Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Shoot to Thrill, PJ Tracy

Usually I don't really care for novels that have more than one author.  I tend to find them disjointed and without the flow that novels by one author have.  The rare exception is the Monkeewrench series by PJ Tracy.

PJ Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother and daughter writing team of PJ and Traci Lambrecht.  Together they have created one of the more unique crime-fighting teams in today's contemporary thriller landscape.  Monkeewrench is a company made up of four completely unique individuals.  Harley Davidson, Annie Belinsky, Roadrunner, and Grace McBride are computer geniuses with enough quirks and eccentricities to fill a football stadium.  They were fist introduced in the novel Monkeewrench, in which they were reluctantly dragged into helping the police after someone started killing people in exactly the same way as the serial killers in a serial killer detective game they had created. 

In this new novel, Shoot to Thrill, Grace and her team must put their considerable computer skills to work tracking someone who is murdering people, filming it, and then posting the video online.  While there are many possibilities (like every internet user in the country), what is more frightening is the idea that there could be a whole community of people who are participating.  Rolseth and Magozzi, along with new character FBI Agent John Smith, ask the Monkeewrench team to use their special (hacking) skills to try and trace the videos, and what they discover is closer to home than they think.

While I really enjoyed this book, I didn't think it was quite as good as the others.  It seemed as though the Monkeewrench people took a backseat to the law enforcement officers on this one, and they are so fascinating as characters it left the story feeling a little flat.  Not that Magozzi and Rolseth don't have their charms-they are some of the most likable police characters since Milo Sturgis from the Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman (though any faithful reader of this blog knows I'm mad at them right now!).  When we did get to spend time with the crew at Harley Davidson's mansion, it was more about their work and how they interacted with the FBI agent in their space than about them as characters.  However, the way that the book ended gives me hope that some interesting changes are coming to the world of Monkeewrench for the next book, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes computers and mysteries.  Go back and start with Monkeewrench, though, if you haven't read this author yet.  This particular series is better in order.

3 comments:

  1. I've heard the same thing from others. These authors are from my neck of the woods, though I think the daughter now lives in CA. Monkeewrench is supposed to be awesome and the other two aren't as great. I still haven't read them. Thanks for the review!

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  2. "I don't really care for novels that have more than one author".

    LOL, I never thought about it, but neither do I.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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  3. I love series books. I am going to check this one out on Goodreads. Thanks for sharing....

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