Book Recommendation: The Kidd Novels by John Sandford

This a re-post of one of the first things that I posted at The Nerd Machine. It’s a recommendation of a series of books that are pretty unknown. Anyway, here it is. Feel free to leave a comment below.

I’ve been trying to find a good book to read recently, and since I’m thinking about books a lot lately, I thought I would post a recommendation of a book series that doesn’t really get a lot of recognition. The book series that I am talking about is known as ‘The Kidd Novels’ by John Sandford, who is known for his much more popular ‘Prey’ series. Currently, there are four novels in the Kidd series (The Fool’s RunThe Empress FileThe Devil’s Code, and The Hanged Man’s Song), but I heard in an interview that there is a possibility of future Kidd novels.

The main character of the novels is Kidd who is a painter and computer genius. Each novel is a little different. There isn’t really an episodic format, but in each of the novels Kidd is, in some way, hired or asked to do a job that requires him to work outside of the law. For these jobs, he always enlists the help of his friend and sometimes lover LuEllen, who is a professional cat burglar.

Originally, I was attracted to these novels just from the computer/tech/hacking aspect of the stories. I am currently a grad student pursuing an MS in Computer Science, and around the time that I first discovered these novels, I was just starting to figure out that Computer Science was the field that I wanted to pursue. At that time, I was devouring any book, movie, TV show, etc. that had anything to do with computers. But, I think the real reason that I got hooked on these novels is the same reason that I love shows like Firefly and Leverage (btw if you haven’t seen Leverage, check it out). The reason that I think people connect with shows like that is because the “heroes” of the show aren’t perfect heroes that wear a white hat and are always working for the forces of good. They are just people that have a good heart, but they aren’t afraid to do things outside of the law and work in the shadows.

Kidd is a lot like this. He is deep down a good person, but his main priority is looking out for himself and making sure he has enough money to live how he wants to live. Much like Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly, Kidd has no objections to taking a job that requires him to break the law. Continuing with the Firefly comparison, if Kidd’s personality is most like Mal, then LuEllen would be similar to Jayne. She not only has no problem breaking the law; she seems to enjoy it. Although she isn’t an evil person, she doesn’t quite have the same moral compass that Kidd has.

If you enjoy mystery or thriller novels, I would strongly recommend the Kidd novels by John Sandford. The first novel in the series is called The Fool’s Run.

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