Hanged Mans Song Hardcover – Nov 11 2003
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Sandford has out done himself with the series, good action and plots its too bad he stopped writing these novels. I loved this book and think other Sandford fans will too.Published 17 days ago by Robin
This is my first Kidd novel and I really enjoyed it. Fascinating read on just how vulnerable our computer-based secrets really are. Read morePublished on July 18 2009 by Douglas Setter
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 morePublished on March 31 2005 by Jonie
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 morePublished on Aug. 13 2004
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 morePublished on Aug. 4 2004
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 morePublished on June 28 2004 by Gerburg Frick
the top with this cyber thriller. Crooks and spies and burglars oh my! There is truly nothing this novel does not have. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Joymarie (Lover of the written word)
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 morePublished on May 11 2004