Monday, April 12, 2010

"Shoot to Thrill" by P.J. Tracy. The latest Monkeewrench book!

I had been waiting for this book for more than a year (OK, to be honest, I'd been waiting for it as soon as I finished "Snow Blind", which I read as soon as it came out because this is one of my favorite mystery series). Sometimes that much waiting can build expectations too high so I worried I'd be disappointed. I really liked this book but it isn't my favorite of the series, probably because a couple of my favorite characters didn't get as much "page time" in this book as they have in my favorites (which are "Monkeewrench" (the first book in the series) and "Dead Run" (Monkeewrench, No 3)). But even so, it was fun to read and a good addition to a series I love. I recommend it.

If you are new to the Monkeewrench series, you definitely should read "Monkeewrench" first. This story does stand on its own but you will miss a lot of the character background if you haven't read at least the first of the books. In particular, you will not fully understand Grace and why she is so fearful/careful. The authors give brief information on what has happened in the past but you don't get the full flavor of it. Plus, Monkeewrench is such a fun book, you really want to read it. I haven't yet mentioned the second book in the series, "Live Bait." It's another good one but it isn't necessary to read before the current book.

The book starts with a couple of murders. And then the FBI brings in a bunch of computer hackers to help them track down people who are posting homemade snuff films online. And of course if serious computer geeks are involved, the Monkeewrench crew has to be part of the action. The Monkeewrench group agrees to write some programs to help the FBI so Special Agent Smith moves into Harley Davidson's Summit Avenue Mansion and the rest of the crew stays there as well so they can work around the clock. Not too much later, Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth and various other members of the Minneapolis Police Department join the investigation.

A careful reader will figure out who is behind the murders before the characters in the book do, but that didn't spoil the fun for me. My only criticism (other than that Annie wasn't in the book enough) comes from one of the reasons I love the series so much: Minnesota geography. I love these books because they are mostly set in the Twin Cities where I live. The authors took some liberty with a couple of things that distracted me enough to pull my attention from what was happening in the story. It's a minor thing but it did bug me enough so that I will mention it to them when I get my book signed later this month. (And I'll ask them to give Annie a bigger part in their next book as well!)

The very end of the book was unexpected and it will be interesting to see how that affects future books in the series. (No spoilers from me; you'll have to read it yourself.)

Bottom line: This isn't meant to be great literature but it is well written and very enjoyable. I love the series so I think people should read all the books.

I received this book from the Amazon Vine program for purposes of writing a review.

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