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The Sixth Idea: A Monkeewrench Novel


The Sixth Idea: A Monkeewrench Novel

Patricia Lambrecht and her daughter, Traci --- collectively known as P. J. Tracy --- are clearly doing something right when they write (and yes, that was deliberate). Their Monkeewrench series has earned enough awards to cause mantles to groan over the course of six books. The seventh, the newly published THE SIXTH IDEA, demonstrates yet again why the work of this collaborating duo is so popular, featuring an interesting mystery, solid storytelling and intriguing characters.

Monkeewrench is a small, high-tech cyber team that works on an unofficial consultative basis with the odd couple Minneapolis homicide detective team of Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. Leo and Gino are not supersleuths, but they are dogged and dedicated enough to get the job done. Their de facto partnership with the unusual but interesting personalities that make up Monkeewrench gives them a leg up on their cases, which almost always are much more than they seem. So it is that a pair of seemingly unrelated homicides quickly become something much, much more. The two initial victims are Chuck Spencer and Wally Luntz. Chuck is flying from his home in Los Angeles to meet Wally, a Minneapolis resident. They became acquainted in an online capacity, having discovered some commonality in their background. But before they are able to meet, both are murdered.

"P. J. Tracy flawlessly combines classic mystery elements with contemporary thriller trappings to make THE SIXTH IDEA one of the best entries in the series to date."

Meanwhile, Lydia Ascher, a young woman who was on the plane with Chuck, returns to her peaceful home outside Minneapolis. Her tranquility is short-lived, though, when she discovers that her next-door neighbor has been killed in her home and his assassin also has been murdered. When two additional men with ties to Chuck and Wally are kidnapped, it becomes clear to Leo and Gino that there is something far more involved in this case than random homicides. Monkeewrench gets to work and discovers some interesting history about the murdered and missing men that stretches back some six decades to an ultimate weapon that, it appears, is on the verge of being revived.

There seems to be a number of players in the game, and it’s difficult for Monkeewrench or the Minneapolis Police Department to sort out who is after what and to what end. Lydia is in deep danger, and keeping her safe before her own secret is revealed may be beyond even the resources of Monkeewrench.

P. J. Tracy flawlessly combines classic mystery elements with contemporary thriller trappings to make THE SIXTH IDEA one of the best entries in the series to date. The repartee between Leo and Gino is first-rate, just funny enough to be believable. The relationship between Leo and Grace MacBride, the nominal head of Monkeewrench, advances just a little as well. Tracy has wisely given this fine series plenty of room to grow and advance while enabling newcomers to pick up on it with any of the books. Look for more awards for this talented pair as their fan base grows exponentially.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 5, 2016

The Sixth Idea: A Monkeewrench Novel
by P. J. Tracy

  • Publication Date: June 27, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0451472020
  • ISBN-13: 9780451472021