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Shoot to Thrill: A Monkeewrench Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the enjoyable fifth Monkeewrench thriller (after Snow Blind) from Tracy, the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambrecht, special agent John Smith of the FBI's cyber crimes unit seeks the help of cybersleuths Grace MacBride, Annie Belinsky, and their geeky associates—as well as Minneapolis, Minn., homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth—in solving a horrifying string of murders filmed for the Web. The Monkeewrench team must create a program that can separate staged death scenes from the real thing. The first death they scrutinize appears to be the drowning murder of a Minneapolis drag queen. A stabbing, two shootings, and a strangulation are among subsequent killings that occur in other cities across the country. They catch a break when the eighth victim, a Medford, Ore., waitress, survives a stabbing. Newcomers will have no trouble getting into the story, and everyone will appreciate the likable characters. Author tour.(May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With murders around the country being posted on the Web by killers who leave no online trail, the FBI is reduced to asking civilian hackers for help. None is more qualified than Monkeewrench Sofware: the unconventional unit of cyber investigators led by ponytailed Harley Davidson, whose Minneapolis mansion houses his eccentric but super-efficient team: eyelash-batting belle, Annie; exercise-addicted Roadrunner; and Grace MacBride, the object of MPD detective Leo Magozzi’s affection. With straitlaced FBI Special Agent John Smith as their liaison and, with Magozzi and partner Gino Rolseth working the local scene, the group starts its 24/7 efforts. Are the murders real or simply enactments? Will federal regulations thwart Monkeewrench, or will Smith (who’s facing retirement) bend the rules? What is the connection of a drunken ex-judge to this murderous spree? In the fifth Monkeewrench novel, the mother-daughter team of P. J. and Traci Lambrecht really hits its stride: a chilling premise; a supremely appealing cast of evolving characters; and dialogue that is brisk, witty, and authentic. Humor and humanity mix in this top-notch mystery, the best in the series. --Michele Leber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Monkeewrench Novel
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451413059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451413055
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht. They each live in rural Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By MysteryPoodle VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read all the previous books in this series, and I remembered that I had enjoyed them, although not much else. Within a few minutes of picking up this book, though, it all came back to me. The writing is good -- tight and clever without being over-the-top. But mostly, it's the characters -- the four cyber-geniuses of Monkeewrench, the Minneapolis-based software company that seems to have become problem-solver-in-chief for the nation's bureaucratized law enforcement; their friends and co-workers in the Minneapolis Police Department; and just about anybody else who wanders into the pages of the book: they are compelling and likeable people. Even victims who get only a few paragraphs are transformed into people you care about. It's a gift.

The computer aspects of the book are handled beautifully. In contrast to other stories that include hackers, the technology is not so overblown that it was clearly modelled after a Heinlein novel rather than anything remotely achievable any time soon. On the other hand, it is also not so oversimplified that you're wondering why you didn't just do this from your laptop at home, let alone why all these Important Law Officers are impressed by it. It is darned hard to talk about the technical stuff without getting carried away by it and some fine series have lost audience because of that, but this team balances it all very nicely.

A lot of books published lately have been ending lately with somebody dying, and it makes me cry. But sometimes I'll cry when a book ends just because the book ended, and I'm sorry to see it end. I cried at the end of this book.

Oh, and the portrayal of the upper Midwest... delightfully accurate.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Title Shoot to Thrill (A Monkeewrench Novel)
Author P. J. Tracy
Rating ****1/2
Tags mystery, series, monkeewrench, computers, software, fbi, hackers, crackers

Life Is Good. FINALLY a new P.J. Tracy in the Monkeewrench series after far too long, and next up in my stack of books are the final two in Stieg Larsson's trilogy that started with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My bliss would be complete if Edward Wright would come out with another John Ray Horn novel.

This is the fifth in the series about a firm of software engineers. The company is called Monkeewrench. All of the team are brilliant, capable, and damaged, none more so than Grace MacBride, the main character, who has been through levels of trauma that seem unsurvivable. She lives carefully, and works with the people who are essentially her family, and sometimes with Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. Magozzi loves Grace, and she lets him get as close to her as she can let anyone.

The FBI finds that there are five videos on the internet that are of genuine murders. Agent John Smith, nearing retirement, comes to Minneapolis to hire Monkeewrench and other computer crackers to find who is posting the videos so they can catch the murderer or murderers. Magozzi and Rolseth get involved when a sixth murder happens in their jurisdiction. Someone leaks the story, and the code that identifies that a new murder video will be posted becomes the next viral Internet meme, greatly hampering the investigation.

It is a good book, though not my favorite in the series. I did really like the new character of Agent Smith.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Griffin VINE VOICE on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Shoot to Thrill is the fifth book in a series featuring the very successful software company Monkeewrench, its eccentric owners, and the Minneapolis police department. I have been a fan of the series since the beginning, and this latest installment shows the writing team P.J. Tracy at their best!

The foundation of Shoot to Thrill is the dark side of what people can do with the Internet and social networking sites. Almost everyone is aware that pornography, violence, and scams are rampant on the Internet, but evil is taken up a step when people begin filming murders and anonymously posting them online.

Once the FBI and Minneapolis Police Department realize that this may be a chain of murders committed by a serial killer or a connected group, they reach out to a group of computer hackers who have the skills and ability to explore some avenues forbidden by law to the enforcement agencies. This brings Monkeewrench into the story, which is tasked with creating an algorithm to identify real versus fake murder videos. Monkeewrench, of course, has capabilities beyond this, and is soon technically deep into the investigation.

The owners of Monkeewrench have worked with the Minneapolis police department before, including Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth, who are assigned to this case. An FBI is sent from Washington, and due to the sensitive nature of the information involved, works out of the Monkeewrench offices, leading to believable scenarios where all the characters interact.

The personal lives of the characters run in parallel to the investigation, adding layers to the overall story. Leo Magozzi is having a romantic yet distant relationship with Grace, one of the owners of Monkeewrench.
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