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Nothing Stays Buried: A Monkeewrench Novel

Review

Nothing Stays Buried: A Monkeewrench Novel

The Monkeewrench gang is back with their eighth adventure just in time to relieve the summer doldrums. We welcome the return of this improbable duo of Minneapolis police officers who became closely united with an eccentric team of millionaire computer game creators in solving seven prior murder cases. While the game creators live in splendor off the millions they made developing computer games and search engines, the detectives muddle along in customary middle class style.

The game designers have taken a hiatus from hands-on detecting, preferring to share the sophisticated search engine they developed during their crime-busting days with Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. They are now a non-profit organization introducing their infallible computer software to police departments from around the globe. Currently they are working fairly close to home with the sheriff’s department searching for a missing woman.

"The witty trash talk banter between the cops and the unconventional lifestyle of the gamers is as much a part of these entertaining thrillers as the crime-solving plot."

Meanwhile, Leo and Gino find themselves against the wall in trying to stop a probable serial killer from striking again, so they turn to the gang to lend a hand. They are not that far detached from the eccentric gamers, because to no one’s surprise (except perhaps the parties involved), bachelor Leo and the commitment-shy Goth Monkeewrench gamer Grace MacBride have become an item. So much so that while they don’t regularly share living quarters, they are amazed at how happy they are to be expecting a baby.

Leo and Gino are called out on a homicide in the remote area of a local dog park with all the earmarks of a serial killer --- the same MO, similarities of the young female victims, and most ominous of all, the four of spades playing card tucked into her blouse. The ace of spades had been found on an earlier victim. Did that mean there were at least two unreported victims out there? When another body shows up days later in another remote wooded area in St. Paul with the five of spades tucked neatly beneath the woman’s shirt, that’s when they call in Monkeewrench and their crime-sniffing software.

The witty trash talk banter between the cops and the unconventional lifestyle of the gamers is as much a part of these entertaining thrillers as the crime-solving plot. Add in the atmospherics that residents of Middle America can relate to --- tornado season --- and you find yourself flipping pages into the wee hours. A killer tornado becomes a major character during the page-turning denouement, which had me up reading until 2am. Having personally been at the epicenter of three tornadoes, herding children to the cellar with flashlights and a battery radio as sirens wailed during countless other occasions over the first half of my life, I recognized that only someone who has experienced it could have possibly written that gripping scenario in such spellbinding prose. It would be impossible to make up the unpredictability of Midwestern weather. PJ Tracy has introduced us to blinding blizzards, sweltering humidity, schizophrenic weather changes, torrential rains and now a killer tornado. If you haven’t lived it, you couldn’t write it, and nobody does it better than Tracy.

PJ Tracy is the pseudonym for the award-winning and bestselling mother-daughter writing team of Patricia (P.J.) Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht. Sadly, P.J., a longtime resident of Minnesota, passed away after a long illness in December 2016. Traci remains in rural Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis. In a loving tribute to her late mother and writing partner, Traci discloses that the first draft of the next Monkeewrench thriller is in the works.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on August 3, 2017

Nothing Stays Buried: A Monkeewrench Novel
by PJ Tracy

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0735212457
  • ISBN-13: 9780735212459