I am not a fan of modern best-seller-style thrillers, and this one has tendencies that way (serial killer of nearly superhuman cleverness, ever-tightening suspense), but it overcomes them. The characters are so interesting!
About a hundred pages into the book, I began to wonder if the authors (a mother-and-daughter team writing pseudonymously) were going to be able to keep track of the plethora of characters they were creating and whether I would be able to process all of them into a meaningful reading experience.
They could and I could. Amazing, yes, but it worked.
This will be a new experience for you--I've certainly never read anything quite like it. The blurbs include the word "funny." I can't quite see that--there were no laughs for me. Plenty of oddball characters and new experiences, but nothing really funny. That's OK, it's a wonderful story--I just didn't want anyone to go in looking for light, funny stuff, because you would be disappointed. Instead, go in looking for unusual people, a fascinating situation, and plenty of good old-fashioned suspense.
What a debut for this mother/daughter team! Many established authors never achieve the scintillating dialogue and captivating characters of these novices. Suffice it to say I finished the book in less than 48 hours. Hollywood, are you paying attention? I can't wait to revisit Leo and Gino in Live Bait.
Also published as "Want to Play?" This book is so enjoyable and well-written, it's difficult to believe it's a debut novel. It has a believable premise, likeable characters, and the wittiest of repartee.
I read the 3rd book in the series first, which was an incredible book! I just had to go back and read all the books in the series, and this one was really great as well. Can't wait for #2 to arrive so I can dive right in!
I found this in a used book store and decided to pick it up because of rave reviews from my book group PBT on Shelfari. Wow, they were right! For a debut it was amazingly polished and now I think I have another favorite author and several books to add to Mt. TBR. A serial killer is loose in Minneapolis, arranging his first two victims in the same manner as those in a soon-to-be released video game from the software company Monkeewrench. The five friends who created the game are worried - not only will this potentially destroy their company, but they all have a secret past that may be related - do they tell the police and endanger themselves again? There are 18 more murders in the game...
Written by a mother-daughter team, this thriller is an excellent mystery packed with suspense and great characters. The two separate storylines are developed and eventually converged expertly, the sick mind of the killer all too believable, the horror and fear of the suspects palpable. I was pleased to have my suspicion of the identity of the killer turn out to be correct, but the jaw-dropping double twist in the end caught me totally by surprise. I hope the rest of the series turns out to be just as good!
P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother-daughter writing team P. J. Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht, who live in
Minnesota and California, respectively.
Where will all those violent computer games end? With a copycat series of real-life homicides, in a preposterous,
entertaining nailbiter that seamlessly weaves together three subplots. Tracy covers all the bases in this debut thriller:
an accelerating, unpredictable plot that combines police procedural with techno-geek-speak, an array of well-drawn
characters and, most importantly, witty repartee. Monkeewrench is action-packed from the start. It's got complex characters
and a twisted plot. It's sure to keep you on your toes every step of the way.
Don't settle down with this wacky, supercharged maiden voyage at your bedside till you've cleared your schedule for
the following morning.
This one deserves all the good things I heard about it I raced through it absolutely riveted. A serial killer has decided to re-create the murders shown in a video game invented by a little company called Monkeewrench. You've got quirky characters, cops, and an unknown killer; the Monkeewrench team has an interesting secret; and the technology doesn't feel too dated (hard to do these days, with tech evolution moving so fast). So maybe it has a lot of the cliches of the genre, but I didn't care - I liked it. Excellent reading.
This is a great debut thriller from the mother/daughter writing team of PJ Tracy. It reads like no other mysery I've read before-it has just enough creepiness to keep the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I look forward to reading anything from PJ Tracy.
I screwed up. I didn't think this book was going to be as good as it was so I started reading it and wasn't able to finish it til the next day!! Never again!
I loved the characters (although it was difficult to keep the detective straight in the beginning for me) and the way the story keep bringing in more and more pieces of the puzzle and making it all make sense. Now to just wait until the rest of the books in the series are delivered!
I'm so glad I found this mother-daughter writing team. This was an incredible, edge-of-your seat mystery that really keeps you guessing. I highly recommend this book, especially if you're looking for a new mystery series - this is the first of what right now is a 4-book series. More books are supposed to be on they way in this series.
P.J. Tracy, the pseudonym for a mother-daughter writing team, seamlessly weaves together three subplots that converge in Minnesota where an eccentric group of hackers and computer geeks are preparing to release a video game where the object is to catch a serial killer. However, killings identical to those in the game have begun happening. The two detectives Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi, play off each other very well. There's a smalltown Wisconsin sheriff also in the picture (two of the murders happen in his vicinity), and the Monkeewrench crew all have their own eccentricites. There are a few more sequels in the series including "Snow Blind" and "Dead Run" and all are highly recommended.
