The peaceful Christmas season in Minneapolis is shattered when two friends, Chuck Spencer and Wally Luntz, scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, two hours and several miles apart, dramatically concluding winter vacation for homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.
An hour north of Minneapolis, Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When Leo and Gino discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect that she is a target, too. The same day, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges.
This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives sixty years into the past to search for answers-and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. What they find is an unimaginable horror-a dormant Armageddon that might be activated at any moment unless Grace and her partners Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, along with Leo and Gino, can find a way to stop it.
This is the seventh book in the Monkeewrench series, though only the second I’ve read and it can definitely be read as a standalone. Given the detail in the summary (from Goodreads), there isn’t much I can add without spoilers so I’ll have to settle for saying what I thought of the book itself…which is pretty positive.
There is a lot to like about this book. I loved the setting, the cold Minnesota winter seems like just the right place for a mystery killer to be on the loose and adds to the tension as blizzards reduce visibility to almost nothing and cars skid down roads, and I loved the characters.
As I mentioned already, I have only read one other book in this series (it was book no. 4) yet I clearly remembered a lot of the central characters, specifically Grace and Harley from the Monkeewrench team. Entering the pages of Cold Kill was a bit like meeting old friends…you’d pretty much forgot the existed but once you come face-to-face again it was like you’d only seen each other last week. It felt good.
I also liked the detectives. Leo and Gino are old-school, long-ish in the tooth but determined to do the right thing. There was a humour in their relationship which lightened a book that had a lot of murder in it. I found myself smiling more than once at their joking back and forth.
The book itself was well written. It kept me turning pages and barrelled along at quite a pace. I have to say that the plot wasn’t one I completely believed in (there is a bit of spy / espionage theme here and those aren’t books I normally read) but I was willing to let that go because of I was enjoying myself too much. If you can’t tell, I liked this one a lot and would definitely recommend it.
p.s. This was published as The Sixth Idea in the states