Picks and Pans Review: The Devil's Code

UPDATED 11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

by John Sandford

Page-turner of the week

He may be a computer whiz, but Kidd is no wimp. Sandford's corporate spy-for-hire (who is referred to by a single name, à la Cher or Madonna) has returned to action for the first time since 1989's The Fool's Run, and he proves as handy with lock picks as with a keyboard. When an old associate turns up dead—supposedly shot while breaking into the offices of a shady software company-Kidd is asked by the man's sister to investigate. And he needs all his considerable talents to untangle a conspiracy that may reach all the way to the upper echelons of national security agencies. The result is a taut, intelligent thriller, highlighted by several high-tech heists that show just how brainy—and well-prepared—a 21st-century outlaw needs to be. Fans of Sandford's "Prey" series, starring police detective Lucas Davenport, should relish the reintroduction of this equally complex hero (and his larcenous, sometimes lusty sidekick, LuEllen, a tough-as-titanium thief who spices up the proceedings). You don't need to be a tech-head to be riveted-and chilled—by Sandford's vision of a world in which information is a life-or-death issue—and no information-is private. (Putnam, $25.95)

Bottom Line: Convincing cyberthriller

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