Sunday, September 23, 2012

Off the Grid by P.J. Tracy

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

On a sailboat ten miles off the Florida Keys, Grace MacBride, partner in Monkeewrench Software, thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent John Smith.  A few hours later, in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old girl is found in a vacant lot, her throat slashed.  Later that morning, two young men are found in their home a few blocks away, killed execution style.  The next morning, three more men are found savagely murdered in the same neighborhood.

As Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to link the crime scenes, they discover that there have been similar murders in other cities across the United States.  Piece by piece, evidence accumulates, pointing them to a suspect whose identity shocks them to the core, uncovering a motive that puts the entire Midwest on high alert and Monkeewrench in the direct line of fire.  Before it's all over, Grace and her partners, Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, find themselves in the middle of a shocking collision of violence on a remote northern Minnesota Indian reservation, fighting for their lives.

This won't be the first time that I whine I cry about my decision to start a series well after the first book had already seized the imagination of a legion of readers, nor do I think it will be my last.  For the most part, I've been pretty lucky in the fact that no matter where I start a series, I tend to be able to find my bearings pretty quickly.  I don't know if it's because this is book six, if it was the nature of the series, or the simple fact that there is a huge cast of characters to get to know; whatever the reason, I felt a little lost the entire time I was reading this book.

My inability to find my bearings has nothing to do with the storyline itself or the authors' natural ability to create a level of anxiety that ebbs and flows organically.  From the opening scene of a terrified young girl running down a city street, hoping against hope, to reach a safe haven to the violent showdown in a north Minnesota wood, the story built in the only way it could.

Oftentimes, especially while I'm reading a story of suspense, I have a hard time buying into the series of events as they unfold.  Now I can't say that this book doesn't ask for that all important suspension of disbelief, but it does it in a why that doesn't make a reader flinch away from the idea.  While the exact nature of the plot is a bit far fetched, the authors are able to meld a patchwork of over the top action, extreme violence, and desperate characters into a cohesive story that not only held my interest, but kept me in enraptured the entire time.  No small feat since I still couldn't tell you all the chracters' names or how they are all related to each other.

I haven't decided if I'm going to go back and read the series from the beginning, but even if I don't, I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read and discover this series for myself.


bermudaonion said...

If a series is well written, you should be able to pick up any book and read it as a stand alone. Sorry that wasn't the case with this one.

Yvette said...

You must read the first book, Ryan. Absolutely. I've read every book in this series except this latest one which sounds like it's coming up to be read soon - by me, that is.

MONKEEWRENCH is the first book and if I remember correctly, the second book is just as good. READ MONKEEWRENCH, at least!

Lisa said...

Well, you're one up on me, I haven't heard of the series.

You're a mystery aficionado - have you ever heard of Mignon Eberhart? I just discovered her because she's one of the nominees for the One Book/One Nebraska read in 2013. I've never heard of her but apparently she was huge at some point?

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I am embarrassed that I have never read the author, but I know readers rave about (her?) mysteries.