The Devil’s Code by John Sanford

Oh Kidd, he is a successful painter, an outback fisherman, a computer geek, and an industrial spy. He is doesn’t spy for world powers or politics, just sort of evens the playing fields for manufacturers. He is the modern day version of the Renaissance Man.

Well, he comes back from a fishing trip in Canada to find that one of his former associates has been murdered. The story is that Jack was caught breaking into the company that he was contracting computer work to and that he shot the guard before being gunned down.

He has to agree with Jack’s sister, Lane, that doesn’t sound like Jack at all. He hated guns, was terrified of them in fact. While they ponder this, you might say that all hell breaks loose in the hacker world. Suddenly the FBI is after a group they call Firewall and the members are the user names of people that Kidd knows. And even worse, his name is on the list. Wait a minute, he hasn’t done anything. He just got back from fishing for gosh sakes!

So what starts as a mission to find out what actually happened to his friend Jack, turns into a dangerous battle to save his own skin. He has to find out why Jack was killed, who killed him and hide from the Feds at the same time. Then of course, when the bad guys realize that he is on to them, he has to somehow stay out of their sights as well.

This book, written in 2000, has some computer terminology that is a bit dated, but it doesn’t detract from the suspense and fun at all. I found myself unable to put it down because just after one crisis would seem to end, another would ensue! Besides, how can you not like a guy that while running for his life still takes the time to sit down and sketch a woman’s foot or the cockpit of an airplane? You might not like his motives or his espionage, but you gotta love his style. Oh, and did I mention, he uses Tarot Cards?

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 7, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425179885
ISBN-13: 978-0425179888

John Sanford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. He has written 28 novels and I have yet to be disappointed.