Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy

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.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - library book

25 comments:

kathy d. said...

I love P.J. Tracy's books. Am so glad the new one is out, ready for us to escape into.

Yes, the cyberworld is the crux of many current mysteries, thrillers, perhaps would be the category. But as we find, they're all different.

And I can't wait to read this book.

Thanks for the review.

P.S. P.J. Tracy's website is fun. An interview with both mother and daugher, as well as the FAQ's, are hilarious.

Shelly Rayedeane said...

The internet definitely needs regulated more.

Sounds like a good book. I will check it out.

bermudaonion said...

I've never read any P. J. Tracy and I'm wondering why - this sounds like a book I would love.

Lesa said...

Kathy,

I saw the video, and it was fun. I wanted to see it to find out if they said anything about why it's been 4 years since the last one. They didn't, although they both mentioned moving.

Loved this book. One of the best in the series.

Lesa said...

And, Shelly? I just gave you enough background on Monkeewrench that you don't really have to read the other books first if you don't want to.

Lesa said...

Kathy (bermudaonion) - It's quite possible that themes of some of the earlier Monkeewrench novels didn't appeal to you. I loved Monkeewrench. There were a couple in the series that I didn't care for. This one was probably my favorite, along with the first one. And, you can start with it if you want.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Genre blending! That's happening a lot now, but usually with really interesting results. This sounds like a good one.

Lesa said...

Genre blending is driving me nuts, Elizabeth. I'm writing the chapter on mysteries for Genreflecting, and, I'm going to easily make the first deadline of June 1 for submitting our subgenres, but it's been a pain. It's easier to come up with the books that fit under the subgenres than it is to label the subgenres themselves.

ann m said...

ahhh Monkeewrench. One of the good memories from FL. :)

Lesa said...

See, and they waited 4 years for the next one, Ann. They wanted to make sure you were happy & working at a library again. I loved this Monkeewrench book!

Ann Best said...

Your post caught my eye because I LOVE P.J. Tracy's (mother & daughter) books. I read the first three and LOVED them. It's been a while since I read them. And now your excellent review of their new book makes me want to read them again, and this one. So much good stuff to read and not enough time in a day!! Maybe when I finish Columbine and Following the Whispers...

cassandrajade said...

It sounds interesting except I'm kind of over the whole 'perils of the internet' theme.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. You made it sounds like a great read.

Lesa said...

Ann,

If you're a fan, you need to make time for this one. I hope you enjoy it. But, I agree about too much good stuff, and not enough time.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Cassandra. I don't read as many thrillers as I do mysteries, so I haven't overdosed on the Internet issue. And, if you're a Monkeewrench fan, you're prepared for that. They're hackers, afterall.

Kaye Barley said...

I've just recently read this one and loved it!!!!! The Monkeewrench gang just rocks, don't they? I hope it's not another 4 years till the next one.

Deedles said...

I read this also and really enjoyed it.

kathy d. said...

Now I'm salivating at the thought of getting this book. Hope my library has this new P.J. Tracy book.

Liked all of them. I particularly enjoy the sense of humor as well as the social issues and the characters.

Genre-blending; that's an interesting concept. This seems to be happening more and more.

Again, I go case-by-case, read book reviews, blogs like this one and others, hear friends' recommendations and try to figure out if I'm going to like a book, and of course, read tried and true authors--although they can surprise one.

And then one really never knows until one is in the throes of reading a book what one's opinion is.

I have broadened my reading horizons by reading international mysteries, including Scandinavian and more U.S. books.

Your article sounds very interesting, although complicated to write. Cannot wait to read it.

Lesa said...

I'm with you, Kaye. I hope it isn't another 4 years. I love the Monkeewrench gang. Not the ending I expected!

Lesa said...

Wasn't it good, Deedles?

Lesa said...

Kathy,

I hope your library has the new Monkeewrench, too.

Well, it's actually a chapter in the next edition of Genreflecting, so it will be a while until it's out.

Les said...

If it's as thrilling as Dead Run, I'll love it! I've been wanting to read this new one since I first heard about it, but now I'm restraining myself. If I have to wait another 4 years, I may want to hold off as long as possible.

Lesa said...

I'm hoping we don't have to wait another 4 years, Les. This one was one of my favorites in the series.

audrey said...

I read this book and could not put it down..until the sequence about the bombings. It seemed a real tangent to me and I couldn't work out why it was taking up so much of the book. By the time it concluded, my interest in the book had dimmed somewhat. So overall I was a bit disappointed. I'm a big fan of the authors.

Lesa said...

I was unpleasantly surprised with the actual ending, Audrey, but since that didn't work out the way I wanted it to, I didn't mention that in the review. Others might have felt totally different.

Anonymous said...

I need to discuss this book with someone who has read the books. I just finished it last night and was so disappointed with the end, not the end with regards to the killings but the end with Grace and Leo. Can you comment anymore on what your thoughts are about that?