Created by John Camp
Pseudonyms include John Sandford

I always thought the KIDD series was unjustly neglected. A unique creation, particularly for its time (the late 1980s), he was a sort of high-tech scam artist/computer whiz/Travis McGee type with a very stretchy set of ethics and one cracker of a hacker who would–for a price–make your trouble his business.

He’s a real slice, this Kidd. Back when a hacker was just a bad golfer, Kidd was already taking on high-priced computer jobs that were, er, slightly less than legal, all the better to keep him in the lifestyle to which he’d become accustomed. He had a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a master of fine arts in painting, and would have had a Ph.D in software design except he blew off the finals to go fishing. And just to sweeten the mix, he was a karate expert and an accomplished amateur watercolourist. He’s not too shabby at good old fashioned breaking-and-entering, either. His past includes a stint with the Strategic Operations Group during Vietnam, and he often relies on tarot cards to solve his problems, although he’s got his own way to rock there, too.

Like I said, he’s a slice.

His homebase was in Minnesota, where he had a handful of trusted friends, including his sometime-sweetie LuEllen, billed on the back cover of one of the books as a “beautiful spatial intrusion engineer” (burglar will do) and Dace, an information peddler and reporter.


John Camp is a respected journalist, even having won a Pulitzer for a series of stories about the Midwestern farm crisis, but he’s most famous for his very popular “prey” series, which features Lucas Davenport, which he writes under the pen name of John Sandford (the pseudonym comes from his father, Roswell Sandford Camp). Davenport’s a Minneapolis cop. He also writes about another Minnesota cop, Virgil Flowers.

When I first wrote this entry, I mused about the unfortunate fact that the Davenport series had been so successful, and wished out loud that it would have been great to read more than the two recorded cases Camp (or Sandford) had left us with. Well, in 2000, after a nine-year break, Kidd returned in The Devil’s Code. And that’s was followed by The Hanged Man’s Song in 2003, and Kidd has more recentlyhad a prominent role in the Davenport novels Silken Prey (2013) and Extreme Prey (2016). Here’s hoping Kidd shows up again in his own novel soon. That would be nice…



  • The John Sandford Web Site
    The official site of John Camp (AKA John Sandford), managed by his son, Roswell Anthony Camp. It’s a family affair….
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to S.L. Neuman for the reminder, and Gerald So for putting me straight.

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