Book Review: The Fool’s Run by John Sandford

Posted September 27, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: The Fool’s Run by John Sandford

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Fool's Run by John Sandford
Genres: Psychological Suspense
Published by Penguin on December 1st 1996
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Rules of Prey, Shadow Prey, Eyes of Prey, Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, Invisible Prey, Phantom Prey, Wicked Prey, Gathering Prey, Dark of the Moon, Heat Lightning, Rough Country, Bad Blood, Shock Wave, Storm Front, Deadline, Extreme Prey, Escape Clause, Deep Freeze, The Empress File, Twisted Prey, Holy Ghost, Neon Prey, Bloody Genius, Masked Prey

First in The Kidd psychological suspense series and revolving around Kidd, painter, hacker, software designer, thief. While Kidd is based in St. Paul, most of the story flits between Chicago and Washington D.C.

This precedes Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series in which Kidd has the occasional peripheral role.

My Take

Okay, I was suckered into loving this from the very start: Kidd’s an artist, loves computers, and this is a John Sandford. What can I say?

Then it got better. It’s a fascinating tale of computer hacking, viruses, and betrayals. There’s the part where Kidd interacts with his super-computer-genius friend Bobby (geeks with a fascination for old computers will love this!), then there’s the planning that goes into inserting those viruses. And when Sandford turns it all on their heads, well, the tension just keeps ratcheting up.

It’s an amazingly well-thought-out story using third-person point-of-view that starts with the love (and need) of money partnered up with sticking it to the man.

Yeah, Kidd is lazy in some ways — his moral compass is somewhat askew from the norm but I do like his application. He is also quite realistic with those statistical models he creates. Again, another somewhat amoral focus, but his heart is definitely in the right place. Then there’s LuEllen with her intrusion assessments…I’d’ve never thought of all those points she makes. As for Dacey. He combines that investigative edge with his newer PR skills for devastating effects.

I loved that twist of Kidd using the tarot, but the real jewel was the why.

The Story

Two rival defense contractors are in a race to gain the gold: that moneymaking defense contract for a radical new plane design or see their company go down the drain.

Anshiser is determined to hire Kidd to destroy their rival…a deal that could ease life for LuEllen’s retirement plans and Kidd’s desire to focus on his painting. It’s the sting of a lifetime. And one false move could mean a lifetime sentence.

As the takedown unfolds, everything goes according to plan. But their string of successes turns into a noose when the ultimate con artists find themselves on the wrong end of the ultimate con…

The Characters

Kidd has a degree in electrical engineering, a master of fine arts, and almost had a PhD in software design. He was also a first lieutenant with the Strategic Operations Group during the Vietnam War. Now he earns his keep through computer work — legal and illegal — with a side of criminal activity, but he’s trying to break free to pursue his art. Emily Anderson is his seventy-year-old painting neighbor.

LuEllen Carlson is a spatial intrusion engineer, a thief, who only steals from those who can afford it. Weenie is a middleman in Duluth who runs the Wee Blue Inn. Dace Greeley is a former investigative journalist-turned-public relations man. Robert “Bobby” Duchamps is a computer hacker extraordinaire.

Anshiser Holding Corporation is…
…a defense corporation owned by Rudolph Anshiser who’s building Sunfire planes that will incorporate String, a very advanced AI-type of design. Ann Smith, a.k.a., Margaret Ellise Kahn, is his very able assistant. The quiet Mr. Dillon is a researcher extraordinaire. Walter Markess is a synthesizer engineer. Phil Denzer works in Miami and has been a naughty boy.

Washington D.C.

Louis is the landlord for Kidd and company’s HQ.

Whitemark Aerospace is…
…a rival defense corporation, building Hellwolf. Samantha Ebberly is a manager in administration; Frank is her husband. Jason Durenbarger is an engineer married to Ellen. A system programmer and the head of their systems department has a sleazy hobby in which his wife and son participate. The equally sleazy Heywood Beltrami is in corporate relations.

Denton is the liaison man between the Washington D.C. police and the National Crime Information Center.

Frank “Ratface” Morelli used to be a cop but is now a private detective.

Danny is a ticked-off middle-management executive. His wife, Margo, and he have two kids, Tammy and Ben. Jack Clark at Clark Foods recommends Kidd. Mr. Drexel does a nice business in guns.

The Cover and Title

The cover is black with all the text in white sans-serif. The author’s name is at the top left with the title at the bottom left, both large sized. The series name is at the very bottom with informational tidbits in the top half. A small square inset graphic bordered in a thin white looks like a bullet-shattered pane of glass with pairs of red flat cable bands crisscrossing.

The title is what Kidd and LuEllen discover, it’s The Fool’s Run.

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6 responses to “Book Review: The Fool’s Run by John Sandford

    • I got curious about something Sandford had said in one of his books, and I finally went hunting. That Kidd intrigues me…and to have a whole ‘nother Sandford series to read…oh, yeah…

    • I gotta say it is another hit, Sherry. I’ve got The Empress File hanging fire on my bedside table, and I can’t wait to dive into this second in the series.

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