The characters in this book seem so real to me. The comments about Minnesota are priceless as, after liviing there the first 33 years of my life, I can relate to every one of them. Story is well-developed with subperb bad-guys. A very fulfilling mystery surrounded in snappy dialogue.
One of my friends recommended this book to me and I in turned have hooked another reader friend. It took about 25 pages for me to decide it was not going to be all blood and guts when it settled down into a very good "who dunnit". This book was a great beginning to the mother/daughter authors I am now hooked on this series and hope they keep on coming!
There's a new video game, Serial Killer Detective, in which you attempt to catch a killer based on the clues they leave at the scene of the crime. There's a new serial killer in Minnesota's Twin Cities, the victims and methods of death appear to be taken from the video game. And there's a team of software developers at a small Minnesota company named Monkeewrench whose members have just become prime suspects.
I quickly became a fan of this book (which became the basis of a series) and its authors, a mother/daughter team using the pen name P. J. Tracy (based on their first names). The authors created a set of engaging yet flawed protagonists who have talents at the keyboard but not necessarily at social interaction except with each other, to a point. The murders, the interaction between the Monkeewrench team and the police, and the sensation of suspense brought back the incredible tension and pacing that defines James Patterson's marvelous early Alex Cross works (before he turned himself into a franchise and got others to churn out most of "his" writing for him but that's a topic for another time and place).
This was the best new (to me) series that I picked up in 2015, and my only regret is that I allowed it to languish on my "To Be Read" pile so long before I finally started it.
RATING: 5 stars.
DISCLOSURE: I was awarded a free copy of this book in a random draw. No requirement of a review was made, let alone any conditions on the tone / content of a review, however, it was hinted that winners who write and post honest reviews have a better chance of being selected to receive future books.
I picked this up for a friend and couldn't resist reading it first. That silly monkey and the description of the computer group just called to me. Thankfully, despite being a thriller, it's a cop mystery not a gorey one. Gorey books give me nightmares, and are the reason I tend to avoid 'thrillers'-a stance I may have to re-examine.
The plot was unique, and suspensful. You knew what was coming, but just like the cops, you had to wait for it. And the first murders just hung out there, waiting to be tied in. Waiting. Waiting..then finally they were. Perfectly.
I laughed quite a bit at Halloran's antics with the Feds. It was a very short scene, but hillarious. There was just enough lightness put in the book to keep it from becoming too horribly dark. Annie & Diana's dressing, Sharon's comments, and the coffee ladies. (I like the coffee ladies.) But there wasn't so much as to pull away from the suspense.
The ending was a bit chilling, and had me turning pages quickly. I like the ending--everything fit, and it was well brought together. (I'm picky on my endings). Off-hand comments from earlier are not so off-hand later.
The characters are interesting, distinct, and real. Often strange, but real. Even the ones that never show up on camera (wives of officers) feel like they really are there.
This is a mystery book you will not want to put down! The good news is that once you finish it this new mother daughter team has others you can read: Live Bait,Dead Run,Do You Want to Play,and an new one coming out... Snow Bound.
This is first in a series and I am looking forward to the rest of the series. It captured and maintained my attention throughout the book. I did at on point suspect the killer though. I would recommend this one to mystery lovers.
I originally started this series written by mother/daughter duo, P.J. Tracy, by reading book #2, Live Bait, but I liked it so much, I had to get the first book, Monkeewrench, so I would know where it all began. And what a beginning! While the reader can pick up anywhere in the series and get an excellent , detailed, fast-paced mystery, it does help to keep all of the characters in their proper order and/or perspective by beginning on book #1. This book offers several surprises that Ive never run across before, which is pretty exciting for mebeing a 48 yr old who has read her share of mysteries and cop thrillers in her time! That being said, P.J. Tracy rocks this series and I will continue to read each and every one of them. Im on to book #3 now!
"People are dying for the new computer game by the software company Monkeewrench. Literally. With Serial Killer Detective in limited release, the real-life murders of a jogger and a young woman have already mimicked the first two scenarios in the game.
But Grace McBride and her eccentric Monkeewrench partners are caught in a vise. If they tell the Minneapolis police of the link between their game and the murders, they'll shine a spotlight on the past they thought they had erased- and the horror they thought they had left behind. If they don't talk, 18 more people will die..."