Picks and Pans Review: The Hanged Man's Song

updated 12/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

by John Sandford

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Sandford, best known for his popular Prey books, also writes novels featuring a hacker called Kidd—painter, Tarot reader and buccaneer of bytes. With the help of his clandestine mentor Bobby, whom he knows only through the Net, Kidd manipulates data to remain anonymous as he outsmarts government and corporate nasties. But now, in this fourth installment of the series, Bobby has mysteriously gone off-line. Kidd enlists his own sometime girlfriend, the coke-snorting burglar LuEllen, to find out what happened, and they're off on a high-risk cross-country hunt for a psycho killer. Sandford makes the tech stuff exciting, and the plot, thrillingly punctuated by unexpected violence, has a satisfying vigilante finale.

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