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.)
Kidd, a computer-whiz-for-hire, accepts a risky, high-paying assignment to sabotage an aerospace corporation's computer system. A rival firm wants him to stall the company, which had gained unfair advantage by stealing secret plans for a missile-targeting device. Kidd sets to the task by enlisting a beguiling cat burglar, an unscrupulous journalist, and a mystery accomplice who can only be contacted by telephone for great stores of confidential electronic data. Thus, they are able to steal codes, con information, and buy downloads to advance their purpose. A double-cross and murder enliven the final third of the story, but the set up plods too slowly to hold readers' attention until the action starts. Public libraries should buy if marketing hype stirs demand. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/89; as John Sandford, Camp is also the author of Rules of Prey, LJ 7/89.-- Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.