SHOOT TO THRILL
A MONKEEWRENCH MYSTERY
*Starred Review* “With murders around the country being posted on the Web by killers who leave no online trail, the FBI is reduced to asking civilian hackers for help. None is more qualified than Monkeewrench Sofware: the unconventional unit of cyber investigators led by ponytailed Harley Davidson, whose Minneapolis mansion houses his eccentric but super-efficient team: eyelash-batting belle, Annie; exercise-addicted Roadrunner; and Grace MacBride, the object of MPD detective Leo Magozzi’s affection. With straitlaced FBI Special Agent John Smith as their liaison and, with Magozzi and partner Gino Rolseth working the local scene, the group starts its 24/7 efforts. Are the murders real or simply enactments? Will federal regulations thwart Monkeewrench, or will Smith (who’s facing retirement) bend the rules? What is the connection of a drunken ex-judge to this murderous spree? In the fifth Monkeewrench novel, the mother-daughter team of P. J. and Traci Lambrecht really hits its stride: a chilling premise; a supremely appealing cast of evolving characters; and dialogue that is brisk, witty, and authentic. Humor and humanity mix in this top-notch mystery, the best in the series.” –Michele Leber, Booklist
“In the enjoyable fifth Monkeewrench thriller (after Snow Blind) from Tracy, the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambrecht, special agent John Smith of the FBI’s cyber crimes unit seeks the help of cybersleuths Grace MacBride, Annie Belinsky, and their geeky associates—as well as Minneapolis, Minn., homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth—in solving a horrifying string of murders filmed for the Web. The Monkeewrench team must create a program that can separate staged death scenes from the real thing. The first death they scrutinize appears to be the drowning murder of a Minneapolis drag queen. A stabbing, two shootings, and a strangulation are among subsequent killings that occur in other cities across the country. They catch a break when the eighth victim, a Medford, Ore., waitress, survives a stabbing. Newcomers will have no trouble getting into the story, and everyone will appreciate the likable characters.” — Publishers Weekly
It begins with a floater.
It’s eighty-five degrees in the shade when Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth pull into the MPD parking garage. They’re driving a tricked-out Caddy, repossessed from a low-level drug dealer. It’s not a Beemer or a Mercedes, but it’s got GPS, air conditioning, and electric seats with more positions than the Kama Sutra.
But things are heating up inside the station house, too. The bomb squad’s off to investigate another suspicious package at the mall, and kids are beating the crap out of each other and posting it on YouTube. And before Leo and Gino can wish for a straight-on homicide, the call comes in: a floater.
Soon they’re humping it along a derelict stretch of the Mississippi River, beyond the green places where families picnic and admire the views. They can see her — she looks like a bride in her white formal gown-face down, dead in the water. And so it begins.
Across town, Grace McBride’s Monkeewrench crew-the computer geeks who made a fortune on games, now helping the cops with anticrime software-has been recruited by the FBI to investigate a series of murder videos posted on the Web. It’s not long before Rolseth, Magozzi, and Monkeewrench discover the frightening link between the unlucky bride and the latest, most horrific use of the Internet yet. Using their skills to scour the Net in search of the perpetrator, the team must race against the clock to stop a killer in his tracks . . . before it’s too late.
P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of mother-daughter writing duo P.J. and Traci Lambrecht, winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book Awards. Their first four novels, Monkeewrench,Live Bait, Dead Run, and Snow Blind have become national and international bestsellers.
P.J. Lambrecht is a college dropout with one of the largest collections of sweatpants in the world. She was raised in an upper-middle class family of very nice people, and turned to writing to escape the hardships of such a life. She had her first short story published in The Saturday Evening Post when Traci was eight, still mercifully oblivious to her mother’s plans to eventually trick her into joining the family business. She has been a moderately successfully free-lance writer ever since, although she has absolutely no qualifications for such a profession, except a penchant for lying.
Traci Lambrecht spent most of her childhood riding and showing horses. She graduated with a Russian Studies major from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she also studied voice. Her aspirations of becoming a spy were dashed when the Cold War ended, so she instead attempted briefly and unsuccessfully to import Eastern European folk art. She began writing to finance her annoying habits of travel and singing in rock bands, and much to her mother’s relief, finally realized that the written word was her true calling. They have been writing together ever since.