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Hanged Mans Song [Hardcover]

John Sandford
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 11 2003 Sandford, John (Book 4)

John Sandford author of the phenomenal Prey novels returns with The Hanged Man's Song.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

Just about everybody knows John Sandford for his long and successful Prey series. But just as well written and maybe more fun are his Kidd books, of which this is the fourth. Kidd is a professional thief for the Internet age: a cyberprowler, a hacker extraordinaire. In The Hanged Man's Song, he gets word that one of his key contacts--a superhacker known only as Bobby, whom Kidd has never met but has relied on many times--has disappeared. Kidd and an old buddy, both of whom could be compromised by data in Bobby's files, go looking for him. Finding his brutally murdered body draws them into a Hitchcock-esque intrigue that eventually involves stolen government secrets, crooked politicians, and a rogue CIA agent who's as crafty as he is creepy.

While filling his tale with fascinating and authentic-sounding lore about the hacker subculture, identity theft, and security cracking, Sandford keeps the action brisk with plenty of white-knuckle chases, tense stakeouts, and hairsbreadth escapes. Couple that with a smart, agreeable narrator and a cast of vivid characters evoked with an old pro's ease, and you've got one winning thriller. --Nicholas H. Allison

From Publishers Weekly

This series of techno-suspense novels featuring artist, computer wizard and professional criminal Kidd (The Fool's Run; The Empress File; The Devil's Code) and his sometime girlfriend, cat-burglar LuEllen, are far fewer in number and less well-known than Sandford's bestselling Prey books. In this entry, Bobby, Kidd's genius hacker friend ("Bobby is the deus ex machina for the hacking community, the fount of all knowledge, the keeper of secrets, the source of critical phone numbers, a guide through the darkness of IBM mainframes"), goes offline for good when he is hammered to death by an intruder. Bobby's laptop is stolen, which is bad news for Kidd as several of his more illegal transactions may be catalogued on the hard drive. Kidd needs to find the computer, break the encryption and revenge Bobby's death. The trail leads from Kidd's St. Paul, Minn., art studio to heat-stricken rural Mississippi and on to Washington, D.C., where Kidd uncovers a government conspiracy that threatens the reputations and livelihood of most of the nation's elected representatives. One of the joys of the series is learning the tricks of computer hacking and basic burglary as Kidd and LuEllen take us to Radio Shack, Target, Home Depot and an all-night supermarket to buy ordinary gear, including a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, to use in clever, illegal ways. The action is as hot and twisted as a Mississippi back road, but the indefatigable Kidd eventually straightens it all out and exacts a sort of rough justice that matches his flexible moral code. The early entries in this series have aged badly because of the advances in technology, but this latest intelligent and exciting thriller proves a worthy addition to Sandford's overall body of work.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars You must be Kidd-ing May 16 2004
I finished The Hanged Man's Song last week and remember only enough of it this week to suggest that it's not worth the time. I know everyone loves it, and I gave it a chance after the equally disappointing The Empress File, another Kidd novel, but neither was worth the time and money.
I like John Sandford a lot -- I've read all the Prey novels, including the two starring Clara Rinker twice -- so I picked up the Kidd novels because I read John's novels faster than he can write them. Both were a disappointment. Carl Hiassen's blurbed suggestion that Kidd is "a hero who's impossible to resist" is wrong. And his suggestion that Kidd is "the Travis McGee of microchips" would suggest he can't do comparison studies. I've read all the McGee books at least three times over the decades and the two heroes are nothing alike, nor is the writing.
Sandford causes himself some credibility problems with such stultifying techno-inanities as "The laptop was no lightweight -- it was a desktop replacement model from IBM with maximum RAM, a fat hard drive, built-in CD/DVD burner, three USB ports, a variety of memory-card slots." Omigod, THREE USB PORTS?! This man/machine combo is going to be invincible, assuming he can get his fat hard drive into gear.
Unfortunately, this passage is in a book published in 2004 and it appears on page 3 of my edition, causing a few micro-alarms to go off in my already skeptical brain. It just gets worse on page 42 when Kidd talks about putting the Encyclopedia Britannica on his laptop, where it "sucked up about 1.2 gigs. That means you could put about, uh... -- I did some quick calculation -- something like thirteen Encyclopedia Britannicas on one DVD."
Uh, better slow down, Kidd. My DVDs hold 4.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Kidd novel yet! April 4 2004
While the "Prey" series featuring Lucas Davenport is more widely known, the Kidd series just seems to have even more intrigue than the well-written Prey novels. Kidd is just on the other side of the law, brash, and technologically-sound to the point that computers can get him anything he wants. Sure it's not legal, but you find yourself cheering him on...his actions are illegal, but he's still the protagonist!
The plot centers around the murder of Bobby, a character all readers of the Kidd novels are familiar with. I won't go into the details of the plot so nothing gets spoiled, but I'll admit that when I first read the synopsis, I figured I wouldn't like the fact that Bobby was killed off.
I was wrong.
