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Dead Run


Dead Run

P. J. Tracy first came on the scene with the tightly plotted serial
killer novel MONKEEWRENCH. Tracy's sophomore effort, LIVE BAIT,
although not as innovative as the first novel in the series, marked
Tracy as an author to watch. Now, with DEAD RUN, Tracy offers a
straight-up (but never straightforward) thriller that should propel
this mother-daughter writing team into the company of the very best
mystery and thriller writers.

As with the earlier novels in this loosely connected series, DEAD
RUN's story alternates between Minneapolis and small-town
Wisconsin. The software developers known as the Monkeewrench team
have volunteered their sophisticated computer programs and their
considerable expertise to help police departments solve related
crimes. When Sharon Mueller, a Wisconsin police deputy now working
for the FBI in Minneapolis, asks Grace MacBride and Annie Belinsky
of the Monkeewrench team to help her connect the dots in a series
of Green Bay murders, the three women set off on a road trip
through rural Wisconsin.

Along the way, they find the grisly remnants of a mysterious event:
an abandoned town, a quasi-military blockade, and a farm field
filled with unspeakable horrors. Is this some kind of secret
government experiment? Or is it the beginning of a new kind of war?
Drawn into the mystery against their will, the three women soon
find themselves actively involved not only in saving themselves,
but also in preventing the potential deaths of thousands of other

In the meantime, terrified by the women's disappearance, the rest
of the Monkeewrench crew and law enforcement agencies in two states
mobilize to find the three women before it's too late. For some,
such as Detective Leo Magozzi, the motivation is as much about
their personal desires as it is about professional concerns: "We're
not on the job. What we really are is a couple of frantic guys
chasing a couple of skirts. Saving our women. Caveman stuff."
Little do these frantic guys know, though, that their women are
more than capable of taking care of business, sometimes surprising
even themselves.

If this fast-paced, breathlessly plotted thriller has a fault, it
is that it depends too much on a reader's knowledge of the earlier
books in the series to fully understand and appreciate the nuances
of character development and relationships explored in this third
volume. Don't view this as a weakness, though; instead, use it as
an excuse to pick up all three volumes in this thrilling


Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 29, 2010

Dead Run
by P. J. Tracy

  • Publication Date: April 4, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Signet
  • ISBN-10: 0451218159
  • ISBN-13: 9780451218155