It's been four years since the last Monkeewrench novel by the mother-daughter team that is P.J. Tracy. But, the minute you pick up Shoot to Thrill, you're back in Minnesota with the police and the Monkeewrench crew.
John Smith, about to retire from the FBI, has gathered a group of hackers together because the FBI needs their help to trace a killer or killers through a sophisticated computer network operating in other countries. Someone is filming murders, and posting them on the Web. The FBI Cyber Crime Unit hasn't been able to determine which murders are actual, and which fake in the number of samples on the Web. But, no one is more skilled at programming and analyzing the web than the Monkeewrench crew. Grace MacBride, Annie Belinsky, Harley Davidson and Roadrunner make up the expert computer team. They all have their idiocyncracies. And, John Smith is assigned to work with them, although Monkeewrench isn't comfortable with the FBI peering over their shoulders.
As Monkeewrench tries to find someone who has killed, and is bragging about it on the Web, their sophisticated searches reveals something even worse. Someone out there is bragging about the next murder. It's up to Monkeewrench, and police departments in multiple states, to prevent the next death.
The Monkeewrench books are always about good and evil, and this time the story focuses on the Web, YouTube, and how anyone can become a celebrity, for all the wrong reasons. And, no one understands that more than the police. This novel skillfully blends the work of a team of computer geniuses with that of the Minneapolis Police Department, in particular the Homicide unit, represented by Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. It's their day-to-day investigation, their attention to detail, that meshes brilliantly with the work of the Monkeewrench team.
In the course of this series, Tracy has vividly portrayed all of the members of the Monkeewrench team. Although this is still a story of computers and the link to crime, in Shoot to Thrill, the authors have emphasized the police, Magozzi and Rolseth, along with the FBI agent, John Smith.
Is Shoot to Thrill a police procedural? The details of the police investigation are carefully laid out. Is it a thriller? An expert group races against the clock to prevent the next disaster, knowing the world is watching. In actuality, it's one of the blends that are becoming so popular in crime fiction today. No matter how you label it, Shoot to Thrill is a gripping story with a surprising conclusion. It's just good to have P.J. Tracy and Monkeewrench back.
P.J. Tracy's website is www.pjtracy.net
Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy. G.P. Putnam's Sons, ©2010. ISBN 9780399155208 (hardcover), 308p.
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