cover image The Fool's Run

The Fool's Run

John Sandford, John Camp. Henry Holt & Company, $14.45 (254pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0990-3

Making his fiction debut under his own name--he used the pseudonym John Sandford for his detective novel Rules of Prey , published in July by Putnam--Camp offers a different brand of intrigue, with a multitalented hero as narrator. Artist, cat lover, student of karate and the tarot and freelance computer criminal, Kidd is jack of varied-enough trades to stoke many future adventures. In this one, he's hired by a dying tycoon to befoul the elaborate information systems of a rival aerospace outfit, ostensibly to avenge the company's theft of plans for an innovative defense design. With an attractive burglar as his sidekick, Kidd creates mayhem by stealing information, gathering dirt on the company's employees and implanting ``viruses'' (information-destroying programs) in their computers, but the real enemy turns out to have a different identity. The author's brisk style makes even the welter of technical information that he provides interesting, and the novel's climax is witty and almost cinematic. Whether as Camp or Sandford, he's a welcome addition to the ranks of suspense novelists. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Sept.)