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The Devil's Code by John Sandford

The Devil's Code (original 2000; edition 2000)

by John Sandford

Series: Thomas Kidd (3)

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1,3311410,642 (3.6)15
Ex-soldier Kidd and his sometimes lover, LuEllen, are on the run when a colleague disappears and Kidd suddenly finds himself the subject of a national manhunt.
Title:The Devil's Code
Authors:John Sandford
Info:Putnam Adult (2000), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:adult fiction

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The Devil's Code by John Sandford (2000)


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English (13)  Dutch (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
”The Devil’s Code,” the third entry in John Sandford’s series featuring Joe Kidd and LuEllen, is the most enjoyable so far. Kidd is an artist, hacker and con man and LuEllen is a burglar and con artist. Together they hack, burgle, and con various and sundry shady characters for fun, profit, and revenge. The action usually leads them into danger and dead bodies pile up.

Devil is superior both in plotting and character development to “The Fool’s Run” and “The Empress File,” the previous entries in this series. A hacker is murdered and his sister seeks Kidd’s help in finding the murderer. Kidd quickly turns up a message from the murdered hacker identifying the likely culprits and asking for Kidd’s help. LuEllen joins Kidd, the mysterious Bobby is a never ending source of intel, and John Smith, introduced in “Empress,” provides assistance.

Despite the steady improvements in this series, “Devil” suffers from several shortcomings. One is Sandford’s practice in this series of the “rolling” resolution. In “Devil” the penultimate resolution involves Kidd in not one but two shoot-outs. One would have been quite enough, thank you, if anyone involved in the shootout could shoot straight. It’s not as if there was any genuine suspense and Sandford had us wondering if Kidd were going to be Killed. So shoot the damn bad guy and get it over with.

Another weakness is the Bobby character, which is essentially a literary “cheat.” Whenever Kidd needs critical information, securing resources, making travel arrangements, or finding someone to provide assistance, all he has to do is call Bobby and viola, the needed assistance materializes. That is okay occasionally but Sandford needs to work harder at crafting imaginative solutions instead of continually resolving all of the plot difficulties with a call to Bobby.

Finally, the book ends on a weak and not particularly believable note. What started out as a murder mystery morphs into political moralizing in which the government is portrayed as the bad guys and the burglers/hackers/con artists are the patriotic heroes who are protecting our freedom. Jullian Assange and Edward Snowden will love the ending but it’s a sad literary “cheat.” What a shame to end a solid book with such a weak, contrived ending. ( )
  Tatoosh | May 25, 2017 |
Now this is more like it. In the first novel featuring Kidd, The Fool’s Run, the computer hacker was hired to illegally retrieve losses to industrial espionage. After the twist and turns and betrayals, we get to see the villain outfoxed and forced to watch everything gained through treachery taken away; and there is a satisfaction when the final defeat is conceded. The second Kidd novel, which involved wresting power from a corrupt Delta town, ends in a physical confrontation with one of the demented villains. It fulfilled the thriller aspect of the story but there was something lacking. When the protagonist’s primary skill is manipulation--even if it is mainly the manipulation of data--there simply needs to be more to the victory.

The Devil’s Code gives us the best of both. When a fellow hacker dies under suspicious circumstances, his sister brings Kidd a coded, pre-death message. Before he can even make plans to proceed Kidd discovers the government is interested in a radical hacker group called Firewall--and he, under his hacker name, is listed as a member. He knows some of the other names listed, has heard of some others, but they are not an organization. Kidd and his friends have to uncover the truth before the government runs them to ground.

LuEllen, Kidd’s friend and occasional lover, returns to help and her skills as a professional thief again compliment his as a computer genius. Better, Sandford arranges an ending that gives us the final battle befitting a thriller but leaves a lingering enemy for a checkmate. This time out, satisfaction delivered. ( )
  JohnWCuluris | Jul 10, 2016 |
Before Lucas Davenport and the brilliant Prey novels, there was Kidd-artist, computer whiz, and professional criminal-and his sometime partner/sometime lover, LuEllen. The Army had left Kidd with a dislike for bureaucratic organization and the skills to do something about it, but it hadn't prepared him for the day a woman appeared at his door and told him that his colleague Jack Morrison had vanished, and that Kidd and his friends were the target... ( )
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  Tutter | Mar 1, 2015 |
I have to admit I did not finish this book; I read about a third. I just found it too "scattered' and I had a hard time even knowing what was going on. If I didn't have other books to read, I might have stuck with it, but I did not feel this was worth the effort. Usually I love Sandford, but this was certainly not my favorite. ( )
  repb | Feb 8, 2015 |
When a fellow computer whiz known as Sanford is killed under suspicious circumstances, Kidd, artists, computer hacker, and professional criminal finds himself in the crosshairs of a government investigation targeting a group of hackers calling themselves Firewall. Something's rotten in the state of Texas, and with the NSA, the FBI, and a pair of corporate assassins on their tails, Kidd and LuEllen are a short step ahead and a long way out on a limb.

A bit rough around the edges, but I didn't want to stop turning pages. ( )
  SunnySD | Mar 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Sandfordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ferrone, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Pat and Ray Johns
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A beautiful fall night in Glen Burnie, a Thursday, autumn leaves kicking along the streets.
If you look in the shaving mirror in the morning and ask what you've become, and the answer is "Artist & Professional Criminal," then you may have taken a bad turn down life's dark alley.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Ex-soldier Kidd and his sometimes lover, LuEllen, are on the run when a colleague disappears and Kidd suddenly finds himself the subject of a national manhunt.

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