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Kidd Books In Order

Publication Order of Kidd Books

The Fool's Run (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Empress File (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil's Code (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Hanged Man's Song (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

A Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist, John Roswell Camp is also a novelist who’s held in equally high-esteem. Creating fast-paced and extremely modern thrillers, he’s gifted at creating a sense of suspense and drama in his narratives. Going under the names of John Sandford, as well as William Sandford too, he’s very well regarded within his field and genre. Utilizing all these elements to great effect is that of his acclaimed ‘Kidd’ collection of novels, as it takes all these factors infusing them all together. Following the main leading character of Kidd, it sees him and his sidekick LuEllen, as they both work together on the outside of the law. Running various cons against the government and other shadowy forces, they are somewhat ambivalent in their nature, but always exciting, keeping the action constantly teetering on the edge.

Working as an ultramodern suspense, this set of novels manages to take the contemporary thriller and make it applicable to the time of the novel. First starting out in 1989 with the novel ‘The Fool’s Run’ it continued on to 2003 with the final book ‘The Hanged Man’s Song’. With four novels in total, this is a fairly conclusive and engaging series, with a number of compelling story-lines to keep the reader hooked throughout.

The Fool’s Run

Written under the name of John Sandford, this was to be the first book out in the series of ‘Kidd and LuEllen’ novels. Originally published in 1989 through the Penguin USA publishing imprint it would work at setting up the series as whole. Establishing the main characters of Kidd as well as LuEllen, it would also provide them with their first adventure to deal with.

Working as anti-heroes in a sense the characters of Kidd and LuEllen are both extremely well drawn, as they get into a series of scrapes and adventures. This allows the reader to get caught up in their various adventures, making it an exciting and compelling set of books throughout. With fun stories that fall into the tradition of ‘tall tales’ almost, this is a series that really knows what it’s about. In regards to the characters themselves, they both play off each other well, highlighting each others different faults and weaknesses. The computer whizz and genius of the series is Kidd, as he uses his intelligence to make the long-con and capture his mark. LuEllen on the other hand, is the street-smart con-artist who uses her wits to get by, as the both of them work together as lovers. Set in a high-tech world, it appears that John Roswell Camp is an artist who knows his way around this particular environment. With a fully three-dimensional landscape, its extremely well realized, as it’s brought into full vibrant color for the reader. The locations themselves are also well utilized, as they manage to effectively juxtapose the action that’s going on in the novel at the time.

Setting up the perfect sting, Kidd and LuEllen are working together not only as partners-in-crime, but partners in life too. With a major operation set-up next, they are getting themselves involved in some cases of high-tech corporate espionage. Hired by a defense contractor who are looking to take out their business rivals, they are tasked with committing computer sabotage against them. Will they ultimately find themselves on the wrong end of the con though? Where will they turn next? Can they successfully make the fool’s run?

The Empress File

Brought out through the Berkley publishing label this time, this would be the second book in the ongoing ‘Kidd and LuEllen’ series of novels. Initially released in 1991 on the first of April, it would continue on directly from the previous title, as it charted another adventure for the eponymous protagonists. Continuing in much the same vein as before, it would also bring in some surprises of its own too, taking it in a somewhat different direction.

Like before this takes on a number of different themes and ideas all centered around the concept of the ‘long-con’. Knowing and understanding the genre extremely well, Camp is able to make the most of it once more, making it work for him ultimately. Navigating the reader through an intricate series of twists and turns, he steers them towards the thrilling conclusion with a great amount of skill. Bring back the characters of Kidd and LuEllen once more too, it sees their relationship progress, with some difficulties along the way. Steering it along, though, it manages to effectively bring them both to life in a manner which really resonates with the reader. Over the course of the novel, the reader then feels closer to them both, allowing the reader to feel a sense of familiarity over its duration. Set in the ‘halls of power’ once more, this deals with governmental corruption on a grand scale, as the duo attempt to do the right thing. Dealing with contemporary issues in a fun and accessible manner, it really works at drawing the reader in, allowing them to feel a part of the action. This progresses over the course of the novel, ultimately taking in a variety of locations that ensure it feels both rich and varied throughout.

A fourteen year old computer whizz kid by the name of Darrell Clark is shot in the back by police after being mistaken for a purse snatcher. That’s when Marvel Atkins takes it upon himself to fight back with his black friends in a struggle against the racially motivated injustice. Enlisting the help of Kidd and LuEllen, they aim to take down the corrupt city council and bring justice to the unjustly slain. Will they succeed though? How far does the corruption go? Can they uncover the Empress file?

The Kidd Series

Very much of its genre, Camp is definitely a writer who clearly knows and understands how to spin a compelling story. Drawing the reader in then never letting go, he manages to offset interesting characters alongside adrenaline fuelled narratives. All of this adds up to one of his most engaging series to date, and a definite must for any fans of the author and the thriller genre as a whole.

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