not as good as some other Sandford novels I have enjoyed. I am a computer nerd of sorts myself, so I found the books plot (computer hacking/industrial warfare) interesting. The scenes centered around LuEllen's skills at B & E are good too. The story includes some clever elements and plot twists that always make for a fun read. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it as a precursor to reading the better novel, "Empress File."
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Todd P. Last on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While not up to the excellence of his later novels, "Fools Run" is still an great book and entertaining read.
Fast-paced, fun, and full of suspense.
You have to suspend belief somewhat as it is easy for the reader to guess what is going to happen to the characters in the book early on - but in a way this adds to the suspense of the book as you keep wanting the characters to wake up and catch on to what seems obvious to the reader.
This book has a bit of a nostalgic touch to it, as many of the compter terms and equipment talked about in the book are out of date.
If you like this, you should see his book "Empress File"
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on September 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Apparently, The Fool's Run is the first of the LuEllen-Kidd novels. Thankfully, I read The Empress File first, as it is a far better book. Had I read The Fool's Run first, I'm afraid I would have been left with a poor impression of the characters, especially LuEllen who was an interesting, exciting character in The Empress File but was merely a cocaine-snorting burglar in this installment. In addition, The Empress File characterized LuEllen and Kidd as essentially moral in what they did. Sure, they were criminals but they were doing what they did for the right reasons. In The Fool's Run, that's not so clear and causes them to be somewhat less redeemable.
All-in-all, this might be the least engaging Sandford novel I've read thus far. It is, however, entertaining enough to keep the pages turning.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I do not share the disappointment expressed by some of the earlier reviewers, perhaps because I do not read many novels and this was my first exposure to John Sandford. In any event, I found this "airplane book" so interesting that I made time to finish it once I got home.
The integration of several sub-plots, the detailed portrait painted of the primary character, the ins and outs of planning the destruction of a corporation, and the final surprise ending, very much an "out of the box" solution for an impossible situation, gave me great satisfaction, to the point that this author joins Robin Cook, Dick Francis, and Michael Creichton as a trusted provider of light entertainment.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Gitlits on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Sandford is most known for his "Prey" series, which mostly deals with serial killers. This is a VERY different kind of novel.

Basically, it's a caper. A corporation hires main characters to hack into computers of their rivals. Not to steal information, but as a revenge for using stolen designs. Of course, it's not that simple, but you get the idea.
This novel was first published in 1989 and it aged rather well. Many thrillers that utilized technology in 80s-90s are nearly impossible to read today, because they tend to explain such things as 'modem' and 'e-mail' to, presumably, ignorant readers.
Sandford doesn't. He gives enough of explanation to satisfy people with minimum computer knowledge, but doesn't tend to explain everything.

This is not a book that leaves you breathless, it's just a fun read with sympathetic characters.
I think it's perfect for a train ride or a plane flight. I'll definetly read other Kidd novels (The Empress File and The Devil Code), but, how should I put it, they are not very high on my list.
If this was a new book - I would have given it 3 stars. But it gets extra star for being still readable after more than 10 years. Most thrillers that deal with technology become annoying in 5.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Old Fisherman on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kidd is a computer whiz. He's hired by the wealthy Anshiser defense group to destroy a business rival by disrupting the rival's internal computer processes. Kidd recruits LuEllen, burglar par excellenc, and Dace, former investigative reporter to help. Kidd is also helped by the mysterious Bobby who can hack into almost any mainframe. Kidd does his job well and the rival business is on the ropes. But someone takes out Dace and tries to terminate both Kidd and LuEllen. But who's behind the trigger? Is it the destroyed company, the governrment, or perhaps even the Anshiser group itself?
This book was written by John Camp (real name of John Sandford) before he branched out to the Prey series. As such its computer technology is dated but the story itself is still entertaining. Kidd and LuEllen are interesting characters and Mr. Sandford is a good writer. The book does gloss over certain areas of how Kidd actually does cause the computer systems to fail but that's only a minor quibble. All in all I found the book entertaining. If you like Mr. Sandford's Prey series I think you'll like this book too.
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