Tracy, P. J. Snow Blind.

NY: Putnam, 2006.

This is the fourth novel in the “Monkeewrench” series and it’s a pretty good yarn, though a bit overwritten toward the end. The millionaire members of the Monkeewrench computer software team are relegated to supporting roles this time, . . . as they were in the second novel, Live Bait (which, in my opinion, is the best of the series so far, which may tell you something).

It’s early January in Minneapolis and the unusually mild winter is suddenly being replaced by a blizzard, which the city’s residents have both dreaded and secretly hoped for. (Minnesotans take their winter weather seriously.) The police department is sponsoring a gigantic snowman contest for kids in one of the city’s parks, but the whole thing comes to a literally shrieking halt when two dead bodies are discovered encased in snow and made up to resemble Frosty. And both of them are cops. Is the MPD facing a serial killer who targets the police? Or was it something personal involving these two? Homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are going to have figure it out fast. And then, in a sprawling, very rural county sixty miles north, another dead body disguised as a snowman turns up. This third case, however, is the responsibility of Iris Rikker, ex-English teacher, who has been the county sheriff for exactly one day, and who has exactly zero investigative experience.

As readers of the previous novels will know, Magozzi and Rolseth are both vastly entertaining and highly sympathetic characters. Sheriff Rikker, ignorant but aware of it and possessed of good instincts, is also a very good invention. The plot follows the investigation, with the detectives gritting their teeth on the narrow, icy roads, but also takes on the much more serious issues of spousal abuse and vigilante justice. (And I can’t say much more than that without spoiling the story.) The mother-daughter writing team, however, have a tendency to coincidence-laced exclamatory melodrama in the resolutions of their plots. If they would learn to tone that down, their books would be much improved.

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Published in: on 7 March 2013 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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