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SHOOT TO THRILL by P. J.Tracy: Book Review

The mother-daughter team of P. J. Tracy has written another Monkeewrench novel about two winning teams: the computer geeks/hackers/geniuses at Monkeewrench and the Minneapolis detective team of Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.  And the entertaining style of Patricia Lambrecht (mother) and Traci Lambrecht (daughter) combines to make this book hard to put down.

In Shoot to Thrill, it appears that the Web has spawned a new kind of evil, pre-posts of murders that are then carried out. There seems to be a Wisconsin connection, a strange thing in a state where nothing bad ever happens, or hardly ever.  But it all comes to light in nearby Minneapolis, the home of the Monkeewrench group and Magozzi and Rolseth.

The F.B.I., being legally unable to hack into sites that may be hiding these killers, sends its agent, John Smith, to Minneapolis to work with Monkeewrench to uncover the web sites that are posting the murders on YouTube for the whole world to watch.  Straight as an arrow, Smith is nearly at the Bureau’s mandatory age of retirement of 57 and is thinking back over his lackluster career.  He had dreams of heroic exploits that never came to pass, and his association with Monkeewrench may be the “slippery slope” that will make him look outside the box he has created for himself.

Magozzi, meanwhile, is still dealing with his unrequited love for Grace McBride, the founder of the Monkeewrench computer experts.  Grace, in turn, is unable to commit to any relationship due to her feelings of guilt over the deaths of close friends and associates for which she blames herself.

During the national search for the killers who are posting the murders on the Internet, the Minneapolis P.D. is also confronted with a series of possible bombs planted at various locations around the city. Is this the work of a terrorist group or simply some copycat teenagers out to disrupt the city as a joke?  F.B.I. profiler Chealsea Thomas thinks the latter but can’t be certain.

Even though the plot is a serious one, there’s a lot of humor in this series. There’s a lot of clever repartee between Magozzi and Rolseth, two typical cops who can’t let on how fond they are of each other.  The Monkeewrenches are oddball characters who have made a fortune with their video games and now can pick and choose what they want to do.

The authors have given each member an offbeat vibe:  Harley Davidson (yes!) owns the mansion where the group works and is a fabulous cook; Grace McBride also cooks but locks herself in her house with its barred windows and steel door; Annie Belinsky wears costumes rather than clothes; and Roadrunner (no first name given) lives in Lycra jogging outfits.

The Monkeewrench series is an enjoyable one, and this mother and daughter team have a lot on the ball.

You can read more about P. J. Tracy at her/their web site.

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