As the story comes together, things begin to make sense. But in the final few pages of the book, everything is revealed and you finally understand why it was necessary for Bobby to be killed off...and you begin to wonder what the next Kidd adventure will be because so many possibilities have been opened up!
Best Kidd book yet...but the ones that are upcoming are sure to be right on par as well!
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5.0 out of 5 stars VOICE PERFORMANCE PAR EXCELLENCE Feb. 4 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Television actor and voice performer par excellence Richard Ferrone has recorded eleven of John Sandford's "Prey" novels. One would be hard pressed to find a more articulate, compelling performer to bring these thrillers to life.
With "The Hanged Man's Song," fans will welcome the return of Sandford's popular protagonist, Kidd. This man can do anything - he's an accomplished computer hacker, an artist and a Tarot card reader. Unlike Sandford's other hero, Minneapolis police detective Lucas Davenport who is found in the blockbuster "Prey" series, Kidd isn't completely law abiding. Inside or outside the law he does whatever it takes to get the job done.
And, this time out he has quite a task cut out for him. Bobby, the world's foremost computer hacker, has been brutally beaten to death and his laptop is missing. Big trouble for Kidd as there are secrets hidden there that he doesn't want revealed. Enlisting the comfort and support of his sometimes lover, LuEllen, Kidd sets out to track down the deadliest of villains - those who kill with a few taps on a keyboard.
Sandford never disappoints, so brace yourselves for an action-packed listen.
- Gail Cooke
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4.0 out of 5 stars Big Brother? Nah, just Kidd... Jan. 16 2004
John Sandford is best known for his "Prey" series featuring Lucas Davenport, a tough, street-smart cop. Sandford's alter-ego to Davenport is Kidd, a "gray area" hacker often on the dubious side of the law. While "Prey" and Davenport hog the headlines for Sandford, its the Kidd novels I find most intriguing and fun.
As an intro, Kidd is an artist...hacker; his love is art but his trade is hacking. As the Kidd novels grow, we find Kidd becoming a more demanded artist but again, his penchant for the dark side is where the fun is. This is the fourth in Sandford's Kidd series, featuring our anti-hero Kidd, and LuEllen the thief, Kidd's companion/sometimes lover.
THE HANGED MAN'S SONG abruptly begins with the murder of none other than the mysterious Bobby, the hacker's hack, the mysterious man with his finger on the pulse of all that is computer geekdom. Bobby has set up an elaborate network of hackers, all of whom "know of" Bobby but don't know Bobby. Kidd is a part of this network and knows exactly the power of Bobby. Bobby was the faceless friend of Kidd and LuEllen who had assisted them in previous "jobs" of a somewhat nefarious nature. Upon learning of Bobby's "silence," and what turns out to be his murder, Kidd and others in the network become extremely concerned about Bobby's missing laptop, apparently stolen by Bobby's killer. This laptop held many, many dark secrets, facts, and evidence...information that could destroy lives-including Kidd's.
Kidd, LuEllen and another network friend, John, begin a frantic investigation into Bobby's murder and missing laptop. Their obvious goal is to retrieve the laptop and secure the information contained therein but, just as importantly, nab and "bring to justice" Bobby's killer.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars When information is a weapon
This is my first Kidd novel and I really enjoyed it. Fascinating read on just how vulnerable our computer-based secrets really are. Read more
Published on July 18 2009 by Douglas Setter
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Weather Reports
I am a John Sandford fan, and this is the first in the Kidd series I've read. I prefer the Prey series, which is written in a tighter, edgier style. Read more
Published on March 31 2005 by Jonie
5.0 out of 5 stars Of the three
Of the three great books I've read this summer (Last Juror, Bark of the Dogwood, The Hanged Man's Song) this has been my favorite with "Dogwood" coming in second. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Tight
Incriminating, tight, suspenseful, and well-done, this action-packed novel has everything for everybody. One of the best things I've read in a long time. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Hackers, Whackers, What?
This is a very slow moving story, in which criminals (hacker Kidd and his burglar friend LuEllen) are trying to catch another criminal and fail lousy. Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by Gerburg Frick
5.0 out of 5 stars Always a favorite with me John Sandford has gone over
the top with this cyber thriller. Crooks and spies and burglars oh my! There is truly nothing this novel does not have. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Joymarie
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy! What doesn't it have?
Boy! What doesn't this book have? This Hitchcockian page turner is the fourth in a series and just as good as the previous three. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool book!
I was only recently introduced to the Kidd series. I've loved all the Prey books over the years, and Lucas Davenport is one of my favorites but he is rapidily be replaced by bad... Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by Jenny Blickman
3.0 out of 5 stars Sanford strikes again
This is the 4th book in the Kidd series and like the others it's a quick read and hard to put down.
While in Louisiana doing a painting for some rich guy, Kidd discovers that... Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Christian Dorr
5.0 out of 5 stars Kidd is replacing Lucas Davenport as Sandford's best
John Sandford weaves another spellbinding novel. The characters are believable. Richard Ferrone provides a great narration. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by William J. Tennison
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