The Empress File

The Empress File

3.93 (3,810 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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When Kidd gets a call for help from his friend Bobby, he answers it at once. Kidd's never met Bobby, just talks to him by computer. This time Kidd has a problem to help out in Longstreeet - a town on the Mississippi. Another computer friend of Bobby's has been shot by "mistake" by the police.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 28mm | 439.98g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0246138580
  • 9780246138583

Review Text

A frazzled sequel to The Fool's Run (1989), Camp's seriocomic caper novel published in between his outstanding pseudonymous (as John Sandford) thrillers, Rules of Prey (1989) and Shadow Prey (1990). This time out, the action's far more serio than comic as computer hacker/painter/Tarot-buff Kidd cleans up a corrupt southern town. Back to help Kidd pull the plug on the "machine" that runs Longstreet, Mississippi, is sexy cat-thief LuEllen; the tension between these two free spirits as they resist their growing love for one another gives the novel some emotional sizzle. Less warming, for all its byzantine spirals, is the main plot line, which has Kidd called in by modempal Bobby to avenge the death of one of Bobby's proteges, a black boy gunned down without cause by two Longstreet cops subsequently protected by the machine. Posing respectively as a rummy painter and a crystal-ball reader, Kidd and LuEllen motor down the Mississippi in a rented houseboat to Longstreet, where they link up with a trio of radical reformers. Together, with modem-input from Bobby, the group hatches an intricate plan to discredit the machine's big wheels - including the town's superstitious mayor and sadistic dogcatcher - through complex blackmail and financial mayhem; separately, Kidd and LuEllen, after monetary as well as moral rewards, pursue their own agenda by robbing the homes of the town leaders to steal their illicit fortunes (some nifty home-intrusion lore here) and by driving the mayor crazy through rigged fortunetellings. All goes well until Kidd & Co. underestimate the machine's ruthlessness, leading to two brutal murders and a jarring, violent climax. Kidd and LuEllen remain compelling characters, but here they've tumbled into an overplotted, herky-jerky-paced tale that boasts neither the charm of the prequel nor the riveting suspense of Camp's other books. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

3,810 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 30% (1,131)
4 40% (1,512)
3 25% (967)
2 5% (172)
1 1% (28)
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