In 2003 I picked up a book called “Monkeewrench” & was instantly hooked. Fourteen years later, nothing has changed. As usual there are multiple story lines that develop separately until evidence begins to weave them together.
Leo Magozzi & Gino Rolseth are homicide detectives with the Minneapolis PD. Which is a good thing because they’ve got a dead body on their hands. A young woman was found murdered in a park & unfortunately the distinctive MO is ringing a few bells. Several months ago another woman was found in a similar setting but the case was never solved. Before they can make much headway, the body count begins to rise. And things get even more complicated when FBI agents show up & aren’t keen to explain why.
Meanwhile, over at Monkeewrench, Harley is doing his best to talk the crew into taking a missing persons case. Sheriff Jacob Emmet arranged for him to meet Walt Gustafson, an old farmer whose daughter Marla disappeared without a trace 2 months ago. Harley figures it’s the perfect case. They’ll get to help some decent people while keeping the 6 months pregnant Grace away from the usual brand of bad guys they chase.
Every now & then we spend a chapter with the killer & it’s an uncomfortable experience. Slowly we realize there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, some glitch on a cellular level.
As both investigations progress, we catch up on the characters’ personal lives. Leo is over the moon about becoming a dad (despite Gino sharing his domestic horror stories) & continues to work on the lake house he bought. Grace has been softened by the pregnancy & is beginning to entertain the idea that not everyone wants to kill you.
There’s a subtle shift in tension & pace as information begins to trickle in & before they know it, they’re facing a cold killer, wild weather & a horrific discovery on Walt’s farm. Oh, and what’s the deal with the lion?
Earlier books were more focused on action & hi-tech toys as the characters, their backgrounds & relationships were established. This is a more character driven plot with emphasis on how the investigations affect their personal lives as the situation becomes increasingly dangerous.
I must confess that around book #6, I grew tired of Grace & Leo’s idiot dance as they continued to circle each other. Thankfully the old will-they-or-won’t-they situation was resolved but because the authors took their time, the evolution of Grace’s character is more believable. She’ll never be described as a hugger but the fact there’s a little Magozzi on the way makes it obvious she no longer sheaths herself in emotional (or physical) armour.
If like moi you have a book budget, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to spend your hard earned cash. No drama here, these are a no-brainer. The characters have become old friends & it remains one of my go-to series. These books were written by the mother/daughter team of PJ & Traci Lambrecht . Sadly, PJ passed away in Dec. 2016 but according to the website, Traci intends to carry on entertaining us with suitably tangled cases for the Monkeewrench crew to solve.