Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Shoot to Thrill

Shoot to Thrill: a Monkeewrench novel by P.J. Tracy
4.5 stars

Reasons for reading: I have been waiting YEARS for this book to come out!!! (plus, 2 authors for the Four Month Challenge, but mostly the first one)

Description: "The Monkeewrench crew returns in a remarkable, heart-stopping new thriller. It begins with a floater. When Minneapolis homicide cops Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi are called to a derelict stretch of the Mississippi River, they see the bride, facedown, dead in the water. And when the Monkeewrench crew-computer geeks who made a fortune on games, now assisting the cops with special anticrime soft-ware-are invited by the FBI to investigate a series of murder videos posted to the Web, it's not long before the group dis- covers the frightening link between the unlucky bride and the latest, most horrific use of the Internet yet. Using their skills to scour the Net to prevent more killings, the team must race against the clock . . . before it's too late. "

First line: "From top to bottom and everywhere in between, Minnesota was a bleak and frigid place in January, whether you were shivering on a blizzard-swept prairie or paralyzed under a foot of snow smack in the middle of Minneapolis."

My thoughts:
I'm so glad this book finally came out! It's one of the best of the series, a few of the previous ones have wandered too far away from Minneapolis and the Monkeewrench gang for my taste (still good, though). The horrific use of the Internet is that people are posting actual murders online. And, as with the serial killer acting out a shooter video game in the first book, it rang totally and chillingly true. I could absolutely see it happening.

All of the great characters are back and as well-drawn as ever. The Monkeewrench team - Fat Annie, the voluptuous fashion plate, huge, opera-loving Harley Davidson, insanely tall and geeky Roadrunner and well-armed and silent Grace MacBride. Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth, the MPD detectives are still a great wise-cracking, crime-fighting team. And I enjoyed the addition of almost-retired FBI agent John Smith - his quiet, old-fashioned personality with a sense of humour underneath that the cops and hackers manage to discover and bring out.

I love how this mother-daughter team writes about Minneapolis - they instantly evoke the city perfectly. For example:
"The Mississippi moved like a lady through this part of downtown, taking in the city sights, lapping at the feet of the new Guthrie on one side and the aged bricks of the old flour mills on the other. Until this morning, it had always been Gino's favorite part of Minneapolis."

I also love the other Minnesota-isms sprinkled throughout, such as the state's playfully (well, sometimes, at least) negative feelings towards neighbouring Wisconsin. And of course, all kinds of discussions about the weather.

There are the usual false leads, Monkeewrench genius, and a harrowing, down-to-the wire finale. The only thing that disappointed me was the epilogue, but maybe it'll lead to something good, if different.

The verdict: Read this series!

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