Thursday, August 02, 2012

Off the Grid by P.J. Tracy

P.J. Tracy's latest Monkeewrench novel, Off the Grid, was stunning, and scary. Anytime novelists come up with possible scenarios involving terrorists, scenarios that could come true, I find the books frightening. I've been a fan of this series from the beginning. One or two books have been a little weaker than others. But, don't hesitate to pick this one up. It succeeds all the way to the suspected twist at the end.

Grace MacBride, one of the members of the Monkeewrench computer team, is enjoying her experience on a boat in Key West. It's the first time in years she's lived without fear and without a gun by her side. However, all that changes when two men board the boat and attack retired FBI agent John Smith. Grace takes care of the assassins, but the attacks lead her to question Smith as to why he was a target.

Grace might have left the crime of Minneapolis behind, but there's a strange group of attacks happening in the city. Soon after a kidnapped fifteen-year-old Ojibwe girl is found murdered, two Somali men are found dead in a house where the other kidnap victims are living. The next morning, three more men are found dead on the lawn in the same neighborhood. And, homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth find calendars at both houses with October 31st circled. Leo and Gino are shocked to learn who the killer is, but they're even more surprised to learn there have been similar killings in LA and other cities. When Grace, Monkeewrench and the Minneapolis police put the pieces together, they have a frightening scenario to hand to the FBI. As Gino says, "There's something real jiggy going on, Leo. And I have a bad feeling that we're in the middle of it and we don't even know it."

Perhaps this is one of my favorite Monkeewrench books because of the involvement of Leo and Gino. They've been intricately involved in every book, but the emphasis in this one is much less on Monkeewrench, and much more on the police investigation. Even so, computers, Monkeewrench, the police, the FBI, terrorism, and the sex trade are closely linked in this powerful novel. It's a story that suggests the danger isn't over.

If you haven't read Tracy's first novel, Monkeewrench, I suggest you start there. This storyline stands alone, however it's important to understand the background of the characters. Once you've met this fascinating crew, you'll want to return to the world in which crime and computers mix. It's the world we live in now. And, Off the Grid shows just how chilling that world can be.

P.J. Tracy's website is

Off the Grid by P.J. Tracy. G.P.Putnam's Sons. 2012. ISBN 9780399158049 (hardcover), 305p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, after I requested a review copy.


Janet C said...

I can hardly wait for this book. I checked at the bookstore yesterday to be sure they were getting it or if I would need to order it. They have it coming and will a copy for me. Fortunately, they are used to me by now.

Lesa said...

Oh, that's good, Janet. It's always good when bookstores know our reading taste. Loved this book!

Jane R said...

This title has popped up a couple of times, so I'm going to take that as a sign that I need to read it. But, I'm going to take your advice and start with the first book in the series. Thanks for the review!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Jane. I'm glad you're starting with Monkeewrench. You really need to understand that team.

Kaye Barley said...

LOVE The Monkeewrench Gang and cannot wait to delve into this one. oh boy oh boy oh boy!

Lesa said...

Oh boy is right, Kaye! I love the Monkeewrench gang, too, and it always seems as if there's too much time between books.