When Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to a crime scene in a heavily wooded city park, everything about the setting is all too familiar. And when they discover a playing card on the victim’s body, their worst fears are confirmed there s a serial killer operating in the city for the first time in years.
Across town, Grace MacBride and her unconventional partners at Monkeewrench Software find themselves at both personal and career crossroads. Weary of the darker side of their computer work for law enforcement, they agree to take on a private missing-persons case in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota.
As the violence accelerates in Minneapolis, Magozzi and Gino soon realize their killer is planning to complete the deck, and they enlist Monkeewrench to help stop the rampage. As a baffling tangle of evidence accumulates, the cops and Monkeewrench make the unlikely connections among a farmer s missing daughter, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing that brings them face-to-face with pure evil.
After recently rediscovering the Monkeewrench series with number 7 (Cold Kill), I was excited to see number 8 already available on net galley and jumped at the chance of reviewing it.
There are so many things that make this a great series: the bleak Minneapolis weather (last time it was snow, this time tornadoes) which make everything feel a little bit dark and dangerous; the clever plotting with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings; and the characters, all of whom I like and a few of whom I love.
In the love category go Magozzi and Gino, who have a brilliant partnership and friendship. They slip easily between personal talk and police talk and know and care for each other. They work well together, picking apart crime scenes and doggedly pursuing their killer (in this case, one who likes to cut up women and leaves playing cards in his wake – though thankfully never too gruesomely described, which can put me off).
Because this is a well developed series the play between Magozzi and Gino and Magozzi and Grace (his partner and also a member of Monkeewrench) feels so natural it’s like meeting up with old friends. Nothing in their relationships feel forced and the dialogue seems to flow. I fell easily into the book as a result and was a little disappointed to be leaving them all at the end.
Monkeewrench also adds another dimension with the use of the high-tec to help solve crimes (though never taking away from the police work). The team are an interesting mix of people who add flavour to the plots with their quirks and tension as they often seem to be in the middle of the action vs. behind their computer screens. I remember the first in this series and wondering how it would play out – afraid too many clues would be found online – but it works well and I like it.
Given that this is the eighth in the series, I know it might put some people off but you don’t have to have read any other books to read this one. It can be read as a standalone and I think it would be enjoyed just as much because it is a really clever plot, with two seemingly completely separate crimes slowly being interwoven until it all makes perfect sense and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it in the first place. I do love those “doh” moments as a reader!
And I did love this book. It was a great read and highly recommended.