Tracy, P. J. Live Bait.

NY: Putnam, 2004.

Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are back and they’re bored silly; there haven’t been any juicy murders in several months, not really since they wrapped up the “Monkeewrench” killings. Magozzi has fallen hard for Grace McBride, the paranoid head of the software company who goes multiply-armed at all times, and Gino is enjoying time with his wife and kids, but still.

And then Morey Gilbert, the saintly eighty-something owner of a gardening center business, is shot dead, while at the same time the body of another elderly man in the same neighborhood is discovered tied to a railroad track, so it’s back to work. The two cases go very slowly at first — no one can imagine either man having any enemies, especially Gilbert — but then an old woman is also killed, and another old man. And all four of them were concentration camp survivors. Maybe that’s the connection and the “train track guy” is just a coincidence. Cops don’t believe in coincidence, though, and Leo and Gino and their associates keep pulling on loose strings, hoping something will unravel. Then there’s Marty Pullman, ex-cop, whose wife was murdered by a junky in front of his eyes, and who has been sliding rapidly toward a messy, self-inflicted end ever since. He’s also Morey’s son-in-law and now he has to keep an eye on the widow, who might also be in danger, and on Morey’s son, Jack, who has fallen out with the family for undisclosed reasons.

As in the first book, the dialogue and byplay between the two cops provides half the enjoyment of the story. Several of the other detectives who were spear-carriers the first time around are also much more developed. Grace has a contribution to make in the way of surreptitious online data-gathering with some new face-recognition software, but she’s not really a big part of the story this time — except that she and her somewhat odd crew are about to depart for Arizona, which devastates Magozzi. This series is apparently up to about six books now and it looks like I’ll hunting all of them down.

Published in: on 17 September 2012 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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