Review

Live Bait

by P.J. Tracy



P. J. Tracy (the pseudonym for a mother-daughter writing duo)
gained a lot of fans with their first novel, MONKEEWRENCH, a
word-of-mouth favorite. Now MONKEEWRENCH's unforgettable
characters, lively pacing and eccentric humor return in the sequel,
LIVE BAIT.


A year after the Monkeewrench killing spree paralyzed the city,
Minneapolis's finest are still reeling. It's been a slow few months
in the homicide department, but on a rainy April night, two murders
are called in. At first, the two crimes seem unrelated --- the only
connection is that both victims are senior citizens. As Detective
Magozzi and his team investigate, though, it soon becomes clear
that the two murders are connected, but not in a way that anyone
would have imagined.


The surprising connection between two seemingly unrelated murders
is just one of LIVE BAIT's plot twists that will keep readers
hooked. In addition to the compelling mystery story, Tracy's
clever, sharp-tongued prose and wry observations add depth to the
novel. One detective, for instance, describes the muggy spring day
by saying, "I feel like Frosty the Snowman when he got locked in
the greenhouse with all the poinsettias." The weather is, in fact,
a major force in the novel, as a tornado bears down on the city
just as the Minneapolis police bear down on their suspect.


Most of the favorite characters from MONKEEWRENCH are back for this
second installment. Many of them are still bruised from their
earlier adventures, none more so than Marty Pullman, the cop whose
wife was murdered by the Monkeewrench killer. Unable to work,
haunted by memories of his wife and his own dark secrets, Marty is
a tragic character, consumed by loss and alcoholism. Beautiful but
fragile Grace MacBride is also back, trying hard to live a normal
life now that she's no longer in mortal danger.


Grace's motley band of software developers --- the central
characters of MONKEEWRENCH --- are here, too, but in LIVE BAIT,
they serve primarily as comic relief rather than as fully developed
characters. Their connection to the plot is tenuous at best,
although the author does seem to be setting up a larger role for
this quirky crew in the next installment of this winning mystery
series. Stay tuned!


   










Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 30, 2010

Live Bait
by P.J. Tracy

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet
  • ISBN-10: 0451214633
  • ISBN-13: 9780451214638